Commonwealth: Storm Military Tries Poly

Commonwealth: Storm Military Tries Poly
Photo: Benoit
Storm Military tries the Polytrack in the Commonwealth.
Storm Military, last year's champion miler in Argentina, looks to get his first graded stakes victory on American soil, as the 6-year-old lines up against nine rivals in the $400,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) April 12 at Keeneland.

The Commonwealth is a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-old and up on the Polytrack and will be run on the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) undercard.

Owned by Castleton Lyons and La Biznaga, Storm Military will make his first start on a synthetic surface in the Commonwealth. The son of Bernsteinhas made all but three of his 14 lifetime starts on turf, and all five of his U.S. efforts have been on grass.

Since shipping to the states last fall, Storm Military has raced five times, with a 2-1-0 record for trainer Bobby Frankel. His 5-year-old debut resulted in a stakes win Feb. 2 on the Santa Anita turf, as he captured the one-mile Thunder Road Handicap by three lengths under Garrett Gomez. Most recently, Storm Military led for a half-mile in the March 1 Frank Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IT), but weakened to finish fourth.

Breaking from post three under Gomez, Storm Military should be the pacesetter in the Commonwealth, and will look for his ninth win in 15 career efforts. He had a pair of group I wins in Argentina.

Storm Military will face a pair of graded stakes winners in Buffalo Man and Xchanger. Rick Pitino and Clint Glasscock’s Buffalo Man is coming off a disappointing ninth-place effort March 8 in the Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds, but was very impressive while winning in his 4-year-old debut one start prior, getting up by a half-length in the Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27.

Trained by Cam Gambolati, Buffalo Man is a son of El Prado--Perfect Six, by Saratoga Six. Bred in Canada by Adena Springs, the bay colt is a consistent 6-2-1 from 12 lifetime starts. Like Storm Military, he will make his Polytrack debut.

Domenico Zannino’s Xchanger has not raced since finishing fourth in the Nov. 24 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct. Prior to that, the 4-year-old son of Exchange Rate  was 34 lengths back in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park. Those two efforts prompted trainer Mark Shuman to give the Florida-bred some time off.

Xchanger has a pair of graded stakes wins to his credit, having captured Monmouth Park's Sapling (gr. III) as a 2-year-old and the Barbaro Stakes (gr. III) last July at Delaware Park. Xchanger was eighth in the 2007 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

Medzendeekron and Doppio, a pair of challengers coming off allowance wins on Santa Anita’s Cushion Track, Rebellion, who was second in the Phoenix (gr. III) last fall at Keeneland, and Forefathers, a tenth-place finisher in the 2007 TVG Breeders Cup Sprint (gr. I), are also in the field.

$400,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4:40 p.m.), Three-Year-Olds & Up, Seven Furlongs (Polytrack)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Xchanger (FL), 118, Jamie Theriot
2. Papa Bear (KY), 118, Michael C. Baze
3. Storm Military (ARG), 120, Garrett K. Gomez
4. Buffalo Man (ON), 120, Jose Lezcano
5. Elite Squadron (KY), 118, John R. Velazquez
6. Rebellion (GB), 118, Edgar S. Prado
7. Medzendeekron (CA), 120, Eibar Coa
8. Forefathers (KY), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
9. Doppio (KY), 118, Rafael Bejarano
10. Thousand Words (GB), 118, Javier Castellano

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