Michael Hui’s Greengrassofyoming was the nose winner of a four-way blanket finish in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes Saturday at Arlington Park. The 6-year-old son of Quest covered 12 furlongs in 2:27.74 over the firm turf for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, with fan-favorite The Pizza Man finishing fourth by less than a head overall.
“I’ve been following this horse for the past couple of years and we were fortunate enough to get him last time with this race in mind,” said Maker.
Claimed last out by Maker, Greengrassofyoming won an allowance optional claimer for $ 62,500 at Churchill Downs by 1 1/2 lengths. Today, the horse sat fifth far off the suicidal pace of Chip Leader in the early going. Chip Leader set a steady first quarter mile of :25.29, then appeared to run off under jockey Jose Valdivia, scooting to fractions of :48.04 and 1:12.67 while as many as 10 lengths in front of O’Prado Ole and Bullards Alley. The Pizza Man was second to last.
Approaching the stretch for the second and final time, O’Prado Ole held a slight advantage over Greengrassofyoming, but the latter colt determinedly drew away to a slight advantage. The Pizza Man was making a big run from the back of the pack alongside Pumpkin Rumble, and along with O’Prado Ole, all three came back on Greengrassofyoming for a four-way photo at the wire. Officially, Greengrassofyoming was declared the winner by a nose over O’Prado Ole, with another nose back to Pumpkin Rumble, and another nose to The Pizza Man.
“I had a great trip from the one-hole,” said Bridgmohan. “I got the three-eighths and found him some room to run. All the credit belongs to Mike and his crew. I just showed up to ride him.”
Bred in Kentucky by Stone Farm, Greengrassofyoming was a $ 3,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale. The gelding has compiled an overall record of 8-8-5 from 36 starts, and the Stars and Stripes is his first graded victory. He boasts overall earnings of over $ 380,000.
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