Graydar after winning the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Bunny Hinzman
This year’s loss of Unbridled’s Song was felt all through the Thoroughbred industry, and especially in the auction marketplace. Following the death of the elite sire, Taylor Made Stallions purchased interest in Graydar in August, adding him to the ranks of their 2014 roster.
“It’s great that we’ve got arguably Unbridled’s Song’s most brilliant son coming in right on the heels of us losing him,” Mark Taylor, vice president of sales at Taylor Made Sales Agency, commented on this year’s Grade 2 Kelso Handicap victor, Graydar.
Graydar brings a great inheritance to the table for Taylor Made.
“We’re hoping that he can help us carry on the legacy,” Mark Taylor said.
Graydar is out of Sweetest Smile, by Dehere, who also produced multiple graded stakes-placed winners Star of David and Union Course. The names in his lineage give him vital tools to handle various distances. While the heavy Mr. Prospector influence suggests sprinting ability, the presence of Secretariat and Northern Dancer imply distance. Furthermore, his dam’s broodmare sire is the Belmont Stakes-winning Conquistador Cielo, by Mr. Prospector, increasing the emphasis on longer distances in his deeply stratified pedigree.
But there is work to be done before the handsome 4-year-old heads off to the breeding shed. The Todd Pletcher trainee was cross-entered in two Breeders’ Cup races: the Classic and the Dirt Mile. Reports Saturday indicate that Pletcher and owner Twin Creeks Racing Stables opted for the Dirt Mile, in which he should be among the favorites.
In his entire career, Graydar has won all but one start. His lone defeat was in his second outing last year: an allowance at Belmont Park in which he finished third. The son of Unbridled’s Song has formed an impressive 2013 résumé despite an interrupted campaign.
His season debut came in early February in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. He led through the early fractions and drew off to win by three lengths over a lineup that included Bourbon Courage and Take Charge Indy.
At the end of March, he traveled to Fair Grounds for the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. Graydar won the 1 1/8-mile event with a 1 ¾-length advantage over a solid field that included Grade 2 winners Mark Valeski, Bourbon Courage and Macho Macho as well as 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Flat Out.
Graydar was sidelined with an ankle chip in April and consequently missed the summer racing action. He returned at Belmont Park at the end of September as part of a formidable seven-horse field for the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap. The track’s dirt surface came up as fast for the one-mile race and Edgar Prado got back aboard the returning gray colt.
In the Kelso, Graydar quickly established himself as the leader at the start. He led the field through fractions of :23.41 for the opening quarter-mile, :47.11 for the half-mile, and 1:10.47 for three-quarters of a mile. Graydar’s six opponents tried to overpower him in the stretch run, but could not get past his heels. As the overall heavyweight, he won by three-quarters of a length over Brujo de Olleros, who carried five pounds less. Graydar’s final time for his racetrack return was 1:34.08.
GRAYDAR STRETCHES OUT TO WIN 2013 KELSO HANDICAP
Graydar wins the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap. Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire