December 1, 2022

Spectacular Gem heads overflow field in Commonwealth Turf

Spectacular Gem wins Jefferson Cup
Spectacular Gem wins Jefferson Cup (c) Coady Photography

Spectacular Gem will look for his third straight stakes win when he lines up for Saturday’s $175,000 Commonwealth Turf (G3) at Churchill Downs. Trained by Jimmy Baker, the improving colt tops a field of 14 three-year-olds, including a pair of also-eligible contestants, in the 1 1/16-mile turf affair.

A front-running son of Can the Man, Spectacular Gem placed in a couple of Fair Grounds stakes events earlier this season before breaking through in the September 4 Caesars at Indiana Grand, earning his first stakes tally by a nose margin at 35-1 odds. He carried his form forward with a 9-1 upset in the Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs 3 ½ weeks later, scoring wire to wire by 1 ¾ lengths, and Spectacular Gem has been freshened 42 days in advance of the Commonwealth Turf. James Graham rides.

Tracksmith, Faraway Kitten and Clint Maroon, the 2-3-4 finishers in the Jefferson Cup, are also back for the Commonwealth Turf. Faraway Kitten is the most accomplished of the trio, winning the American Derby (G3) and Mystic Lake Derby this summer, and Julien Leparoux has the call for Mike Maker.

Pirate’s Punch is eligible to factor if he takes to the turf for Grant Forster. A close third in the Super Derby two back, the Shanghai Bobby gelding exits a commendable neck second to stakes winner Gray Magician in a salty Keeneland allowance. Robby Albarado retains the mount.

Multiple stakes victor Marquee Prince, who exits an allowance triumph at Indiana Grand, merits respect for Brad Cox. The leading trainer during the Churchill Downs September meet, Cox won a pair of pair of Breeders’ Cup races last weekend with presumptive champions British Idiom and Covfefe. Tyler Gaffalione will be up on Marquee Prince.

Other entrants include last-out Ontario Derby runner-up Armistice Day; Osage Moon, who will try stakes company following a pair of convincing wins on Woodbine’s turf for Mark Casse; Tiz Plus, a last-out winner at Remington Park for Steve Asmussen; and Keeneland allowance scorer Louder Than Bombs.

Commonwealth Turf Cup Contenders: