Graydon finely poised for URTAJ trophy
GRAYDON has not been the same horse since taken off lasix by Philip Feanny, scoring a ridiculously easy win at eight and a half furlongs, mid-October, before returning to carry topweight, up in class, losing in a driving finish to MY SISTER last Saturday - clearly beaten by the handicaps after disputing the lead from five furlongs out.
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.
Partnered by Robert Halledeen, the United States-bred bay colt clocked 1:47.0, a mile split of 1:39.0, beating a cheap field, but rather easily, to get off the mark, noticeably taken off anti-bleeding medication, lasix, for his maiden win.
It was last Saturday’s follow-up run, however, that saw GRAYDON’s pedigree coming to the fore, which will make him hard to beat at nine furlongs and 25 yards in Saturday’s United Racehorse Trainers Association of Jamaica (URTAJ) Trophy.
The excitement of major racemeets, especially after the big event, often causes jockeys to totally lose it, which must have been the case last Saturday when Robert Halledeen, Shane Ellis and Aaron Chatrie, astride GRAYDON, OUTRAGEOUS TAJ and EL PROFESOR, respectively, decided neither would let the other get to the top of the lane first in the day’s closing event.
NECROMANCER started opening splits of 23.1 after which the trio went kamikaze on the lead in 33.4, 46.0 and 58.3, turning for home in a seven-furlong event, a crazy pace, which MY SISTER pounced on to win by a length and a half with only GRAYDON left standing, allowing the winner 12lb.
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.
A much-improved 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.
GRAYDON has basically been handed a gift. It’s up to Halledeen how he unwraps it. Wayne DaCosta’s STORM could very well be his main threat.