Twin Creek’s Racing Stable LLC’s
Graydar followed up his
impressive performance in the Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park
with another winning effort against some of the nation’s top older
horses in Saturday’s $400,000 New Orleans Handicap
New Orleans ’Cap, for 4-year-olds and up, drew a contentious field of graded stakes winners. Graydar faced
Flat Out, winner of $1.6 million, including the prestigious Grade I Jockey Gold Cup last August at
Saratoga, as well as
Mark Valeski, who captured the $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap (GIII) at Fair Grounds on February 23.
Breaking from the far outside, Graydar tracked longshot
and Mark Valeski through opening splits of :23.70 and :47.68. They remained in tandem until
Edgar Prado called on the
4-year-old Unbridled’s Song colt and it became a compelling stretch
drive between Graydar and Mark Valeski, with Graydar having one final
kick. He crossed the wire of the nine-furlong event
in 1:49.16, winning by 1 ¾ lengths.
Steve Davidson and NFL Hall of Famer
Terry Bradshaw of Louisiana-based
Twin Creeks Racing Stable praised the gritty effort of their colt, conditioned by Eclipse Award winner
did expect a big effort out of him,” said Davidson. “It was kind of
Plan B. We thought we would be on the lead but coming off
of the pace and getting the wide trip. I was real proud the way he dug
in there and battled against a really good field, we thought.”
“Well, Steve is the one that gets nervous,” added Bradshaw. “Walking through the tunnel, he says ‘I really get nervous with this
thing.’ And I said, ‘You know what, it’s so much fun to see these animals run. It’s like that is the reward itself.’”
Mark Valeski, the Brereton C. Jones
homebred, has run his best races at Fair Grounds and was runner-up on this day last year in the 99th Louisiana Derby. Trained by Larry Jones, the 4-year-old Proud Citizen colt was ridden by
James Graham, who took over with regular rider
Rosie Napravnik at
Gulfstream Park to ride the Florida Derby.
“He tries,” said Jones. “It might be his spot at Fair Grounds. It always seems like there is always one that can get to him.
“That horse that beat him is a nice horse. He
just won the best prep that had been run in
this year and this one might’ve been better than that. This was a big
effort. We wanted to win but it wasn’t for lack of try on our horse’s
Stable & Wayne Lynn’s
Bourbon Courage was bottled up in the early stages of the race, but mounted his bid late under
Javier Castellano, finishing third by a half-length.
“We were worried of that with the inside post,” said trainer
Kellyn Gorder. “He still ran well and we’ll live to run another day.”
Graydar returned mutuels of $4.60, $3 and $2.40 and earned $240,000 for his second graded stakes win of the year.
Macho Macho completed the superfecta, followed by
Flat Out, Majestic Harbor,
Cool Street and Dreaming Blue.