There will be an exciting name on the Gulfstream Park entries for Sunday when they come out this afternoon. Flashy Gray, one of the most impressive maiden winners at Churchill Downs last fall, will make her three-year-old debut in the day’s 4th race. Not only will it be the first race since breaking her maiden by 10 ¼ lengths on November 8, but it will also be Flashy Gray’s first appearance for her new connections.
An attractive roan daughter of the grade one winning sire, Flashy Bull, Flashy Gray brought $775,000 at the Keeneland November sale as part of the Dolphus C. Morrison dispersal. The winning bidder that night was one of the most successful partnership groups in racing, West Point Thoroughbreds. After buying the filly, they promptly turned over her training duties to Hall of Fame conditioner, Bill Mott.
Not coincidentally, West Point owned and raced her sire, who collected over $800,000 in 19 career races. I had the chance to talk with Erin Finley, West Point's director of communications, about the exciting addition to the stable, and the first thing I asked was about the large investment made in the talented filly who has yet to race against winners.
“We keep a close eye on all of Flashy Bull's progeny and actually watched this filly's first race at Keeneland when she was was second. When she came back and won so impressively at Churchill and then we heard she was entered in in the sale, we had to go over and take a look,” said Finley.
That first race at Keeneland was also a strong performance as she just missed, beaten only a head by Silver Strike, in a 6 ½-furlong race on October 5.
“She's a beautiful filly and walked around the sales grounds like she owned the place -- that really struck us. We talked to some of our partners and went in and took a swing at her. She sold out in just days -- which did not surprise me considering how impressive she was.”
While the Golden Rod Stakes was immediately considered for their new purchase, it was decided to give her some time off with her new trainer. Asked what they expected to see in her first race carrying the familiar gold and black silks of West Point, Finley made it clear that Sunday’s race is just a step in the direction of bigger and better things.
“We fully expect to use this race as a prep for a stake - which stake we don't know for sure yet. We are keeping all options open. Bill Mott gave her some time to recharge her batteries after the sale and has gotten five strong works into her at Payson Park.”
As for future plans, Finley told me that the sky is the limit, and that all doors are open to the talented filly, including a run for the lilies. It didn’t hurt that her former owner compared Flashy Gray favorably to his former champion, Rachel Alexandra, at the same stage in their careers.
“The Kentucky Oaks is indeed the goal with this filly. In the spirit of Rachel Alexandra, we also nominated her to the Triple Crown just in case. Dolphus Morrison came up to me after we bought her and made quite a few comparisons to Rachel. We won't be complaining if she wins the Preakness that's for sure.”
It’s interesting to note that while the Kentucky Oaks is the main goal for Flashy Gray, she is one of only seven fillies to be on the early nomination list for the Triple Crown. If her eye-catching maiden win, and the $775,000 purchase price was not enough, the nomination should be further proof of the very big intentions for Flashy Gray.
[Check out a video of Flashy Gray's maiden race at the West Point Thoroughbreds' website by clicking here]