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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Condo Commando romps in Spinaway

Condo Commando romps in Spinaway

Perhaps an anticlimax was for the best. In Tom Durkin’s last call after 43 years as a track announce
Condo Commando romps in Spinaway
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Perhaps an anticlimax was for the best.

In Tom Durkin’s last call after 43 years as a track announcer, Condo Commando sucked all the drama out of the Grade I Spinaway by romping in the slop by 13 1⁄4 lengths over By the Moon at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.

With a big ceremony planned in Durkin’s honor immediately after the race, Condo Commando was unchallenged in the stretch. but still offered Durkin one last flourish to finish his career, as he called it a “splashtastic” victory.

The daughter of Tiz Wonderful has won her two career starts by a combined 25 1⁄4 lengths, both ridden by Joe Bravo at Saratoga.

“When I saw the slop, I thought we were in trouble from the No. 1 hole, and she didn’t break good,” trainer Rudy Rodriguez said. “She did it easy, though.”

“My biggest concern was trying to get out of the gate, and she overcame that and look what she did,” Bravo said.

Condo Commando, who went off at 3-1, had an awkward start from the rail, and bumped into 8-5 betting favorite Angela Renee.

She and Bravo regrouped quickly enough to get past the front-runners in first at the quarter-mile split of 22.46, then took the field through the half-mile in 45.89 and three-quarters in 1:10.69.

By then, she had a 10-length lead over By the Moon, and it was over.

“Our main concern was to try to get in front,” Bravo said. “We don’t want a lot of dirt to hit her in the face. She overpowered everybody. Really, the race was won in the first eighth of a mile.”

Condo Commando was coming off a 12-length victory in her career debut four weeks ago.

She went from 5 1⁄2 furlongs in that race to the seven furlongs of the Spinaway with no difficulty.

“She won first time out pretty impressively, but you didn’t know how good she is,” Bravo said. “I think today she answered a lot of questions.”


Irish Mission was knocking on the door in her last two starts and finally got her first win in over a year when she rallied to win the Grade III Glens Falls at a mile and three-eighths on the turf.

She went off as the 3-1 favorite with John Velazquez in the saddle and caught front-runner Viva Rafaela by a half-length.

“I’m delighted, because the filly deserves to win,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “She was so comfortable with Johnny that the fractions were irrelevant.”

“When I needed her, she responded,” Velazquez said. “She made me look good.”


A rematch between Woodward winner Itsmyluckyday and Whitney winner Moreno probably won’t happen because trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said Itsmyluckyday might skip it to get a break before the Breeders’ Cup.

“If the ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup, I have to be sure we’re going into the race 110 percent,” Plesa said on Sunday morning. “The great [trainer] Horatio Luro said, ‘You don’t want to squeeze the lemon too dry.’­”

Trainer Eric Guillot said Moreno will run in the Sept. 27 Jockey Club Gold Cup and, in characteristically bombastic style, even predicted that Moreno would win the BC Classic by five lengths.

“You all can put it in the press,” he said. “Because I said it.”

Plesa had a huge day at Monmouth Park Sunday, saddling a pair of stakes winners.

Souper Colossal went wire to wire to win the $100,000 Sapling Stakes, beating Wild Zambezi by five lengths.

Paco Lopez, who was also on Itsmyluckyday in the Woodward, Souper Colossal ran the mile over a fast track in 1:38 2⁄5, and returned $4, $2.60 and $2.10 as the favorite in the field of six 2-year-old colts. He has won all three of his career starts and has earned $117,000 overall.

Plesa also saddled the winner in the $75,000 Sorority Stakes, as Concealedwithakiss cruised to a two-length win over Coco’s Wildcat. Ridden by Angel Serpa, Concealedwithakiss covered the six furlongs over a fast track in 1:11 2⁄5, and returned $15.40, $7 and $4.40. The 2-year-old filly has won both of her career starts, earning $57,540 overall.

Looking good

Trainer Charlie LoPresti said two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan looked good after winning the Bernard Baruch in near-record time on Saturday in his first race since May 3. He had been out of commission because of emergency colic surgery on May 16.

“He’s an amazing creature, I’ll tell you,” LoPresti said. “We got him out and walked him, an his legs look great. He’s a little tired, but that’s to be expected.”

Wise Dan’s next stop is scheduled to be the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on

Oct. 4 in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup, where he has won the Mile the last two years.

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