Comandante controls Alex M. Robb from start to finish
By Sean Morris
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Comandante made it three wins in a row for trainer Todd Pletcher with a comfortable score in the $100,000 Alex M. Robb for New York-bred 3-year-olds and up on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Owned by Three Diamonds Farm and ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, the 3-year-old son of Frost Giant broke best and led the field through fractions of 24.42 seconds for a quarter-mile and 48.55 for a half. Turning for home, the Pletcher trainee edged away from pace-pressing Moneyinyour Pocket and gradually extended his advantage throughout the stretch, ultimately winning by 4 ½ lengths.
"My horse is in good form; this was his third straight win," said Velasquez. "The assistant trainer [Byron Hughes] said before the race if the No. 4 horse [Zetterholm] wanted to go, to let him go, but my horse broke two lengths in front. He was never under any pressure even when the other horse came to him, and had plenty left at the end."
Since switching to the barn of Todd Pletcher earlier this year, the bay gelding has won three of five starts, including the NYSS Thunder Rumble on November 23 at the Big A, to go along with a second and a third place finish. His overall record now stands at four wins in 14 tries with career earnings of $270,568. He returned $5.10 to win as the second choice in the wagering and completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.15.
Runner-up Moneyinyour Pocket finished a nose in front of favored Awesome Vision. It was another five lengths back to Zetterholm in fourth. Completing the order of finish were Bake Shop and Sound of Drums, while morning-line favorite Saratoga Snacks and West Hills Giant were early scratches.