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Grassy Rolls Home in Bowling Green

Grassy closed fastest of all on the outside Saturday to win the 53rd running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap, the opening-day feature of Belmont Park's 37-day fall meet.

Running on the outside, not far off Sal the Barber's slow fractions of 25.57, 51.65 and 1:18.07, the 5-year-old gray son of El Prado moved up three-wide on the turn and then outsprinted Center Divider and Bold Hawk to the wire to post a half-length victory.

Grassy's time for the 1 3/8 miles over a turf course rated "good" was 2:19.69 as he picked up his first victory of the year in five starts.

"We all just kind of went around there and picked the pace up and after we turned for home, we started sprinting," said winning jockey Garrett Gomez. "Everybody sat chilly, everybody just stayed along where they were at, everyone rode their horse like they were on the best horse, and my horse came home better than anybody."

Sent off as the 9-5 second choice by the crowd of 8,110, Grassy returned $5.60 for a $2 win bet and earned $90,000 for Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm. Trained by Christophe Clement, Grassy is now 5-3-2 from 15 lifetime starts, including a victory in last year's Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.

This year, Grassy finished fourth in an allowance at Keeneland in April, and then finished second in both the Three Coins Up on the turf at Belmont Park and the Grade 3 Spingspiel at Woodbine. In his most recent start prior to the Bowling Green, he was fourth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine on August 21.

Clement said the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park on October 1 was among the possibilities for the winner's next start. Last year, Grassy finished third behind stablemate Winchester in the 1 ½-mile Turf Classic just prior to his Red Smith win.

"I'm very happy with Grassy because [owner] Mr. Hancock [of Claiborne Farm] has been very patient and it is wonderful when owners give you that time and it works out," said Clement. "He was very impressive today and I hope we can go on to better things."

Bold Hawk finished third, a neck behind Center Divider, who was followed in turn by favored Sanagas, Kindergarten Kid, Colonialism, and Sal the Barber.

 

 

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