Master Command Hopes to Handle Iselin Field

Master Command is the class of the Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III), having won three graded stakes this year.

Master Command may have been at a level over his head when he ran a well-beaten sixth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs June 16.

If that was the case, the 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy looks to be on the opposite end of the spectrum for the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Aug. 18. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Master Command is clearly the class of the eight-horse field for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.

Before the Stephen Foster, Master Command had won three graded stakes in convincing fashion, starting with a six-length victory in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 10.

He came back one month later and buried the field by 3 1/2 lengths in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) and earned a third straight win at Hawthorne in the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) April 21. All of the victories came by pressing the pace through the first half-mile and then streaking to the lead. John Velazquez was aboard for all of them. Chris DeCarlo will get the call in the Iselin.

Owned by Aaron Jones and bred in Pennsylvania by Brushwood Stable, Master Command has earned more than $1.1 million and will carry a race-high 123 pounds.

One of the other main contenders could be Indy Wind, who was won three stakes in a 13-race career. The 5-year-old is also a son of A.P. Indy. Trained by Amy Tarrant, Indy Wind won by three lengths in front-running fashion during the Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth July 28. In fact, of his six lifetime wins, all but one has come at Monmouth.

Another horse to watch out for is Gottcha Gold, who was able to easily defeat Indy Wind in the Salvator Mile Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth June 23. Indy Wind was a well-beaten third in that one, as the 4-year-old son of Coronado's Quest won by a neck over Whitney Stakes (gr. I) winner Lawyer Ron. Gottcha Gold, trained by Edward Plesa, has been in the money in 10 of his 21 career tries.

Also in the field are Barbican, Brother Bobby, Papi Chullo, Tasteyville and Barcola, who has won two consecutive stakes at Delaware Park.

Post time is set for 4:54 p.m. EDT.

$300,000 Philip H. Iselin Handicap (gr. III), Race 9, 4:54 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Barbican (KY), 117, Eddie Castro
2. Gottcha Gold (FL), 121 Charles C. Lopez
3. Indy Wind (KY),117, Mario Madrid
4. Brother Bobby (KY), 117 Stewart Elliott
5. Master Command (PA), 123, Christopher P. DeCarlo
6. Papi Chullo (FL), 119, Joe Bravo
7. Tasteyville (KY), 117, Michael J. Luzzi
8. Barcola (KY), 119, Kendrick Carmouche