ELMONT, NY – After finishing a narrow second in three separate races against open company this year, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Bankit drops back down to face fellow New York-breds in Friday’s $125,000 Commentator Stakes at Belmont Park.
A model of consistency, Bankit has a record of 19-3-7-2 that includes an 8-3-2-1 mark against state-bred rivals for trainer Steve Asmussen. The 4-year-old Central Banker colt finished second in the Fifth Season Stakes (by a head), the Razorback Handicap (G3) (by a head), and versus optional claiming foes (by a 1/2-length). That most recent effort came behind Endorsed, who finished a close second in the Westchester Stakes (G3) last weekend.
Here is a look at the full field for Friday’s Commentator, a one-turn mile on the main track:
1. Bankit (7/2) – He spent the first five months of the calendar year knocking heads with some of the toughest in the older male dirt division and nearly got the job done on three separate occasions. He has twice won stakes races at this level, including the 2018 Sleepy Hollow Stakes over this course and distance as a juvenile.
2. Whistling Birds (30/1) – He won two straight allowance events at Parx earlier this year while simultaneously earning back-to-back career-best Beyer speed figures (85 and 88). The 4-year-old Jimmy Creed colt has a distance record of 5-2-2-0.
3. Funny Guy (30/1) – He went on a tear during last spring and summer, compiling a 6-2-4-0 record against state-breds that included winning the Albany Stakes and the New York Stallion Stakes. The 4-year-old Big Brown colt will make his first start since finishing a non-threatening sixth in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) last fall, his only start against open company.
4. Build to Suit (9/2) – Chad Brown will saddle him for his first start of the year after a nose defeat prevented him from being perfect through 4 starts in 2019. The 6-year-old Dominus ridgling has never finished off the board while compiling a 10-6-2-2 record, including his first stakes victory in the local Hudson Handicap last time out.
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5. Blewitt (15/1) – The Repole Stable homebred 6-year-old son of Uncle Mo has only raced sparingly in his career, but he seems to finally be on track for a lengthy racing year. He was most recently seen wiring a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park.
6. Honor Up (20/1) – The first of two entries from the Michelle Nevin barn, he was less than 2 lengths from winning last year’s Carter Handicap (G1). That was the closest he has come to victory in 14 months, however, so he will need to turn things around after not running a lick in last week’s First Defence Stakes.
7. Mr. Buff (6/5) – The morning line favorite rides a 3-race win streak into this event, all at the stakes level, for owners/breeders Chester and Mary Broman. The 6-year-old Friend Or Foe gelding was eighth in this event two years ago and third by just 3/4 of a length in last year’s edition.
8. Pat On the Back (5/1) – The defending champion was a nose away from winning this race in 2018 as well and should not be taken lightly in his seasonal debut. The 6-year-old son of Congrats defeated open company over this course and distance in last September’s Kelso Handicap (G2) and will once again have the riding services of Dylan Davis, who has been aboard for 23 of his 28 prior starts.
9. My Boy Tate (12/1) – His maiden-breaking effort begat a 5-race win streak, all against state-breds, that included two stakes scores. Along with being her second entry in the field, Nevin bred and co-owns the 6-year-old Boys At Tosconova gelding.