Gary Barber and WinStar Farm’s Laugh Track, who has failed to duplicate his second-place finish in the 2013 Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) in two subsequent starts, returns to his favorite Polytack surface in the $175,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland April 12.
The son of Distorted Humor , bred by WinStar, has scored four victories from six starts on Polytrack, and has a win and a second in his two starts at Keeneland. His other synthetic appearances came at Woodbine.
Although he was a well-beaten fifth (placed fourth via disqualification) in the grade II Alysheba Stakes in his only start on dirt, trainer Mark Casse ran Laugh Track in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint off his second in the Stoll Kenon Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland. At Santa Anita Park Nov. 2, he came flying from 11th to be beaten a neck by Secret Circle at 16-1.
But his new dirt career took a hit when he finished up the track in both the Cigar Mile (gr. I) and this year’s Gulfstream Park Sprint (gr. III).
Laugh Track drew the rail in the Commonwealth and will be ridden for the first time by Jose Lezcano.
Of the remaining 11 starters, the English-bred Dimension looks to be the biggest threat, even though the son of Medicean hasn’t started since finishing fifth, beaten three lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT). A grade II stakes winner on the grass, his one start in North America on a synthetic surface resulted in a second-place finish, beaten a neck, in the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture Stakes at Woodbine.
In Europe, the Conor Murphy-trained 6-year-old gelding had one victory and a second in three starts on a synthetic surface.
The remainder of the field is pretty wide-open, with no one really having proved their class in top company, although the Wesley Ward-trained Undrafted did finish third in last year’s Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II), Swale Stakes (gr. III), and Gulfstream Park Derby on dirt. In his last appearance on a synthetic surface, he was 13th in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Longhunter, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, is coming off back-to-back easy scores in allowance company on the grass at Gulfstream Park. The former $16,000 claimer is a minor stakes winner and is nine for 25 lifetime.
Another from the Maker barn is Gunderson, owned by Kendall Hansen, who has won 3-of-4 on Polytrack and is a threat on the front end.
The most experienced runner on synthetic is the Ken McPeek-trained Occasional View, who has won four of his 15 starts on synthetic, with one second and three thirds, while placing in two stakes.
Eoin Harty sends out Carving,winner of the 2012 Real Quiet Stakes and fourth in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), who hasn’t run since June of last year.
$175,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, approximate post time 3:40 p.m. EDT), 4 Year-Olds and Up, seven furlongs
1—Laugh Track (KY), J. Lezcano, 118, M. Casse
2—Ol Army (KY), D. Davis, 118, C. Peery
3—Dimension (GB), D. Moran, 118, C. Murphy
4—Spring to the Sky (KY), R. Maragh, 118, B. Brown
5—Undrafted (KY), J. Velazquez, 118, W. Ward
6—Quiet Force (KY), R. Napravnik, 118, M. Maker
7—Longhunter (GB), J. Castellano, 118, M. Maker
8—Gunderson (KY), S. Bridgmohan, 118, M. Maker
9—Occasional View (ONT), A. Garcia. K. McPeek
10—Big Blue Spirit (GB), R. Albarado, 118, D. Miller
11—Piquant (KY), S. Elliott, 118, G. Preciado
12—Carving (KY), C. Lanerie, 118, E. Harty