09/30/2013 12:22PM

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile: Graydar keeping options open

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Tom Keyser
Graydar wins Saturday’s Kelso Invitational at Belmont Park.

It was a case of win some lose some for Todd Pletcher over the weekend, as Graydar returned from six months on the sidelines to win Saturday’s Kelso Invitational at Belmont Park, while the announcement of Shanghai Bobby’s retirement came the very next day.

Graydar, idle since taking the New Orleans Handicap in late March due to the removal of an ankle chip, got clear through moderate early fractions and held stubbornly to win the one-mile Kelso in a sharp 1:34.08, earning a 103 Beyer Speed Figure. The gray colt by Unbridled’s Song earned $240,000 and a fees-paid berth to the Dirt Mile, but Pletcher left the door open to a shot at the Classic.

“We’re going to the Breeders’ Cup, but I don’t know that we’ve decided which race just yet,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of time to sort it out. I think we got, conditioning-wise, enough so that if he trains accordingly, he might be able to” get the Classic distance.

Meanwhile, it was discovered that Shanghai Bobby came out of his comeback win in the Aljamin overnight stakes on Sept. 20 with an injured suspensory ligament, and he was retired. He will become the fourth straight 2-year-old champion to stand at Ashford Stud, joining Lookin At Lucky, Uncle Mo, and Hansen.

The Pletcher-trained Cross Traffic, who lost all chance stumbling badly at the start of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, also could go either the Dirt Mile or Classic route.

[BREEDERS’ CUP 2013: See DRF’s top contenders]

Brujo de Olleros, a South American import plucked out of Uruguay last year by Team Valor International, ran himself into the Dirt Mile discussion with a rallying second in the slow-paced Kelso that earned a 102 Beyer.

“It looked like he had a shot turning for home,” trainer Rick Mettee said. “I was a little worried when they put the 23 [seconds] up there . . . I think we have to be really happy with the  result.”

In the wake of Mucho Macho Man’s first Grade 1 win in the Awesome Again, a number of horses in his wake seem like candidates to turn back in distance, including, but not limited to, Golden Ticket, Liaison, Paynter, and Soi Phet.