11/13/2010 5:40PM

Yankee Fourtune remains a terror on turf in Commonwealth

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Yankee Fourtune remains unbeaten in five starts since he was switched to turf by taking Saturday's Commonwealth.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Yankee Fourtune stayed unbeaten in five starts on grass when he ran away from 12 fellow 3-year-olds Saturday in the seventh running of the Grade 3, $121,900 Commonwealth Stakes at Churchill Downs.

With Victor Santiago riding for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Yankee Fourtune laid just off the early pace contested by two longshots, then made his move entering the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile race. He shot clear after straightening away and was not seriously threatened thereafter, prevailing by a length over Guys Reward,  a late-closing 40-1 shot. Turallure was third, another neck back.

Yankee Fourtune returned $7.60 as the favorite after finishing in 1:44.68 over a firm course.

“I knew I could ask my horse and make him go, then sit a little chilly and save something for the end,” said Santiago, who never had ridden at Churchill.

Yankee Fourtune, owned by Harvey Clarke and Andrew Albstein, was soundly defeated in his only start at 2, a dirt sprint, but now has won five straight, all on turf and with Santiago aboard, since McLaughlin brought him back to the races in July. He won the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby last month in his stakes debut.

Yankee Fourtune, bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones, was scheduled to ship to south Florida on Sunday to join McLaughlin’s winter contingent at the Palm Meadows training center to race in turf events at the upcoming Gulfstream Park meet.

“We hope next year he’s going to be a top horse,” McLaughlin, who was not on hand, said by phone.

Mystic, the 5-1 third choice, made a mild bid to finish fourth, while Beau Choix, the 7-2 second choice, was no factor in finishing 11th.

The $2 exacta (11-4) paid $250.40 and the $1 trifecta (11-4-8) paid $1,273.70.