Condo Commando took all of the drama out of track announcer Tom Durkin's final call when she romped to victory in the $350,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO) over a sloppy track at rainy Saratoga Race Course Aug. 31.
"Coming down to the finish, Condo Commando was splash-tastic," Durkin intoned in his familiar baritone as the 2-year-old filly came under the wire by an official 13 1/4 lengths over seven opponents in the seven-furlong test.
Durkin, wrapping up a 43-year career Sunday, exited the announcer's booth afterward and made his way through the crowd to the winner's circle for a presentation to the chant of "Tom-ee Durkin, Tom-ee Durkin" from his many fans.
Ridden from the rail post by Joe Bravo, 3-1 shot Condo Commando overcame a slow start and a bump to rush to the lead on the backstretch. She dictated the going while drawing away from her rivals rounding the turn, completing the trip in 1:24.68 over a sealed track.
Rudy Rodriguez trains Condo Commando, a daughter of Tiz Wonderful owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and The Elkstone Group. Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, the winner is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning General Meeting mare Yearly Report.
By the Moon finished second, with 8-5 favorite Angela Renee third.
The Spinaway win was the second romp in as many starts for Condo Commando, who overpowered maidens by 12 lengths in her debut, a $75,000 claiming event at Saratoga Aug. 3 going 5 1/2 furlongs.
"When I saw the slop, I thought we were in trouble from the No. 1 hole, and she didn't break good," Rodriguez said. "She did it easy, though. She wasn't 100% fit for her debut, but she was much better today. I just hope she comes back good. She's a nice filly."
Breaking awkwardly to her outside, Condo Commando bumped with Angela Renee in the first strides but recovered quickly for Bravo, who hustled her to the lead over Bonnie K on the far outside. Condo Commando opened a three-length advantage on the backstretch after clipping off an opening quarter mile of :22.46. She maintained her edge into the turn as By the Moon, Angela Renee, and Darling Sky took up the chase after completing the half in :45.89.
Condo Commando widened her lead while completing the bend and had no threats as she made her way through the lane, bounding through the mud while running several yards off the rail to a 10-length gap on By the Moon at the furlong marker. Bravo wrapped up on her closing in on the wire.
"They've got Condo Command to catch," boomed Durkin as the leader roared through the Spinaway stretch on her own. "Condo Commando is splish-splashing down the stretch of the Spa, and she is all alone for the final furlong of the Spinaway."
"My biggest concern was trying to get out of the gate, and she overcame that and look what she did," Bravo said. "Our main concern was to try to get in front. We don't want a lot of dirt to hit her in the face. She overpowered everybody. Really, the race was won the first eighth of a mile. She won first time out pretty impressively, but you didn't know how good she is. I think today she answered a lot of questions."
Earning $210,000 for the victory, Condo Commando has now banked $243,600 in her two-race career.
In a strung-out finish, By the Moon, ridden by Jose Ortiz, was a clear second by six lengths over Angela Renee and John Velazquez. Darling Sky was 6 1/4 lengths farther back in fourth, followed by Winter Dawn and Lady Zuzu. Ryabinka and Bonnie K were both eased in the stretch.
Under 118 pounds, Condo Commando paid $8.70, $4.70, and $3.20 across the board as the second choice. By the Moon returned $5.70 and $3.80, completing a $50.50 exacta. Angela Renee paid $2.60.
Condo Commando was a $72,000 Keeneland September yearling sale last year to Kim Valerio and Mike Dubb when consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock for Spendthrift Farm.
A half to graded stakes-placed sprinter Checklist (by Gone West), she is one of four winners from as many to race produced by Yearly Report. The dam, who raced for Golden Eagle Farm, won the 2004 Delaware Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan, and Santa Ynez (all gr. II) during a career in which she earned $835,900.
Watch Tom Durkin give his final call:
Watch a special tribute to Tom Durkin: