Wednesday, February 15, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 16, 2006 . . . The $50,000 Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday has attracted a nine-horse field of older horses, including the well-traveled turf specialist G P Fleet.
G P Fleet finished fourth in his last race, the Grade III Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap in January, but the number is misleading; he was just a length behind the winner, Fort Prado. Before that race, he finished second by a nose to America Alive in the Grade III River City Handicap at Churchill Downs. The Dust Commander will be his first race at Turfway, where he will decide whether he likes Polytrack as much as grass. Willie Martinez will ride for trainer Steven Flint.
With plenty of experience at Turfway, nine-year-old veteran Ask the Lord has five wins from 10 starts at the track, including stakes wins. Ask the Lord has run twice and won twice in 2006, both at the Dust Commander’s mile distance and both at Turfway. Leading jockey Julien Leparoux was aboard for both of those wins and rides again Saturday. Trainer Bernard Flint, who is homing in on 3,000 career wins, knows where to put Ask the Lord, who always puts up a confident closing run.
Storm Surge has strong graded-stakes credentials but only one race at Turfway, a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Cup Sprint last fall. He will be looking for his first win since the Grade III LeComte Stakes a year ago.
Also entered in the Dust Commander are Paging (jockey Richard Bracho), another Turfway veteran from the barn of Bernard Flint; Barnard Man (Jason Lumpkins), a second Steven Flint trainee; Flying Jazz (Dean Sarvis), who recently finished second to both GP Fleet and Barnard Man; Esprit Du Roi (Godofredo Laurente); Patrol (Julio Felix), who posted a best-of-20 work at Turfway last week; and King of Speed, moving up from claiming ranks after a Turfway win at the distance last out.
The Dust Commander is the 10th of 12 races on Saturday’s card. First post is 1:10 p.m.