Commander Crowe, who put together an extensive winning streak a couple of years ago but then suffered from ailments and saw his abilities compromised, appears to be back in top form after a strong victory in the Finlandia at the Vermo track in Helsinki on Saturday. The 8-year-old gelding won in a mile rate time of 1:58.4 over 2,100 meters (about 1.3 miles). Meanwhile, in Sweden, Maharajah was victorious.
French reinsman Jean-Michel Bazire drove Commander Crowe. A few weeks ago the horse's trainer proclaimed that Commander Crowe would win this year's Oslo Grand Prix and Elitlopp, and after the Finlandia, his words have credibility.
Bazire allowed Zorro Photo (SJ's Photo-Zarrosotha, by Lindy's Crown) to take the lead initially, but before the quarater sent Commander Crowe to the front. Commander Crowe (Juliano Star-Somack, by Mack Lobell) trotted off to a victory, with Zorro Photo holding on for second and Rodrigo Jet third.
In other news, the big Swedish hope for the Elitlopp, Maharajah, won elsewhere in Sweden in a mile rate time of 1:57.2 over 2,140 meters. He won at the Umeaker track. His next start will be the Oslo Grand Prix, and trainer Stefan Hultman said no decision has been made yet regarding a start in the Elitlopp, which also requires an invitation.