Greengrassofyoming, a six-year-old gelding who was claimed in his last start for $62,500, sprung a major upset while winning a blanket finish in the Gr. III $100,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap at Arlington Park.
Greengrassofyoming at 9-1, was sent away cleanly from post #1 and was content to let the early pacesetter, Chip Leader, cruise out of post #7 and watch as Chip Leader proceeded to open up seven lengths on the field as they passed the finish line the first time. Greengrassofyoming sat in fourth about ten lengths off the lead. The favorite, The Pizza Man was another three lengths back in sixth. As they straightened away into the backstretch, Chip Leader maintained his lead of seven lengths through six furlongs in 1:12.67. O’Prado Ole, Pumpkin Rumble, Bullard’s Alley, Greengrassofyoming, and The Pizza Man were all within a couple of lengths of each other as they slowly started to reel in Chip Leader.
By the time the race leader hit the far turn, the field had caught up. The first to take over was O’Prado Ole, but right on his outside was Greengrassofyoming and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who took over turning for home. They were never headed, but had to hold off moves from three other horses on the inside and outside as O’Prado Ole gamely held second at the rail and Pumpkin Rumble and The Pizza Man closed on the outside for third and fourth. The margin at the finish? A nose for first, a nose for second, and a nose for third. It was six and a half back to the fifth place horse Bullards Alley.
Greengrassofyoming is owned by Michael M. Hui and trained by Mike Maker. Maker claimed Greengrassofyoming for $62,500 on June 26 at Churchill Downs, in the gelding’s last start. This was the first graded stakes win for the son of Quest and after the race an elated Mike Maker commented on his recent claim saying, “I’ve been 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”.
As for the favorite, the Pizza Man, he ran on in the stretch but seemed to have lost a little steam near the wire. This was his second race off of a layoff, and third race in 2016 and jockey Robby Albarado talked about that after the race saying “Obviously he likes to run around horses so I had to run around some horses on the turn. He got my hands nice. It was his third start of the year and he has shown progression every time, so that should set him up for the Million”.
Greengrassofyoming paid 20.60, 9.00, and 12.80. O’Prado Ole paid 5.20 and 5.40 for the place, and Pumpkin Rumble paid 16.40 for the show. The final time of the mile and a half race was 2:27.74. Greengrassofyoming now sports a record of 36-8-8-5 and has now earned $383,526.
Source: Horse Racing Nation, Chip Gehrke