Claimed for $30,000 earlier this year, Almasty made that acquisition look deft Nov. 27, when he set the pace and ran away from the field to claim the $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs. Watch Video
The 3-year-old Scat Daddy ridgling trained by Brad Cox briefly dueled with Bucchero before pulling clear to set fractions of :23.48, :48.10, and 1:13.48 through six furlongs, with a two-length advantage, then pulled away in the stretch to win the 1 1/16-mile event by 4 1/4 lengths.
With Jon Court aboard, Almasty hit the wire in 1:45.41 on good turf, ahead of Saham, who closed from 10th to finish second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Quality Bird.
"I was a little concerned that someone would want to press the pace with me," Court said. "If not, maybe I would sit second or third. It's soft out there but he's handled it well enough to hold them all off be several lengths."
Almasty last won three starts back in a mile turf allowance at Saratoga Race Course, but found another gear Friday at Churchill. Cox claimed him out of a win at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in March for John Wentworth.
"We looked at the two-other-than (allowance race) on Sunday, and I looked at the race last night and decided to stick with this race against the 3-year olds and (it) obviously worked out," Cox said. "Going to the lead wasn't really the plan. It looked like on paper that there was a lot of speed and we kind of though we'd be laying third or fourth, saving ground around the first turn, but he ended up on the lead."
Off at 11-1, the winner paid $24.40, $12, and $7.60 across the board. Saham brought $4.50 and $3.60, while Quality Bird delivered $5.60 to show.
Granny's Kitten came in fourth, followed by Nun the Less, Wayward Kitten, Nucifera, Obsidian Splendor, One Go All Go, Bucchero, and Magic of Believing, to complete the order of finish.
Almasty now has a 4-1-1 record from 10 starts. The Commonwealth Turf was his first graded stakes try. He was bred in Kentucky by Paget Bloodstock and Horse France out of the Pleasant Colony mare Minicolony.