HOT SPRINGS, AR – Cutting back in distance did the trick for Dwight Pruett’s Gray Attempt, who put forth a gargantuan performance en route to wiring Saturday’s Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking alertly from post 5 under Jon Court as the 8/5 favorite, Gray Attempt quickly established command and posted unpressured opening fractions of :22.63 and :45.94. Hitting the top of the stretch with no challenger in sight, Gray Attempt hit high gear and took off with ease. The Jinks Fires trainee crossed with a 3 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:09.72 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“He relaxed and I felt like he was ready to take two (turns),” Court said. “I know he has some strong early speed, but we needed something to finish with, so I was happy with the finish.”
A three-way tussle for second went to Hidden Ruler by a nose over Six Shooter, with Nitrous just another 1/2-length behind them. Some 5 lengths back came Oncewewerebrothers and Keesawah to complete the order of finish.
Gray Attempt’s win was his fourth in last five starts, including the Smarty Jones Stakes two back, and was a nice return to form after he finished a disappointing 11th most recently in the Southwest Stakes (G3). The 3-year-old son of Graydar now sports a record of 6-4-0-0 with $261,366 earned.
“He did everything we thought he could do today, and a little more,” Fires said. “I was just hoping we didn’t lose as much training after (the Southwest) that he might come up a little empty on us then. But he didn’t. The Arkansas Derby (G1) is next. We think he’ll go farther than this. Time will tell.”
Gray Attempt returned $5.20 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.80 to show. Hidden Ruler brought back $7.40 to place and $4.60 to show, while Six Shooter paid $3.20 to show.