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Graydar on the Radar

Graydar Ciara
Photo: Ciara Bowen

 

Approaching September 28th if the name Graydar was mentioned  the conversation that came after it revolved around the layoff he was coming off of. Would it have an impact on his performance? Was he still capable of winning at the top level? The race would be his first in six months, and only his third of the year – yet in those previous five races, he had run in the money all five times and only finished worse than first on one occasion. Trainer Todd Pletcher believed him fit enough to run the mile required for the Grade 2 Kelso Invitational Handicap. “To me he’s been training more impressively than he has at any point in his career,” the trainer said a couple days prior to the race.

Pletcher wasn’t the only one who believed his horse could take the victory; at 7-2, Graydar was the morning line favorite. By post time, he was still the favorite at 9-10. In thrilling front-running fashion, he won the race over Brazilian bred Brujo de Olleros by three-quarters of a length. Hymn Book was a neck behind in third.

The Kelso was one of six graded stakes on Belmont’s card on what they dubbed Super Saturday, with five Grade I’s and five Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events. Graydar’s victory guaranteed him a position in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita the first weekend of November.  The four year old son of Unbridled’s Song is owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables, who plan to wait to see how the horse comes out of the race before talking to Pletcher about which Breeders’ Cup race to actually target. They have been considering the Classic for him.

Under veteran Edgar Prado, the gray broke slightly slower than desired, but flew to the lead promptly. Tracked by Souper Speedy, he set a moderate pace with fractions of :23.41, :47.11, and 1:10.47 to finish the race in 1:34.08.

The Kelso marked his fourth consecutive win, and his third in graded company. On February 9, he posted a front running victory in the Grade I Donn Handicap and in his second start of the year came from off the pace to beat Mark Valeski in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. Following the New Orleans Handicap, an ankle chip was removed and the horse was given time off. He was reunited with Pletcher at Saratoga over the summer, and has done well from day one of his return according to Randy Gullat, one of the owners of Twin Creeks Racing Stables.

Graydar paid modest amounts of $3.80, $3.10, and $2.30. Brujo de Olleros paid $7.80 and $5.20, and Hymn Book paid $3.50.

The victory increased Graydar’s career earnings to $841,560, slightly over three times the amount he was purchased for at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Florida two-year olds in training sale.

While his ankle chip suggests his sire’s reputation for poor ankles is well-earned, Graydar does not seem to be any worse for wear. After the passing of Unbridled’s Song earlier this year, it would be only fitting that one of his progeny (and his arguably best son to date, at that) win whichever division of the Breeders’ Cup they’re entered for.

-          ~Ciara Bowen 

 

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Older Comments about Graydar on the Radar...

ANy horse who has two breathing down its throat IS going to have to try harder. The MATCH UP was behind the competition not the racing surface....That is about as elementary as you are going to get!
based upon WHAT????
He's a top notch horse, and something tells me that this is not his favorite track. His only loss came over this track, and he had to work much harder than normal to win here. I think he'll like the SA surface much more.
gutsy race...Looked several times late to have spit the bit, but found more... a race horse
Stunning photo, Ciara!

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