07/25/2013 12:41PM

Woodbine: Sky Commander streaks into Toronto Cup

Michael Burns
Sky Commander has won three straight races since being gelded.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Sky Commander will try to remain unbeaten as a gelding Saturday at Woodbine in the $125,000 Toronto Cup, a nine-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-olds.

Sky Commander gave his more accomplished stablemate Dynamic Sky a run for his money when second in the Jan. 12 Pasco Stakes at Tampa. However, he barely picked up his feet in two subsequent outings in Florida, so trainer Mark Casse said he had him gelded after the March 11 OBS Championship Stakes at the Ocala Training Center.

In his debut as a gelding here May 25, Sky Commander defeated $50,000 claimers over six furlongs and then doubled up in a seven-furlong optional claimer. Most recently, July 6, he switched to the turf and captured the one-mile Charlie Barley Stakes by disqualification.

“He showed early in the year – when he was second to Dynamic Sky – that he’s a pretty good horse,” Casse said. “He’s turned the corner since becoming a gelding.”

Casse also entered Rei, who underwent throat surgery after ending up fourth behind the future graded stakes winner Rydilluc in his lone turf race, which came against allowance foes at Gulfstream on Jan. 5.

“He had a really bad trip then and should have been even closer,” Casse said. “Right after that race we operated on him for his air. I think he’s come back a better horse. Judging by the one race, I think he’s a better turf horse.”

Rei rallied along the rail for second when he returned from a six-month break in a six-furlong allowance on the Polytrack here July 7.

Are You Kidding Me made up some ground late to finish on the edges in his last two outings, the $460,000 Penn Mile and the Charlie Barley.

Trainer Roger Attfield felt that Are You Kidding Me was too far off the pace in those races and is hoping the addition of blinkers will encourage him to be more prominent early. He also said the colt has done well since the Charlie Barley.

“He’s in wonderful shape,” Attfield said.

Five Iron is competing for the first time since he led throughout the nine-furlong Victoria Park Stakes on the Polytrack here June 16. He broke from post 12 in his only grass race, which came in an allowance at Keeneland, and he was a bit rank early while racing three wide before fading to sixth.

The lone shipper in the field is Comes the Dream, who made all the running in a 10-furlong maiden special at Belmont on June 22.

Rounding out the field are claimers Keep the Cash and Iratus Leo, who closed for fourth against older $50,000 opposition in his last start.