Staton Flurry's Mr. Misunderstood kept his undefeated record on turf intact when he made a sweeping move at the top of the stretch to easily cruise by the leaders Nov. 11 in the $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (G3T) at Churchill Downs.
The 3-5 favorite in a field of eight 3-year-olds, Mr. Misunderstood beat Parlor by 1 1/2 lengths in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile test. Florent Geroux rode the winner for trainer Brad Cox to finish in a final time of 1:46.80.
The Commonwealth Turf was Mr. Misunderstood's first graded stakes triumph but fourth straight win against stakes company. He won the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes and the $200,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs before winning the listed $100,000 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs in September.
"It's unbelievable to get our first graded stakes win," said Flurry, a 27-year-old native of Hot Springs, Ark. "Last year we ran this horse for (a) $30,000 (claiming tag) at Fair Grounds, and to now turn the corner and become a graded stakes winner is really something special."
Mr Cub set a dawdling early pace of :25.65, :50.89, and 1:16.35 as Mr. Misunderstood raced near the back of the pack. He was last when the field exited the far turn, but when Geroux dropped his hands and asked Mr. Misunderstood for his best run, they found clear sailing on the outside and engulfed the leaders within an eighth of a mile.
"This horse has an incredible turn of foot," Geroux said. "Once I asked him to go at the top of the stretch, he just took off. He handled the surface perfectly today. It's easy riding when you have a horse with that kind of speed."
Parlor made a belated late run to get second and finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Mr Cub, who held third. It was another neck back to Gorgeous Kitten, who was followed in order by Giant Payday, My Bariley, Tiz a Slam, and Sharm El Sheikh.
Mr. Misunderstood returned $3.40, $2.60, and $2.10. Parlor paid $3.40 and $2.80. Mr Cub paid $3.80 to show.
The victory increased Mr. Misunderstood's earnings to $364,694 from a record of 8-1-0 in 12 starts. A son of Archarcharch, out of the Afternoon Deelites mare Jodys Deelite, he was bred in Kentucky by Athens Woods.
"He's impressed us so much this year," said Cox, who won the 2015 Commonwealth Turf with Almasty (another former $30,000 claimer). "He's had a great campaign throughout the year and has really excelled on the turf. I'm so excited for Staton to get his first graded stakes victory. I know he's wanted it for a long time and I'm happy to be a part of it."