Mr. Misunderstood is becoming a highly-respected turf performer. The reformed claimer has made enormous strides in recent months, reeling off three convincing stakes wins, and will be the one to beat among eight sophomore rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Perfect from six turf starts, Mr. Misunderstood recorded his first stakes triumph when rolling to a 2 ½-length decision in the August 5 Prelude at Louisiana Downs. The gelded son of Archarcharch followed with a three-length tally in the Super Derby five weeks later and exits a 2 ¾-length score in the September 30 Jefferson Cup at Churchill. He will seek his first graded stakes victory Saturday with regular rider Florent Geroux.
Giant Payday will try to turn the tables following a third in the Jefferson Cup. One of two for Ian Wilkes, the Giant’s Causeway colt captured the Mystic Derby at Canterbury Downs two starts back and Chris Landeros has the return call. Wilkes will also send out Mr Cub, who checked in fifth when making his bow in the Jefferson Cup. The Artie Schiller gelding posted a facile allowance tally at Kentucky Downs two back and keeps Joe Rocco Jr. in the saddle.
Tiz a Slam invades from Canada following a 3 ¼-length triumph in the October 15 Ontario Derby (G3) on Tapeta. Runner-up in the prestigious Queen’s Plate, the son of Tiznow is a restricted stakes winner on turf and Robby Albarado picks up the mount for Roger Attfield. Mike Maker will be represented by Grade 3 runner-up Gorgeous Kitten and the Ken Ramsey homebred receives a switch to leading rider Corey Lanerie.
Hawthorne Derby upsetter My Bariley is also part of the mix. Rounding out the field are Dueling Grounds Derby runner-up Parlor and maiden winner Sharm El Sheikh.