BERKELEY, CA – A close third in last year’s running, KMN Racing’s homebred Grecian Fire returned strong in his second attempt at the title, scorching up the stretch to win Monday’s $100,000 All American Stakes (G3) at Golden Gate Fields.
Breaking from post 3 under William Antongeorgi III at 4/1 odds, Grecian Fire was content to ride in mid-pack early while Many Roses posted opening fractions of :23.43, :47.48, and 1:11.65. Put to a drive in the far turn, Grecian Fire raced three-wide down the lane and rallied past Touched by Autism and new leader Gabo’s Macondo in mid-stretch. Kept to task as Builder was closing steadily behind him, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee hit the wire with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:36.49 for the mile-long event over the fast all weather main track.
“I was in a good position and they were going at a good pace,” said Antongeorgi III. “When (Touched by Autism) was tiring at the 5/16 (pole), I was able to go after Gabo’s Macondo. He is really maturing. He was kind of lazy before, but now if you put him in the right spot, he’ll give you that run.”
Though he ran out of time to catch the winner, Builder still finished 2 1/2 lengths clear in second. Touched by Autism slipped away late but had enough left to neck out Red King for third. The winner’s stablemate and 2/1 favorite Choo Choo was a 1/2-length behind Red King after failing to muster the needed kick off of the far turn, while Gabo’s Macondo weakened steadily in the stretch to sixth. More Power to Him and a spent Many Roses completed the order of finish.
Grecian Fire’s win was his second in three starts this year, having necked out a March 22 allowance victory on the all weather surface before finishing fifth on the turf in the San Francisco Mile Stakes (G3) last out. The 5-year-old gelded son of Unusual Heat improved his record to 23-5-2-4 with $286,702 earned.
“Between that last race and this one, he really picked up on his training,” Hollendorfer said. “His last work was excellent. He got a little better trip today than in his last start.”
Grecian Fire returned $10.60 to win, $5.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Builder brought back $7.80 to place and $4.80 to show, while Touched by Autism paid $5.60 to show.