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Sep 19, 2008

Commentator odds-on favorite for 66th MassCap


 East Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Whitney Handicap winner Commentator goes after his second straight Breeders' Cup Challenge victory in Saturday's $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap (MassCap) at Suffolk Downs. The MassCap champ will gain automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Classic as part of the "Win and You're In" program.

The 1 1/8 mile race has attracted seven older thoroughbreds.

A gelding, Commentator is trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito for Tracy Farmer and is the 3-5 morning-line favorite. The seven-year-old will start from post two with John Velazquez returning to ride.

Commentator recorded his second career Whitney victory, in his last start, to go along with his 2005 win. Also this year he was second to Divine Park in the Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park on Memorial Day.

"He gets in that league with Kelso and Forego," Zito noted after the Whitney victory, "which I wanted him to be in so they couldn't take him out. He's in that special league. He's an amazing horse."

A winner of 12 races in 19 career starts, Commentator has lifetime earnings of more than $1.54 million.

The 7-2 second choice is Dr. Pleasure, third in last year's MassCap behind Brass Hat for trainer John Ward, Jr. Owned by John Oxley, Dr. Pleasure will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez from post six.

A winner of just two of 15 lifetime starts, the five-year-old snapped a 13- race losing streak this year after undergoing throat surgery by winning an allowance race at Saratoga. Dr. Pleasure has career winnings of $308,098 Two years ago he was third in the Travers and fourth in the Jim Dandy Stakes.

Shipping in from Monmouth Park is Cuba, the 6-1 third pick in the program. The seven-year-old will break from post four with regular rider Pedro Cotto, Jr. aboard.

Trained by Bobby Dibona for Leo-Sag Stable, Cuba is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Iselin Handicap at Monmouth. He has won six of his last nine starts.

"This horse has done so many great things this year that I thought he deserved a chance," said Dibona. "I'm confident he can get a piece of that pot. I never had a horse for the MassCap before. Cuba is the first one I've had that I thought deserved the chance. With a little racing luck, he can do really well in the MassCap."

In his career Cuba has won 11 of 37 races for $443,594.

Here is the complete field for the MassCap in post position order: Beck and Call, Tammi Piermarini 20-1; Commentator, John Velazquez 3-5; Won Awesome Dude, Dalton Nedrick 8-1; Cuba, Pedro Cotto, Jr. 6-1; Volcanic Force, Clifford Dooley, 20-1; Dr. Pleasure, Cornelio Velasquez 7-2 and Riversrunrylee, Pedro Gonzalez 15-1.

The 66th MassCap has a scheduled post-time of 5:45 p.m. (et).

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