06/29/2013 6:05PM

Northlands Park: Commander takes charge in Spangled Jimmy

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Commander paid $4.60 for his convincing win in the $50,000 Spangled Jimmy for 3-year-olds and up at Northlands Park on Saturday.

Commander was winless in three starts this year, but with Jorge Espitia aboard, Commander returned to the form that saw him win four straight stakes at Northlands last year before heading to Hastings, where he won two more stakes, including the Grade 3 Premiers.

He went very wide around the first turn in the one-mile Spangled Jimmy, but by the time they hit the second turn he was sitting just off Boomtown Brat, who carved out fractions of 23.60 and 47.60 seconds. Commander started to seize control of the race at the quarter pole and opened up a clear lead heading into the stretch. Senor Rojo made a strong late move along the rail to finish three lengths back in second but he never looked like a threat to the winner. Dougs Buddy finished third.

"It was nice to see his love affair with Northland Park continues," said trainer Dennis Terry.
It was the first time Espitia had ridden Commander since he rode him in the Journal in his first stakes win at Northlands last year.

"He was very sharp and really wanted to go early," said Espitia. "But then he settled down and ran a beautiful race."

The final time was 1:37.80.

Tempered Sapphire wins John Patrick

On Friday night, Tempered Sapphire paid $15.90 for her 5 1/4-length win in the $50,000 John Patrick for fillies and mares.

It was the first stakes win for apprentice rider Amie Pooli, who had Tempered Sapphire well back while Plethora was setting extremely fast fractions in the one-mile race. Tempered Sapphire was seven lengths behind Plethora heading into the stretch, but the quick early tempo took its toll on Plethora, who faded to finish fourth.  Regal Tigereyes rallied to finish second in front of Madeira Park who was sent off as the 9-5 favorite.

The final time was 1:39.40.

Tempered Sapphire is trained by Rod Cone.