Dwight Pruett's Gray Attempt took the lead at the start and never relinquished it in Friday's $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, earning his first 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in the process. The 3-year-old son of Graydar crossed the wire a neck ahead of Springboard Mile winner Long Range Toddy, completing a mile over Oaklawn Park's fast main track in 1:36.94. Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, the $6.40 winner is conditioned by William “Jinks” Fires.
“He left there like we thought he would,” Fires said. “I knew with Steve (Asmussen) having three in there, he'd send at least one of them. Our horse just had enough speed to overcome it. We're staying right here and if everything goes well, we'll go in the Southwest.”
Gray Attempt was unpressed through early fractions of :23.12 and :46.86, and was challenged by eventual third-place finisher Boldor at the far turn. Long Range Toddy closed up the rail, but the short run to the first finish line was to the advantage of Gray Attempt as he hit the wire a neck in front. Long Range Toddy had to settle for second, while Boldor was just another neck back in third on the outside. Six Shooter checked in third, while favorite Bankit showed little interest to finish sixth.
“Obviously, I'm disappointed as heck in Bankit, but Long Range Toddy and Boldor both ran solid,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “Kind of a merry-go round race. They went in :46 and change fractions. That's pretty solid, but nobody changed any positions. First day of the meet, things will change. We'll see what happens.”
Bred in Kentucky by Wynnstay LLC, Donna Moore, and Jim Richardson, Gray Attempt was a $50,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton July Sale. He was fourth on debut in November at Churchill Downs, but broke his maiden near the end of the meet. Sent down to the Fair Grounds, Gray Attempt captured the six-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes with the same front-running style. overall, the colt has won three of his four starts to earn $184,700.
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