Grateful Bred looks to bounce back in Laurel Dash

Gordon Keys’ Maryland homebred Grateful Bred was a favored, front-running winner of the 5 ½-furlong Maryland Million Turf Sprint last fall to cap his 5-year-old season.

But the Great Notion gelding has yet to find the winner’s circle this year. He’s raced five times with four seconds, beaten a length or less in each of his runner-up efforts. All five of his outings this season have come in stakes company.

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“The poor guy, he just runs his eyeballs out. He just runs too well to get beat, but we’ve had our big days, too, and hopefully there’s more to come,” trainer Madison Meyers said. “Honestly, just for the horse’s sake I feel bad for him. He needs to get it done. Just as hard as he runs, every single time he shows up, he deserves one.”

Grateful Bred ran fifth in last year’s Laurel Dash, beaten a length by Xy Speed. He came up a length short of defending his 2021 Meadow Stable victory, finishing second Sept. 7 at Colonial Downs, and lost a head bob at the wire to Front Run the Fed in Colonial’s Van Clief July 18.

“I could try to come up with excuses here or there but I think he’s run his race every single time. We’ve just knocked heads with some really tough horses this year,” Meyers said. “I was talking to Mr. Keys the other day and I was like, ‘There’s no easy spots now. There’s no hiding places. These are the kinds of horses you’re up against.’”

Grateful Bred has done well at Pimlico, winning twice in three tries. He was fourth, beaten less than four lengths by Carotari, in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint, also his last time going five furlongs.

“He does seem to like Pimlico and I think he’s still got the speed to go five, so we’ll take a swing. This will be another tough spot but we might as well try. Turf season’s only so long and he does seem to love Pimlico, so it’s kind of cool to get another opportunity to run there this year,” Meyers said. “We had considered just training him from the Meadow Stable to the Maryland Million and he was just doing so well coming out of that race that we just decided to take a swing at the Dash again.”

Sheldon Russell gets the riding assignment from Post 2. Grateful Bred is 7-2 on the morning line and the second choice in the field of eight.

The morning line favorite is Carotari (5-2). The Brian Lynch trainee won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on the Preakness undercard for his third consecutive victory but has finished seventh in two subsequent outings, most recently in the Grade 3 Troy Stakes at Saratoga.

  • Jevian Toledo won the Meadow Stable Stakes aboard Grateful Bred. Photo by Nick Hahn.
  • Grateful Bred broke his maiden at Laurel Park. Photo Jim McCue.