2011 Virginia Derby Connections Score Saturday in Grade 3 Commonwealth Oaks at Laurel Park

(LAUREL, MD. — 09/26/2015) —- The owner-trainer connections of 2011 Virginia Derby winner Air Support were back in the winner’s circle Saturday, scoring impressively with Onus in the 11th running of the $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (Gr. 3) at Laurel Park. The Oaks, presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance, was the highlight of a card that included five $60,000 Virginia-bred stakes races.

The 3 year old Blame filly, rated nicely from off the pace, stormed past front running Heart of Midway in mid-stretch and surged to the finish, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. The triumph followed respective 10 1/2 and 8 length wins in allowance and maiden special weight company at Laurel, all authored by jockey Forest Boyce. “She does whatever you ask of her,” said Boyce, “But she’s like a typical horse—she doesn’t like to be told what to do. I just tried to keep her happy today and it worked out well.”

Onus, one of 11 fillies competing in the 1 1/8 miles turf stakes, started from post 8 and settled comfortably into third while Heart of Midway cut initial fractional times of :24.13, :48.89 and 1:12.72. Once Onus made her powerful move and took control, the  battle was on for second between fast closing Lola Beaux and Stormy Regatta, who finished a nose apart though well back of the winner. Onus crossed in 1:47.12 for Hall of Fame trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey and owner/breeder Stuart Janney, III. The victor, out of Silviculture by Forestry, paid $6.80. Favored Zvarkhova was never a factor and ended up 8th.

In Virginia-bred stakes action, Rose Brier and Two Notch Road successfully defended their respective 2014 titles in Saturday’s Bert Allen and Punch Line Stakes. Ironically, jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Julian Pimentel guided the repeat winners both Saturday and in the same event a year ago. A tight four horse photo finish occurred in both the Brookemeade and Jamestown Stakes. Complete St. won the former by one-half length while Away We Go captured the latter, which was exclusively for 2 year olds.  Exaggerated went to gate-to-wire in the Oakley Stakes and crossed handily 4 1/2 lengths over Awake The Day.

In depth recaps of all five Virginia-bred stakes will be posted this weekend, along with pictures. In the meanwhile, visit the facebook pages of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association and Virginia Equine Alliance, where pictures and brief recaps have already been posted.