Make it seven straight on the turf for Mr. Misunderstood. The rising turf star improved to 7-for-7 on his favorite surface and notched his first graded victory Saturday with a 1 1/2-length decision in the $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Owned by Flurry Racing Stables and trained by Brad Cox, Mr. Misunderstood took up his customary position toward the back of the pack with jockey Florent Geroux and waited until the completion of the far turn to uncork his rally, mowing down rivals with bold wide run to strike the front by midstretch.
It doesn’t matter whether the pace is fast or slow, Mr. Misunderstood gets it done on turf. The 3-5 favorite rated behind moderate early splits of :25.65, :50.89 and 1:16.35 in the Commonwealth Turf before finishing strongly to complete 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.80 on the firm ground.
Parlor offered a nice late run to finish second as the 4-1 second choice, 1 ¼ lengths better than pacesetter Mr Cub. Gorgeous Kitten completed the superfecta and was followed under the wire by Giant Payday, My Bariley, Tiz a Slam and Sharm El Sheikh.
By Archarcharch, Mr. Misunderstood raced primarily on the main track earlier in his career and dropped in for a $30,000 tag at Fair Grounds in late December, and he was also available for $50,000 price tag at the New Orleans track in late February. Connections are fortunate nobody claimed him because the dark bay gelding’s career has really flourished since the summer.
He easily notched his first stakes win when taking the Prelude at Louisiana Downs in early August and followed with another facile tally in the Super Derby over the same course. Mr. Misunderstood was exiting a 2 ¾-length romp in the September 30 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs and appears to have a bright future, indeed.
Look for Mr. Misunderstood to continue stepping up in class next year; the up-and-comer could be any kind on turf as an older horse.
Bred in Kentucky by Athens Woods, Mr. Misunderstood was purchased for $130,000 at the 2016 OBS March 2-year-old sale. He’s the first stakes winner from the multiple stakes-placed Afternoon Deelites mare Jodys Deelite and this is the immediate female family of multiple Grade 2-winning turfer Middlesex Drive.
Commonwealth Turf quotes
FLORENT GEROUX, jockey of MR. MISUNDERSTOOD: “This horse has an incredible turn of foot. Once I asked him to go at the top of the stretch he just took off. He handed the surface perfectly today. It’s easy riding when you have a horse with that kind of speed.”
BRAD COX, trainer of MR. MISUNDERSTOOD: “He’s impressed us so much this year. 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.”
STATON FLURRY, owner of MR. MISUNDERSTOOD: “It’s unbelievable to get our first graded stakes win. 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.”
EDDIE KENNEALLY, trainer of PARLOR (runner-up): “The horse ran well, but he was just second-best. The winner’s a nice horse. But it was certainly a good effort. He’s been running hard all year and he ran good again today.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey on PARLOR (runner-up): “The winner is a nice horse. We had a pretty good trip, but I wish we weren’t down on the inside where Florent (Geroux on Mr. Misunderstood) kind of kept us in there a little bit longer than I’d hoped. But even saying that, I don’t know if we could beat the winner. My horse ran a good race and we’re happy with it.”
IAN WILKES, trainer of MR CUB (third): “We’re very, very happy. The horse ran a really good race. We just got outrun. The winner is a very, very nice horse. We set the pace we wanted to beat him and he was back there in between horses, but that horse kicked. I thought our horse fought hard to be third and that was good.”
JOE ROCCO JR., jockey on MR CUB (third): “My horse ran very well. They let us go really easy up front and I was hoping we’d be able to sprint home and kind of steal it. But that horse of Brad’s is just too good. Mr. Misunderstood – we understand him very well, or at least Brad does, for sure. My horse really dug-in and tried. I think he’s come a long way since I first started riding him and I’m proud of him. I think he’s steadily going to get better.”