Boston Common Impressive in De Francis Prep

(from Laurel report)
Friday's eighth race at Laurel Park could provide a candidate or two for next month's $300,000 De Francis Dash (gr. I), as two top contenders – Boston Common and Take Achance On Me – finished one-two in the $36,000 optional allowance test.

Boston Common, a 4-year-old gelded son of Boston Harbor who was piloted by jockey Mario Pino for his brother Michael, broke alertly and briefly held the lead before settling back in second behind the pacesetter Heroofthegame. After following the leader through fractions of :21 4/5 and :44 2/5, Pino steered Boston Common past the leader and they galloped home 2 1/4 lengths clear in 1:09.

"This was a tough race and he ran great," said Pino, the rider. "It was nice to win one for my brother."

Last year Boston Common finished sixth in the De Francis Dash, the signature race of the Laurel Park fall meet. This year the Richard Englander-owned gelding is three for six, with allowance wins at Charles Town and Delaware Park. He has a pair of graded stakes wins on his resume, winning the Jerome Handicap (gr. II) and Jersey Shore (gr. III) in the summer of 2002.

"If I would have sent him we would not have won," added Pino. "So I took a hold of him and just waited. I don't know what the plans are for this horse but this was a good time and he proved he belongs."

Take Achance On Me came motoring up the rail under jockey Mark Johnston to gain the place. It was Johnston's first mount since Sept. 3, the opening day of the Pimlico summer-fall stand. The Anthony Aguirre trainee has finished in the money 13 times in 14 starts at nine different tracks.

The winner paid a generous $13.20 in a field of five, which also included crack sprinters Michael's Pride, who won the Maryland Million Sprint Handicap in his last start, and Sassy Hound, who ran third in last year's edition of the De Francis Dash.

(Chart, Equibase)