From a NYRA release
Running back on just eight days rest, Green Gratto sprung a huge upset in the Grade 3, $250,000 Fall Highweight Handicap on Thanksgiving Day at Aqueduct Racetrack, wiring a field that included multiple graded stakes winners La Verdad, Salutos Amigos, and Palace.
The New Jersey-bred topped a busy weekend for Midlantic-breds in graded stakes around the country.
Under a decisive ride by Kendrick Carmouche, Green Gratto broke sharply and went straight to the front, setting blistering fractions of 22.29 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.71 for the half.
The son of Here’s Zealous maintained his advantage into the stretch with a host of pursuers taking aim. Palace, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Grade 1 Forego, mounted a bid on the rail as Salutos Amigos, the 3-2 favorite, swung to the outside to launch a wide rally, but Green Gratto remained resolute through the lane, hanging on to win by a determined head and completing the six furlongs in 1:09.95.
Green Gratto, a dark bay 5-year-old, entered the Fall Highweight off a narrow defeat in an optional claimer at the Big A on November 18.
“Last time I rode the horse and I kept him together pretty good and let him go nice and easy, but it didn’t work out,” said Carmouche. “This time, I told the trainer, ‘I’ll just let him roll. That’s the only way we’re doing to win.’ And that’s the way we won. He ran a good race. Hats off to the trainer, he did it all. I was just a good pilot.”
Gaston Grant, owner/trainer of Green Gratto, picked up the first win of his training career, and the $150,000 winner’s share of the purse bumped Green Gratto’s bankroll to $575,514. He returned $50.50 on a $2 win wager.
“It’s hard work and very emotional,” said Grant. “I’ve had this horse since he was a yearling, and he just kept trying. I knew all along he was the kind of horse to win a graded stakes race because he always showed it in the mornings. It was just a matter of putting it together in the afternoon. He’s just one tough guy and there’s no quit in him.”
Palace finished second, a half-length ahead of Fabulous Kid, who was followed by Pulling G’s and Salutos Amigos.
La Verdad, in what was potentially the last race of her illustrious career, pressed the pace but faded in the stretch to finish sixth. Captain Serious completed the order of finish.
Green Gratto, Grade 1-placed earlier in the year, was bred in New Jersey by Kaz Hill Farm. He is by Here’s Zealous and out of the winning Smokester mare Starship Smokester.
MIDLANTIC-BREDS IN GRADED STAKES
|Tom's Ready||G2 Kentucky Jockey Club||Churchill Downs||11/28/2015||8th by 13 1/4 lengths||Airoforce||1:45.48||PA||Blackstone Farm LLC||GMB Racing||Dallas Stewart||Stakes-placed juvenile is 15-1 on the morning line||8th by 13 1/4 lengths||Airoforce||1:45.48|
|Mor Spirit||G2 Kentucky Jockey Club||Churchill Downs||11/28/2015||2nd by 1 3/4 lengths||Airoforce||1:45.48||PA||Elkstone Group, LLC||Michael Lund Petersen||Bob Baffert||Morning line favorite (7-2) broke his maiden last out||2nd by 1 3/4 lengths||Airoforce||1:45.48|
|Invite||G2 Demoiselle||Aqueduct||11/28/2015||6th by 6 1/4 lengths||Lewis Bay||1:53.41||VA||Morgan's Ford Farm||Gainesway Stable||Bill Mott||Include 2yo filly broke her maiden last out, 15-1 here||6th by 6 1/4 lengths||Lewis Bay||1:53.41|
|Disco Rose||G2 Demoiselle||Aqueduct||11/28/2015||3rd by 2 3/4 lengths||Lewis Bay||1:53.41||PA||Wynoaks Farm, LLC & St. Omers Farm||Glenn Bennett||Robert E. Reid, Jr.||PA-bred filly,12-1, was fourth in G3 Tempted last out||3rd by 2 3/4 lengths||Lewis Bay||1:53.41|
|Ravenheart||G2 Remsen||Aqueduct||11/28/2015||6th by 11 lengths||Mohaymen||1:50.69||MD||Mr. & Mrs. Samuel H. Rogers Jr.||Bode Miller||Tres Abbott||30-1 shot was fourth as the favorite in the Md. Million Nursery||6th by 11 lengths||Mohaymen||1:50.69|
|One Go All Go||G3 Commonwealth Turf||Churchill Downs||11/27/2015||9th by 24 lengths||Almasty||1:45.41||VA||Albert P. Coppola||Preston Stables LLC and Prestonwood Racing LLC||Pavel Matejka||First-ever Virginia-bred winner of the former Virginia Derby is 6-1||9th by 24 lengths||Almasty||1:45.41|
|Granny's Kitten||G3 Commonwealth Turf||Churchill Downs||11/27/2015||4th by 8 3/4 lengths||Almasty||1:45.41||PA||Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey||Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey||Michael Maker||Kitten's Joy colt (6-1) has been stakes-placed twice||4th by 8 3/4 lengths||Almasty||1:45.41|
|Saham||G3 Commonwealth Turf||Churchill Downs||11/27/2015||2nd by 4 1/4 lengths||Almasty||1:45.41||PA||Everest Stables Inc.||Sultan Bin Mishal Stables||Brendan P. Walsh||G3-winning 3yo is the 4-1 favorite on the morning line||2nd by 4 1/4 lengths||Almasty||1:45.41|
|Spelling Again||G3 Go for Wand||Aqueduct||11/27/2015||3rd by 3 1/4||Taris||1:36.10||PA||George Strawbridge||Seajay Racing LLC||Brad H. Cox||G2 winner is 5-1 on the morning line||3rd by 3 1/4||Taris||1:36.10|
|Kiss to Remember||G3 Go for Wand||Aqueduct||11/27/2015||4th by 6 3/4||Taris||1:36.10||MD||Big Brown Syndicate & Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes||Miller Racing LLC||Martin Wolfson||G1-placed runner (8-1) was 9th in Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last out||4th by 6 3/4||Taris||1:36.10|
|Green Gratto||G3 Fall Highweight H.||Aqueduct||11/26/2015||1st by a head||Green Gratto||1:09.95||NJ||Kaz Hill Farm||Gaston Grant and Anthony Grant||Gaston Grant||Longshot (12-1) seeks first stakes win||1st by a head||Green Gratto||1:09.95|