Great Wide Open a 'different horse' after break from busy season

Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds
December 26, 2018 07:28pm
Great Wide Open_Buddy Diliberto 2018_615x400
Photo: Hodges Photography

After adding “stakes winner” to his resume with a victory in Saturday’s Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes, Great Wide Open (IRE) will go for back-to-back stakes wins in next month’s $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes on Jan. 19.


Trained by Conor Murphy, the 6-year-old son of Starspangledbanner (AUS) was sent straight to the lead under current Fair Grounds leading rider James Graham, never looked back and took the Buddy Diliberto Memorial in wire-to-wire fashion by 4½ lengths.


“We were delighted with the win,” Murphy said. “He put up a good performance and seemed to come out of it very well. Everything went well. I’d imagine we’d come back for the Colonel E.R. Bradley.”


Great Wide Open made his 12th start in 2018 when taking Saturday’s stakes event for owners M and J Thoroughbreds and Riverside Bloodstock. It was also was his third victory over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. A winner of an allowance optional claiming event at the beginning of the meet, he also scored over the Fair Grounds lawn back in March of this year.


“He did run 12 times this year, he did get a break and when he disappointed in Canterbury back in June, we gave him a break for forty days. I think since he’s come back from that break he’s been a different horse. He’s always been a good horse but his performance Saturday surprised me even.”


Since his lack luster eighth-place finish in Canterbury Park’s Mystic Lake Mile, Great Wide Open has never finished worse than second in his past four starts, which include runner-up efforts in the Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs and the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland back in October. 


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