Cold Ground waxed warm as he overran a steady but weakened Restricted Allowance III field of native-bred four-year-olds and upward to win the $516,600 Aston Commock Memorial Trophy (NW3 O/T) feature by 5 1/2 lengths at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Owned and trained by Patrick Lynch, Cold Ground, ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson and installed the 2-5 favourite, ran 1,800 metres in 1:47.1 minutes. It was the colt's first victory as a four-year-old and it came from his seventh start of the season.
Remember Me, a 9-1 chance ridden by champion jockey Dick Cardenas was second, while Surreal with claiming apprentice Robert Halledeen in the saddle showed as an 11-1 bet. Sundown, the 8-5 second favourite who ran prominently throughout under Richard Mitchell, who replaced jockey Andre Martin in the irons, completed the frame in the field of seven.
Heavily favoured to win the event, Cold Ground exited gate four without much fuss to settle in mid-pack fifth as his stablemate Annie Oakley, ridden by the seldomly used Delroy Beharie, led at a furious pace for the first quarter.
She then disappeared from front-line duty as the race began in earnest. First to show was Gold Runner, ridden by non-claiming apprentice Richard Mairs, but before he could assume the lead Gold Runner was overtaken by Cold Ground, who shot into the lead at the 500-metre pole. From thence it was left to the other runners to fight it out for the minor shares, as Nelson rolled over Cold Ground to secure the gelding's first win of the season and Nelson's 74th to maintain his 22-win lead in the Jockeys' Championship race.
A four-year-old bay gelding by Storm Craft out of Pfeiffer (Liver Stand) bred by Mark & Susan Wates, Cold Ground was winning for the fourth time from 23 career starts and earned $282,020 as the winner's share for a bankroll of $4,327,450 lifetime.