Woodford Racing’s 3-year-old colt Hot Springs pulled away from front-running Marzo inside the final sixteenth of a mile and held off a late run by Zero Gravity to win Saturday’s 15th running of the $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) at Churchill Downs by 1 ½ lengths.

Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. and trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Hot Springs trailed the field of seven 3-year-olds on the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile turf race as Marzo maintained a 1 ½-length advantage after setting early fractions of :24.81, :49.64 and 1:14.72. Hot Springs, still last at the top of the stretch, found an opening along the inside lane and shifted out sharply with a furlong to run to get clear running in the stretch. Hot Springs proved much the best and stopped the teletimer in 1:46.97 over the “yielding” course.

“He handled the surface well today,” Santana said. “We got a lot of rain the other day so I knew the track would be pretty heavy. I watched some replays and wanted to make sure I got him to settle early in the race. Once the hole opened up and I got him outside he responded very well. He’s a very nice horse and very talented. I think he’s going to keep getting better into next year.”

Hot Springs is a son of Uncle Mo out of the Victory Gallop mare Magical Victory and was bred in Kentucky by Bo Hirsch. The four-time winner returned $5.80, $3.80 and $3.20 as the 9-5 second betting choice. Zero Gravity, at 15-1 outsider with Adam Beschizza up, paid $12.40 and $7.20. Marzo, ridden by Albin Jimenez, finished another 1 ½ lengths back in third and paid $6 to show.

Reride, slight 9-5 favorite March to the Arch, Sniper Kitten and Year of the Kitten completed the order of finish.

Hot Springs netted $60,760 for his victory and now boasts career earnings of $248,480 in seven career starts. Each of his four wins have come on Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course, including a one-length score in September’s $100,000 Jefferson Cup (Listed).

“He’s 4-for-4 over the surface here but today was the most impressive one,” Asmussen said. “The way he was finishing up was very impressive. Hopefully we’ll be able to come back to Churchill next year. There are some very nice races down the road for this colt.”

Churchill Downs returns for live racing Sunday with a first post of 1 p.m. EST. There is a $93,371 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot, which will cover Races 5-10, and a $7,195 carryover in the finale’s $1 Super Hi-5. In honor of Veterans Day, all active and retired military members will receive free general admission. Also, the first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a free 2019 Churchill Downs wall calendar courtesy of Humana. Visit www.churchilldowns.com for more information.

COMMONWEALTH TURF QUOTES

Ricardo Santana Jr., jockey of HOT SPRINGS (winner): “He handled the surface well today. We got a lot of rain the other day so I knew the track would be pretty heavy. I watched some replays and wanted to make sure I got him to settle early in the race. Once the hole opened up and I got him outside he responded very well. He’s a very nice horse and very talented. I think he’s going to keep getting better into next year.”

Steve Asmussen, trainer of HOT SPRINGS (winner): “He’s 4-for-4 over the surface here but today was the most impressive one. The way he was finishing up was very impressive. Hopefully we’ll be able to come back to Churchill next year. There are some very nice races down the road for this colt.”

Ben Colebrook, trainer of MARZO (third): “I really thought we were going to steal that race. He ran great on the front end. That was a great effort.”

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