Lion Tamer Whips Commonwealth Foes

(from Keeneland report)
Lion Tamer engaged the pacesetters at the top of the stretch and then gradually inched away to a three-quarters of a length win in the $250,250 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) Saturday at Keeneland.

It was the third win without a defeat this year for the son of Will's Way, who ran seven furlongs in 1:23 and gave owner Michael Tabor and trainer Todd Pletcher their second consecutive victory in the race. Smooth Jazz won last year's running.

Private Horde finished second in the field of six older horses, a half length in front of Marino Marini. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to fourth-place Scrimshaw, followed by Christine's Outlaw and Saint Waki.

Mike Smith rode the winner, who paid $4.80, $2.80 and $2.20. He improved his career record to 9-6-1-0 and increased his lifetime earnings to $481,355.

"I was happy with my position early (fifth) because the two horses I was afraid of were hooked up," said Smith. "I thought we'd go right on by when I got to them but he kind of hung. I hit him and he didn't respond, so I chucked the reins at him and it worked. He finally got by. He kind of won ugly."

Private Horde returned $3.60 and $2.40 and Marino Marini paid $2.40.

(Chart, Equibase)