Updated on 10/27/2013 11:21PM

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile: Graydar switches races, not quite ready for Classic

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Tom Keyser
Having had only one race following a long layoff, Kelso winner Graydar will run in the BC Dirt Mile rather than the Classic.

ELMONT, N.Y. – There has been a change of plans for Graydar, and there most likely will be a change in the way handicappers perceive his chances in the Breeders’ Cup. Graydar will run in the $1 million Dirt Mile on Friday at Santa Anita and not in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, as originally planned, trainer Todd Pletcher said Saturday.

Graydar, who has won 5 of 6 races, including the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in February, is 3 for 4 in races run at one mile. He has only had one race since winning the Fair Grounds Handicap on March 30. Graydar, who had surgery to remove an ankle chip shortly after that race, won the Grade 2 Kelso Invitational, a Win and You’re In race for the Dirt Mile, at Belmont on Sept. 28.

Though Pletcher and Randy Gullatt, the manager of Twin Creeks Racing Stables, had hoped to use that race as a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pletcher didn’t feel that the Kelso and Graydar’s subsequent workouts were enough to have him ready to run 1 1/4 miles in the Classic. Graydar has never raced beyond 1 1/8 miles.

“He’s a horse that doesn’t put a whole lot into his works,” Pletcher said. “We just felt like with one prep race since March, going a mile and a quarter wasn’t going to work out. We needed another race to get to where we wanted to be.”

Graydar worked Saturday over the Belmont training track, going four furlongs in 49.60 seconds in company with Vitoria Olimpica, who finished a neck in front of Graydar at the wire and galloped out better than Graydar.

Pletcher now has two major players in the Dirt Mile, as he already was planning to run the multiple Grade 1-winning 3-year-old Verrazano in the race.

“Either race that Graydar went in, we were going to have to run against a formidable stable companion,” said Pletcher, who has Palace Malice to run in the Classic. “I think the race already has a bit of pace to it. I think both horses are probably going to be looking for a similar trip. Neither are horses that have to have the lead; both are horses that have some natural speed and [will be] somewhat forwardly placed.”

On Saturday, Verrazano worked four furlongs in 49.70 seconds in company with All Tied Up over the Belmont training track.

The decision to run Graydar in the Dirt Mile is a blow to the connections of Holy Lute, Easter Gift, and Laugh Track, horses that remain on the preference list. The field is limited to 12 runners and two also-eligibles.

Easter Gift, second on the preference list, worked five furlongs in 1:01.00 in company with the Classic-bound Last Gunfighter. Though Easter Gift will be entered Monday, if it doesn’t look as though he’ll make the field, he will not be shipped Tuesday, as scheduled, his connections said. Alternative spots for Easter Gift would include the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct or the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, both in late November.

Wendy Parrish More than 1 year ago
I have one word...Arcangue
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Excellent decision, Mr.Pletcher. The horse comes first. Graydar is not a long distance horse, and the Dirt Mile, is perfect for him.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Alien thinks he knows more about training horses than one of the best in the buisiness. Priceless !
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Feel sorry for points off bench.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Wow say anything about pletcher and uncle mo 2011 classic you will not make it on air. Post been erase five times now. The moderator must be TAP fan
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Pletcher had nightmares about his last kelso winner to run in classic Uncle Mo. Grade 2 mile is not a classic prep TAP.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta worked a bullet in 46 2/5 today at Belmont. Wise Dan had a strong gallop going 11 and change in each of his last eighths. Give me ten bucks G.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
To G in his response to AzLimitPoker. Your argument is absurd. Many of us once paid over $100 a month for daily racing forms. We are handicappers. Speaking for myself and for many others, we read the articles on line at our leisure and can also interact with other racing fans. Why would I spend that kind of money on forms with the articles, then come on here and have to pay more to read them. Insanity. And the 8.33 a month is based on 99.95 paid up front for a year, even more insanity, otherwise it's 10 bucks a month. Not about the money, about being hit twice for the same thing. Forms are overpriced and now crap. On line PP's are not only way overpriced but then still pay more? It's principle, so let me again make this clear, not until the rings of Saturn fit around my little pinky will I pay for articles or for a racing form again. All this information they want paid for is readily available at Bloodhorse, Paulick, and Brisnet.
G More than 1 year ago
No, my argument is not absurd. Comparing drf with espn is absurd, learn to read. I get all of my handicapping materials free from Twinspires and Brisnet, also from DRF. All because I wager through Twinspires and Xpressbet. But hey, I hear you. I used to spend thousands on the racing form. I just hate that too many comments are just outright whinning and complaing about things that have nothing to do with the article, SO why don't YOU and the rest of you ABSURD whiners get a LIFE!!
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
As I've said before, always love the capitalization and exclamation points so I can envision you stamping your feet and screaming while you type and so you can be sure we know what points YOU WANT to STRESS!!!!
AzLimitPoker More than 1 year ago
Hard to tell a moron like G the facts.... We'll said Horse Cents!
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Ditto, HC..
russell More than 1 year ago
The DRF is getting worse and worse.The DRF+ is a joke. Get rid is this nonsense.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Their goes Will Take Charge"s chances. may be a walk in the park for GoD now
not impressed More than 1 year ago
I don't think so...Fort Larned needs the lead and so does GOD. And Moreno just fired a bullet work so he's going to be on his toes out of the gate. Still plenty of speed for WTC.