Saturday, February 18, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 18, 2012 – Plutonium went in to the $50,000 Dust Commander Stakes a 30-1 long shot and came out a gate-to-wire, 8 1/4-length winner, earning his first stakes trophy in his 25th lifetime start Saturday at Turfway Park.
El Gran Sol, himself a 49-1 shot, was second, 2 1/2 lengths better than the 9-5 favorite, Proceed Bee, in third. Final time for the one-mile race over Polytrack was 1:37.51.
"He was just actually 'on the good foot,' as I call it, today," said trainer Ron Brown. "I could just tell everything about him was perfect. He went into the race perfect. He's a speed horse and that was kind of the plan, to play catch me, and it worked out. The rider got him to relax and it was perfect."
With Luis Martinez Jr. in the irons, Plutonium broke from post nine in the field of 11 older horses and immediately took the lead, setting the first quarter in :24.14 and the half in :47.89. Tapanna sat a length and a half off the pace through the first quarter and then El Gran Sol took over that position through six furlongs in 1:12.54, but neither could go with Plutonium when he powered down the stretch for the emphatic win. Proceed Bee closed to overtake the faltering Tapanna in the stretch.
Finishing behind Proceed Bee were Max Silverhammer, Tapanna, St. Maximus Gato, Wealth to Me, Kingofthebluegrass, William's Kitten, Dynamite Bob, and Night Party. Tend was scratched by his trainer.
Plutonium rewarded his backers with $62.20 to win, $26.60 to place, and $13.60 to show. El Gran Sol paid $59 and $18. Proceed Bee paid $2.80.
A 5-year-old son of Monarchos out of Could Be Jazz, by Jambalaya Jazz, Plutonium was bred in Kentucky by Donna Ward. He is owned by Diane Garland and Sondra Mayne. The $29,140 winner’s share of the Dust Commander purse pushed his lifetime earnings to $193,160. Among his 25 starts are seven wins, three seconds, and two thirds.
Racing continues Sunday and Monday at Turfway, with both cards starting at 1:10 p.m.