Mr. Commons wins the Sir Beaufort.

Mr. Commons wins the Sir Beaufort.

Benoit Photography

Smith Guides Mr. Commons to Sir Beaufort Win

Colt splits horses in stretch for convincing victory.

Under a heady ride from Mike Smith, Mr. Commons split horses in the stretch and drew off to a convincing 3 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIT) on the Dec. 26 opening day card at Santa Anita (VIDEO).

The 11-10 favorite in the eight-horse field that contested the one-mile turf test, Mr. Commons was far back as Comma to the Top took the early uncontested lead under Joe Talamo while being tracked by Ultimate Eagle. Comma to the Top set moderate fractions of :22.75, :45.47, and 1:09.22 before the field closed on him rounding the second turn.

After they had completed seven furlongs in 1:21.71, the field was closely bunched until Mr. Commons kicked in and found a narrow hole, taking the lead just past the eighth pole. Under Smith’s urging, the colt dropped down to the rail and drew off, completing the distance in final time of 1:33.84 in a hand ride.

The winner paid $4.20, $3.00, and $2.20, with Irish Art getting second and returning $6.80 and $3.80. Ultimate Eagle was third at $3.20.

“Since I got through it was great,” Smith said. “I’ve learned that you can point this horse at a wall and he’ll run through it if I ask him to. He really does everything you tell him so normally when you’re that big of a favorite you’ll probably go around but I was going to be able to cut the corner and make up three lengths. All I need is a very small seam with him.”

A 3-year-old son of Artie Schiller out of the Apalachee mare Joustabout, Mr. Commons has won three of 10 starts, with three placings and earnings of $483,660. The homebred racing for Ian Banwell's St. George Farm and trained by John Shirreffs broke his maiden on turf but then was pointed toward this year’s classics after finishing third in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

He did not contest the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and was unplaced in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

Returned to grass after a two-month layoff, the colt won the Oceanside Stakes over the grass at Del Mar and followed with second-place finishes in the Del Mar Mile (gr. IIT) and Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT). Previous to the Sir Beaufort, the colt finished fifth in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).