Robert Trussell's Occasional View, making his first start since a ninth-place finish on dirt at Oaklawn Park in the Fifth Season Stakes, drew clear to win the $175,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. III) April 12 at Keeneland (VIDEO).
The 6-year-old gelding was making his fourth start since being claimed by Trussell and trainer Ken McPeek from breeder/owner George Strawbridge.
Dimension was a length back second, and it was 1 3/4 lengths back to 9-5 favorite Laugh Track in third.
McPeek said Trussell was the key in putting Occasional View into the Commonwealth lineup. The horse had been entered in an allowance/optional claiming race on the April 10 at Keeneland but the owner opted for the stakes start.
"(Running Occasional View in the race was a) complete audible at the line of scrimmage," McPeek said. "We wanted to run him the allowance/optional $100,000 (claiming race) and the race kept not filling and then it was like, 'What do we do now?' We had done the nomination for this race, and we briefly thought about putting him in for $80,000 (tag) a couple of days ago. Then Bobby (Trussell) called and said, 'I don't know - I kind of like the race on Saturday.' And I said, 'Well I have to get out of the race on Thursday, so yeah, it was not exactly as planned. It kind of happened."
Alan Garcia was aboard Occasional View, who sat off the early pace in ninth in the field of 10. Gunderson broke first, but it was Dimension who grabbed the early advantage as the field hit the main track in the seven-furlong Commonwealth. The early fractions were demanding over the Polytrack with the opening quarter going in :22.91 and the half-mile in :45.95. Dimension was tracked by Gunderson and Big Blue Spirit early.
Dimension opened up on the field with Longhunter chasing around the turn as Occasional View came six paths wide with his rally on the turn and into the stretch. Occassional View advanced to second as they reached the furlong mark in 1:10.13, and he took the lead with a final eighth in :12.64 to get the trip in 1:22.77.
"It was a very easy trip," said Garcia. "My horse broke great and I was very comfortable behind the group. Then when it was time to make a run, I wanted to go wide and then come to the winner. He was ready. Kenny did an excellent job with this one."
Celebrate, the dam of the Commonwealth winner, is by Rahy--Adorned, by Val de l'Orne, and won twice in 10 starts for Strawbridge. Occasional View, bred in Ontario and a son of Silver Deputy, is her first foal. She has a yearling filly by Smart Strike and was bred to Shackleford for 2014.
Trussell claimed Occasional View for $100,000 Oct. 24 at Keeneland out of a seven-furlong race. Prior to that the gelding had run fifth in the Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland and fourth in the Presque Isle Downs Mile.
Since the claim Occasional View had run in three consecutive stakes races, running second on Woodbine's Polytrack in the Autumn Stakes (Can-II) going 1 1/16 miles in mid-November and third in the Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway. He ran up on the pace before fading to finish ninth in the Fifth Season Jan. 11, his lone start on dirt.
The winner paid $11, $5.60, and $3.20. Dimension paid $8 and $5. Laugh Track paid $2.80. The 9-3 exacta paid $81.20.
Laugh Track was followed by Quiet Force, Undrafted, Longhunter, Piquant, Big Blue Spirit, Gunderson, and Spring to the Sky.