04/07/2010 11:00PM

Ravalo in good spot again in Commonwealth


Trainer Donald Barr has employed a rewarding strategy with Ravalo over his 31-race career: run him where the big boys aren't.

"We have a van," said Barr, who is based in Maryland. "We'll travel."

Barr has put that van to good use this week, shipping Ravalo, a multiple-stakes-winning sprinter, to Keeneland to run in the Grade 2, $250,000 Commonwealth Stakes. The Commonwealth drew a field of five, including three stakes winners.

That leaves frequent traveler Ravalo as the horse to beat, particularly in light of his accomplishments on synthetic tracks. He is 3 for 5 on such tracks; his opponents are either unraced on synthetic tracks or winless on such surfaces.

The seven-furlong distance of the Commonwealth poses a greater obstacle for Ravalo. He has been primarily a six-furlong specialist while winning 14 races and nearly $818,000 for owner Lindy Redding.

He faded to fourth in this race last year after setting the pace, the last time he raced seven furlongs. This year, however, Ravalo catches a shorter and weaker field, and he has the benefit of a recent start, something he lacked when he raced in last year's Commonwealth. A 6-year-old son of Mutakddim, Ravalo comes off a head victory in an allowance March 15 at Philadelphia Park, outrunning multiple stakes winner Pashito the Che in the slop.

"I wasn't expecting to hit him in that allowance," Barr said. "But it was one of those races that if you hadn't won 5 races in the last 2 minutes, you were eligible."

John Velazquez rides.

Although neither Congressional Page nor Imperial Council has raced on a synthetic surface, both could pose a danger to Ravalo if he tires going seven furlongs.

Congressional Page won the Schaefer Mile at Hoosier Park last year and was second to Munnings in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship. Imperial Council, who ran second in the Gotham and Peter Pan in 2009, looks poised for a strong effort in this third start of his 4-year-old year.

Longshot Together Indy and comebacking Not for Silver, who ran second in the Perryville over this track last fall, are also entered.

Shakertown: Local turf winners meet

Earlier on the card, two past winners over the local turf course meet in the Grade 3, $100,000 Shakertown at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

Chamberlain Bridge, who won the Woodford in 2008, and Silver Timber, who won the Woodford last year, both relish sprinting on the Keeneland grass and should vie for favoritism.

Each won multiple stakes on the grass last year and seem evenly matched.

But Chamberlain Bridge has something Silver Timber does not: a race in 2010. He won the $60,000 Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 20 despite uncharacteristically breaking last.

Silver Timber, meanwhile, is unraced since finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 7.

Moralist, Free Brave, A Steel Trap, Grand Adventure, and Affirmatif complete the seven-horse field.