Graydon's time to shine
GRAYDON ran a great race last Saturday, beaten by the handicaps, giving 12lb to the winner, MY SISTER, after getting involved in breakneck splits down the backstretch, and should relish the easier pace of this afternoon's United Racehorse Trainers' Association of Jamaica Trophy at nine furlongs and 25 yards.
Taken off lasix by Philip Feanny for his previous race, GRAYDON scored a ridiculously easy win at eight and a half furlongs, mid-October, before returning with topweight, up in class, last Saturday.
The United States-bred colt never got a breather with the big weight, used up in torrid splits as his rider, Robert Halledeen, along with Shane Ellis and Aaron Chatrie, astride OUTRAGEOUS TAJ and EL PROFESOR, respectively, decided neither would let the other get to the top of the lane first.
NECROMANCER started the salvo opening splits of 23.1 after which GRAYDON, OUTRAGEOUS TAJ and EL PROFESOR went crazy on the lead in 33.4, 46.0 and 58.3 in the seven-furlong event.
MY SISTER, who was held off the pace, started her move and ran on past GRAYDON in mid-track to win by a length and a half. Neither OUTRAGEOUS TAJ nor EL PROFESOR could answer the six-furlong split of 1:11.3 as both weakened out of contention, leaving GRAYDON to chase home MY SISTER.
GRAYDON returns at the same level with the exact weight, 122lb, but the quality of the field, due to the longer distance, has gone south, leaving Feanny's runner as the controlling speed against a suspect bunch of eight runners, six of whom are fillies, the top two being AZARIA and ANNA LISA, both void of pace.
Sired by the now-retired Sweet Return, a top turf miler, who won the Grade One Hollywood Derby in 2003 and placed eighth in the Arlington Million the following year, it took GRAYDON took eight starts, six of them sprint events, before springing to life last month when taken off anti-bleeding medication lasix.
Gary Subratie's ANNA LISA will have her backers but her lack of speed makes her suspect in any race that the pace doesn't come back to her in the stretch run. She boasts a victory over GRAYDON, at six and a half furlongs in August, beating him by three and three quarters lengths, sitting level at the scale.
ANNA LISA is in receipt of 21lb from GRAYDON, which, strictly by handicapping rule of thumb, should give the American no chance against her. However, ANNA LISA's August victory came before Feanny had tightened the screws. Note how GRAYDON had her two lengths behind at the exact handicaps last Saturday.