All About Greys
And Winter Memories is coming like a grey bullet! screamed Belmont Park announcer Tom Durkin; and indeed she did. Not only did the El Prado filly make her presence felt on the race track this past weekend, but all week long she has been making her presence felt in the press. After her neck winning thriller over Theyskens’ Theory in Saturday’s Garden City Stakes (Gr. I), I began to ponder about all of the grey and roan thoroughbreds out there today. The weekend was also capped off by two more greys storming to first place finishes with Unbridled Humor winning the Noble Damsel (Gr. III) by 1 ¾ lengths and Turallure’s neck stretch victory over Courageous Cat in the Woodbine Mile (Gr. I). I then started to compare them against some of the greatest greys of all-time. The greats usually come few and far between but last couple years have proven different as there are a handful of them which have caught peoples attention. First we will start with Winter Memories since she is the hot topic around town this week. This three year old filly has only finished out of the money once in her career. From eight career starts she has finished first six times and second once. As mentioned above her last race was up in Belmont Park Saturday where the beautiful grey avenged her fourth place finish to Hungry Island in the Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes (Gr. II). Winter Memories next start could be on October 15th at Keeneland for the QE II.
Another good roan filly goes by the name of Zazu. Many know this horse by her trade mark teal and pink silks of Jerry and Ann Moss (Yes, the very same Zenyatta wore). Zazu has made a name for herself over on the West Coast as she has only finished out of the money once. From ten career starts, the Tapit filly has won three, placed five and finished fourth once (10-3-5-1). In her last race Zazu finished second to Ultra Blend in the the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (Gr. I) at Del Mar on August 6th. According to Jerry and Ann Moss, the grey filly is looking towards the Breeders Cup Ladies Classic on November 4th. Creative Cause is an up and coming colt which could very well make his presence felt over the next year. The Giant Causeway colt is ranked number four (as of right now) on Horse Racing Nation’s power list for 2012 Kentucky Derby contenders. The roan horse has finished in the money for his first three races and winning his first two. His latest race was a second place finish behind Drill in the Del Mar Futurity (Gr. I) earlier this month. Keep an eye on this one as you very well see him in the Derby next May. One grey mare which may have slipped by some of you is the gorgeous La Verita. The daughter of Unbridled’s Song has only raced in Japan but has won more than $3 million so far in her career. La Verita’s most recent victory came in the Sparking Lady Cup on July 6th. Some of the other major races this mare has in her pocket are the Empress Hai, TCK Jo-o Hai, the Brilliant Stakes, and the Kanto Oaks. Vineyard Haven is another gray horse which has had some success over the past couple years. The five year old son of Lido Palace has not yet raced this year but could be returning for the De Francis Dash on October 22nd the Bold Ruler (Gr. III) on October 29th. Vineyard Haven has raced 12 times throughout his career with a record of 12-5-1-3. The Godolphin Racing roan was seventh in the Hill N’ Dale Cigar Mile (Gr. 1) at the Aqueduct last year on November 27th.
Top Grey Thoroughbreds of All-Time With all this excitement about the greys, lets take a look back in time and reconsider some of the greatest of all-time.
There is tons that could be written about the infamous Native Dancer, his nickname (the Grey Ghost), his offspring, the nearly unblemished record and the list goes on. Winning 21 of 22 races, the Grey Ghost was truly one of a kind. The only skirmish on Native Dancers record was a second place finish in the 1953 Kentucky Derby behind Dark Star. Owned by Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Native Dancer won almost every prestigious race one can think of from the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, Wood Memorial, and Met Mile. The Dancer also won two horse of the year awards in 1952 and 1954 along with being on the cover of Time magazine in May of 54’. In 1963 the Grey Ghost was cemented into racing immortality by being inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame. Skip AwayAnother grey champion goes by the name of Skip Away. This horse ran a whopping 38 races in his illustrious career and finished in the money 34 times. His lifetime record stands at 38-18-10-6. The Skip Trail horse won races such as the Jockey Cup Gold Cup, Woodward Stakes, Haskell Invitational, and the Breeder’s Cup Classic. Skip Away also finished second in the Preakness Stakes and in the Belmont Stakes. Altogether this horse amassed more than $9.5 million throughout his spectacular career. Establishing himself as one of the greats, Skip Away was inducted into the Nation Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.
Holy BullThis handsome grey thoroughbred was another showstopper indeed. The great Holy Bull won the hearts of millions by finishing first in 13 out of his 16 career races. The son of Great Above, The Bull won some of the most prestigious races in America such as the Travers Stakes, Haskell Invitational, Woodward Stakes, and the Met Mile. From these 13 wins Holy Bull gathered more than $2 million in career earnings for his owner / trainer Warren “Jimmy” Croll. The Bull was named Horse of the Year in 1994 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. Spectacular BidNext on our list of great greys is none other then Spectacular Bid. Known to many as “The Bid” the horse would go on to win 26 of his 30 career starts. Only finishing out of the money once, Spectacular Bid’s career record stands at 30-26-2-1. The son of Bold Bidder was one of the last horses to have a legit shot at the Triple Crown as he won the Derby and the Preakness before coming in third in the Belmont Stakes. The Bid went on to collect more then $2.5 million of earnings by winning some of Americas premiere stakes races including the Marlboro Cup, Santa Anita Handicap, Haskell Invitational, and the Woodward Stakes. Spectacular Bid won end of the year honors from 1978 until 1980 and was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1982. Unbridled’s Song
Unbridled’s Song is another grey stallion worth mentioning. The son of Unbridled is most known for his Breeders Cup Juvenile victory in 1995 and performance as sire. Prodcing foals such as Eight Belles and Dunkirk, Unbridled's Song has consistently been turning our heads. Collecting more then $1.3 million worth of earnings, the Paraneck horse has came out victorious in various graded stakes races such as the Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial. This grey butte is currently at stud at Taylor Made Farms in Nicholasville, KY.
Lady’s SecretThe next phenom which at tops this list of great greys is none other than the Secretariat mare Lady’s Secret. Having gained more than $3 million worth of purse money, Lady’s Secret won some major races including the Breeders Cup Distaff, the Whitney Handicap, the Ruffian Handicap, and the Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap. Nicknamed ‘The Iron Lady' her victory in the Whitney was the first time since 1948 where a female out tested the boys over the famous Saratoga track. Out of 45 career starts the Secretariat mare has a standing record of 45-25-9-3. Currently, Lady’s Secret is at the number five spot on Horse Racing Nations top females list of all time. This pretty grey was also inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1992. Silver Charm
The last great grey on our list of the top regards Silver Charm. This stallion compiled earnings of more then $6.9 million in 24 career starts. The Silver Buck horse ended his racing career with a record of 24-12-7-2. Silver Charm won the first two legs of the triple crown in 1997 before finishing second to Touch Gold by a half length. Other major victories Silver Charm complied throughout his career include the Dubai World Cup, Del Mar Futurity, Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap, Breeder’s Cup Classic. The grey also received an Eclipse Award in 1997 for being the most outstanding three-year old in the country. Silver Charm was elected to the National Horse Racing Hall of Fame back in 2007.
Well there you have it, some of the greatest greys of all-time. Lets see if any of these newcomers can amount to what these champions have become.
By Josh Chicorelli