Wednesday, November 02, 2011


GRASSY SEEKS REPEAT IN BIG A’S RED SMITH HANDICAP


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – While stablemates Gio Ponti and Winchester have been grabbing most of the headlines, Claiborne Farms and Adele Dilschneider’s Grassy hasn’t exactly been quiet.

One year ago, the gray son of El Prado notched his first graded stakes victory with a late charge to take the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack. Saturday, after six subsequent starts that included a third, two seconds and a win in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park, Grassy is back to defend his title in the 52nd running of the Red Smith.


The 1 3/8-mile turf race will be run as race 6 on an eight-race live card at the Big A, which also will feature the full simulcast of Day 2 of the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. First race post time is 12:20 p.m.

“He’s doing well,” said trainer Christophe Clement of Grassy, who is scheduled to be sold in the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale later this month. “Since he is being sold, it would be great if he could do well in this race. I’ve been lucky to train him for Mrs. Dilschneider and Mr. [Seth] Hancock. He’s a fun horse, and he’s going to be a fun horse for someone.”

Now 5, Grassy heads into the Red Smith off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, a race in which he also finished third last year. Overall, he is 5-3-3 from 16 starts with earnings of $465,564.

“He looks well and he has been training well,” said Clement, adding with a smile: “He’s a very nice horse. Maybe whoever buys him will keep me as a trainer.”

Joe Bravo will ride Grassy, the 119-pound highweight and second choice on the morning line at 9-5, from the outside post position 7.

Boisterous, who earlier this year rapidly moved up from an allowance win to an overnight stakes victory to back-to-back starts in Grade 1 company, will be seeking his second straight stakes score, having found the winner’s circle again after a five-month absence in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park on October 15.

“Getting back in the winner’s circle I think boosted his confidence,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey of Boisterous. “It’s a little quick back, but he’s doing really, really well and he had a nice breeze the other day [4f, 51.74 on October 29].”

With regular jockey John Velazquez out of town for the Breeders’ Cup, Alan Garcia has the call aboard the 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt, the 8-5 morning-line favorite from post position 6.

Bold Hawk, now 7, is seeking his first victory since a return to racing in 2010 following a three-year absence. Most recently, the gelding finished third in the Bowling Green, having been scratched from the Grade 3 Sycamore at Keeneland after it came off the turf.

“He was third in the Red Smith a year ago, beaten a length,” said trainer Jimmy Toner. “He’s doing well after the side trip to Keeneland, and the distance should suit him. He’s been knocking at the door, and we hope it will open.”

At 5-1 on the morning line, Bold Hawk will be making his first start for his new owners, Ninety North Racing Stable. Jose Espinoza will ride from the rail.

Rounding out the field are Harrods Creek, a recent allowance winner at Keeneland; Exclusive Strike, stepping into graded stakes company off a three-race win streak; Perfect Footprint, fourth in the Third Martini overnight stakes at Belmont last time out, and Radical Sabbatical, third in the Third Martini.


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