Mr. Misunderstood out to extend unbeaten turf run

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

November 10th, 2017

Mr. Misunderstood looks to cement his position as one of the rising stars of the North American turf with a graded stakes victory in the 1 1/8-mile Commonwealth Turf Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs Nov. 11.

The Brad Cox-trained Archarcharch gelding was perhaps a little misunderstood early in his career, running three times on dirt in his first four starts and being defeated in all of them. He won his maiden at his third start, on turf, and then won again on turf at starts five and six.

Mr. Misunderstood then won on dirt in a race originally scheduled for the Fair Grounds turf, and that effort persuaded his connections to try the Illinois Derby (G3) on dirt. He finished last of seven.

Returned to turf, Mr. Misunderstood rattled off victories in the Super Derby Prelude and Super Derby at Louisiana Downs before winning the Jefferson Cup Stakes at Churchill Downs Sept. 30.

He therefore arrives at the Commonwealth Turf Stakes unbeaten in six starts on turf. Florent Geroux rides as Mr. Misunderstood seeks his first graded stakes victory.

Trainer Ian Wilkes lines up two in the Commonwealth Turf Stakes, both of which look to have a chance of getting some of the money. Giant Payday finished third to Mr. Misunderstood in the Jefferson Cup, while Mr Cub finished fifth in the same race. Both had won their previous starts: Giant Payday in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park, and Mr Cub in a Kentucky Downs allowance.

Gorgeous Kitten and Parlor, second and third, respectively, behind Cowboy Culture in the Arlington Classic Stakes (G3) in May, also seek their first graded victories. Gorgeous Kitten has had the better form since then, finishing second in the American Derby (G3) and fifth in the Secretariat Stakes (G1) in the meantime, though he disappointed when sixth in the Ontario Derby (G3) Oct. 15.

Ontario Derby winner Tiz a Slam may be the biggest danger to Mr. Misunderstood. From the stable of Hall of Famer Roger Attfield, Tiz a Slam found only Holy Helena too good in the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine in July before reversing that result by 3 ¼ lengths in the Ontario Derby on the Woodbine all weather track. He has won on turf in the past.

My Bariley, sixth in the Jefferson Cup and second in the Mystic Lake Derby, comes into the race after winning the Hawthorne Derby Oct. 28. Sharm El Sheikh, a maiden winner at Kentucky Downs Sept. 9, completes the field.