04/10/2017 1:46PM

Jersey-breds rock over weekend

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Debra A. Roma
Green Gratto (right) wins the Carter Handicap for his first Grade 1 victory.

Two New Jersey-breds won major stakes Saturday in their neighboring state of New York, with Green Gratto winning the Grade 1 Carter Handicap and Irish War Cry punching his ticket to the Kentucky Derby in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial.

Green Gratto, a multiple graded stakes winner who scored his first Grade 1 win in the Carter, is by Here’s Zealous, who most recently was advertised publicly as standing in New York. Irish War Cry is by Kentucky sire Curlin.

The emergence of these two state standouts in the same year is more remarkable because, mirroring a nationwide trend, New Jersey’s foal crop has shrunk in recent years. According to The Jockey Club’s state fact book, 414 registered foals in the state were born in 1997. By 2010, the year Green Gratto was foaled, the crop was 237. In 2014, the year Irish War Cry was foaled, 118 registered foals were born in the state, representing 0.5 percent of the nation’s foal crop.

Two New Jersey-breds have won the Kentucky Derby: the filly Regret in 1915 and Cavalcade in 1934. The state is responsible for four Preakness winners and seven Belmont winners, including Preakness-Belmont winner Belmar in 1895. More recent standouts bred in New Jersey include Eclipse Award champion Open Mind, 1989 English 1000 Guineas winner Musical Bliss, and Grade 1 winners Classy Mirage, Jersey Girl, Missy’s Mirage, Sewickley, and Zoffany.