Arbuckle Bandit, ridden by Brice Blanc, unleashed a furious stretch rally while six or seven wide to win a remarkable four-horse photo finish in Saturday's $169,800 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.Arbuckle Bandit won by a head over Storm Treasure, who finished a head in front of Kingship with favored Outperformance a neck farther behind.A gelded Kentucky-bred son of Service Stripe, Arbuckle Bandit completed the 1 1/16-mile distance over a "good" turf course in 1:44.19 and paid $23.80, $10, and $5.20. Storm Treasure, piloted by Shaun Bridgmohan, closed from ninth to grab a brief lead just a few jumps from the wire, but settled for second and paid $5.40 and $3.60. Kingship, with Mark Guidry in the irons, led the field at the top of the stretch and held gamely for third, paying $4.20.Outperformance, the 3-2 choice under Javier Castellano, was in tight through much of the stretch run. The field for the Commonwealth Turf was reduced to 10 with the late scratch of Brilliant, the favorite in the morning line odds for the race.Owned by Golden Racing Stable and trained by Michael Stidham, Arbuckle Bandit earned $100,013 for the victory to increase his lifetime bankroll to $218,158. He won for the fourth time in eight starts this year to bring his career record to 5-2-4 from twelve races."We were able to get to clear ground on the far turn into the top of the stretch, and that was the move that won the race for me," said Blanc. "The horse was clear and had room to run, and we were able to just nip (Storm Treasure) at the wire."Costa Rising broke on top was allowed to set a modest pace up front as he carved out fractions of :24.14 for the first quarter-mile and :48.61 for the half-mile. Kingship stalked the leader in second while Arbuckle Bandit, Outperformance and Storm Treasure were near the back of the pack. Kingship launched a bid to challenge the leader on the far turn and put away Costa Rising at the head of the stretch as a wall of horses surged behind him. Storm Treasure launched a five-wide bid and Arbuckle Bandit charged on the outside as well. As Storm Treasure, Arbuckle Bandit and Outperformance closed on Kingship, Outperformance was forced to check in tight quarters with a sixteenth of a mile to run. Storm Treasure passed Kingship briefly in the final yards,only to be nailed by Blanc and Arbuckle Bandit in the final strides.
Amigoni (IRE) finished fifth, and Costa Rising, Sea of Trees, Hesanoldsalt, Rock' N Fire, and Yankee Master completed the order of finish. (Chart, Equibase)