05/13/2011 1:56PM

Preakness: Mr. Commons aggressive in workout

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Mr. Commons, here winning a Santa Anita allowance, zipped seven furlongs at Hollywood forthe Preakness.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Mr. Commons worked seven furlongs in 1:24.40 at Hollywood Park on Friday for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21, surprising trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Victor Espinoza with his eagerness.

Ridden for the first time by Espinoza, who has the mount in the Preakness Stakes, Mr. Commons worked alone, and was very eager early, going the first half-mile in 46 seconds and five furlongs in 57.83 seconds, according to Shirreffs’s stopwatch. Shirreffs timed Mr. Commons finishing in 1:24.29 for the workout, slightly quicker than the official time.

“It was a little rapido,” Shirreffs said of Mr. Commons’s early furlongs.

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Espinoza had hoped that Mr. Commons would slow down after the workout began, but found himself on an aggressive colt.

“He just kept going,” Espinoza told Shirreffs after the workout, while riding Mr. Commons back to the stable.

Third in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9 in his most recent start, Mr. Commons has worked quickly in the past. On April 21, Mr. Commons worked a half-mile in 46.80 seconds at Hollywood Park, the fastest that day.

Espinoza gained the mount on Mr. Commons earlier this week, after previous jockey Mike Smith committed to riding Astrology in the Preakness
“It was Victor’s first time on him,” Shirreffs said of Friday’s workout. “He relaxed so well breaking away from the pony that [Victor] thought he would come back for him and he didn’t.”

Espinoza said he was impressed by Mr. Commons’s speed. “I think he has a lot of talent,” he said. “If you need the speed, it will be there. I’m glad I worked him.”

Owned by Ian Banwell’s St. George Farm Racing, Mr. Commons has won 2 of 4 starts and $186,400. The Santa Anita Derby, in which he finished 2 1/4 lengths behind race winner Midnight Interlude, was Mr. Commons’s stakes debut.

Shirreffs confirmed on Friday that Mr. Commons will be flown from California to Kentucky on Tuesday and then be sent to Baltimore by air on Wednesday.