If Wayne Lukas is right, Greydar might become an extremely important horse in the coming months.
“I think this horse could be another Criminal Type,” the trainer said after Greydar ran down Lee’s Tanthem to win the $108,900 Affirmed Handicap Saturday at Hollywood Park.
This is a mouthful considering Criminal Type’s accomplishments in 1990. He beat Sunday Silence in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Easy Goer and Housebuster in the Metropolitan Mile and picked up other assorted stakes victories before he was retired because of injury. The Alydar horse is a leading candidate for Horse of the Year.
Greydar is also a Calumet Farm-owned son of Alydar, but, in some ways, he is way ahead of Criminal Type. He is a stakes-winner at 3; Criminal Type didn’t come into his own until after his fifth birthday.
In winning for the fourth time in 12 starts, the 5-2 second choice was helped most when post positions for the one-mile Affirmed were drawn Thursday.
He drew the outside in the field of seven, and that is the place to be for a one-turn mile at Hollywood Park. In his previous race, he was stuck on the rail and finished far back at the even-money favorite. In the first 25 days of the meeting, only two horses have won from the rail going a mile.
“Was it ever good to get this horse off the rail,” Luka said. “This horse likes the outside, anyhow. He’s run his best races out there. The problem from the inside was that Gary (Stevens) had to ride him every step of the way, and when they get here (Lukas gestured toward the stretch), they’re just empty. He got a perfect trip today.”
With anything less than that type of journey, Greydar wouldn’t have been able to catch Lee’s Tanthem.
A winner of six of his previous seven races at four tracks in Northern California, the 7-1 shot showed the way with some fast fractions (22 1/5, 44 2/5, 1:08 1/5 and 1:20 2/5) and it wasn’t until the final strides that he was caught. The final time was 1:33 2/5, the quickest mile at Hollywood Park this year.
“This is a nice little horse,” jockey Roberto Gonzalez said of the runner-up. “I didn’t want to be on the lead, but he moved up so nice and easy I felt we should go on with it. He gave me everything he had today.”
Stevens, who has ridden Greydar to all three of his victories in California, thinks the roan’s best days are ahead of him.
“He’s really improving,” he said. “He’s getting better and better. He’s still very green mentally, but physically he’s matured (since Del Mar). He’s widened out through the chest.
“He’s going to the gate 100% better than he used to. He’s not a good stick (whip) horse. You could tell I wasn’t getting into him down the lane because he’s the type of horse who will sulk if you hit him.
“His last race we were locked down on the rail the entire way. When I saw we drew the outside today, I liked his chances a lot.”
Defensive Play, who was making his first start on dirt, was third, three-quarters of a length behind Lee’s Tanthem. He will be more comfortable with additional distance.
“He’s too big,” jockey Jose Santos said. “The 1:33 and change was too fast for him. He was coming on at the end, but the race was too fast and we ran out of track.”
Individualist, who had upset older horses in the On Trust Handicap Nov. 22, was sixth as the 5-2 favorite and never posed a threat.
Sensational Star, who dropped into a $40,000 claiming race Saturday after winning or placing in five consecutive stakes, won as the 4-5 favorite, but he drifted out through the stretch and was fully extended to beat Avasaurus by three-quarters of a length.
There were no claims for the 6-year-old Inherent Star gelding, who has earned more than $442,000. Sensational Star’s final time of 1:21 2/5 equaled the fastest seven furlongs of the meeting.
Horse Racing Notes
Besides winning the Affirmed, Wayne Lukas and Calumet Farm also won the $75,000 added Gallant Fox Handicap at Aqueduct with Power Lunch. Lively One, the 6-5 favorite in the 1 5/8-mile race, finished ninth. . . . Laffit Pincay, who has been idle since suffering a broken right collarbone Nov. 8 in a post-race accident, will ride Advocate Training in today’s third race. It will be his only mount of the day. . . . Robbie Davis and Alex Solis were both back Saturday after being involved in a three-horse spill Friday. “I tried to avoid them, but it happened so quick, I couldn’t miss them,” said Davis, who suffered a bruised arm. “I hit (Vaunty’s) head with my right arm as I was falling and it went numb. I thought it was broken, but the X-rays showed it was OK.” . . . Dave Patton, the other rider involved in the incident that was triggered when Fields Of Belles, Patton’s mount, broke down, will take a few days off. He suffered a concussion and some scalp cuts.
The entry of General Meeting and Best Pal is the 6-5 morning line favorite for today’s $1 million Hollywood Futurity. Others set to go in the Grade I, one-mile race are Barrage, the Lukas-trained duo of Cien Fuegos and Formal Dinner, Reign Road, Olympio, Desert Royalty and Deputy Meister. Barrage, Cien Fuegos, Olympio, Best Pal and Formal Dinner were supplemented to the Futurity for $50,000 each. . . . Gary Stevens and Solis both won twice Saturday and Julio Garcia ended a 31-race losing streak when he won the first on 23-1 shot Song Of Romance. . . . Defensive Play was trainer Shug McGaughey’s first starter at Hollywood Park since Vanlandingham finished third in the 1985 Hollywood Turf Cup.