Bowling Green Recap
Grassy edges clear in Bowling Green
Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm's homebred GRASSY (El Prado [Ire]) waited patiently for a cue from jockey Garrett Gomez while chasing a tepid pace Saturday in the $150,000 Bowling Green H. (G2), the opening day feature at the Belmont Park fall meet. The five-year-old got the signal from his pilot turning for home and proved to have the most effective closing kick in the 1 3/8-mile contest conducted on the good inner turf. Wrapped up in the final stages, Grassy won by half-length in a time of 2:19 3/5.
Setting the soft pace in the Bowling Green was Sal the Barber (Alphabet Soup), who was allowed to lope through splits of :25 2/5, :51 3/5, 1:18 and 1:43 2/5. Center Divider (Giant's Causeway) was never more than a length behind that rival, while Grassy advanced to third outside of that pair approaching the six-furlong mark.
Passing the quarter pole, Center Divider and Grassy made their moves while Sal the Barber began to retreat down at the rail. Through the stretch, Center Divider clung to a narrow lead but ultimately could not fend off the big gray. The winner opened up a length lead inside the final sixteenth before yielding back some of that ground in the final yards.
Grassy paid $5.60, $3.30 and $2.50 as the 9-5 second choice. Center Divider, at 8-1, held off the 12-1 Bold Hawk (Silver Hawk) for second by a neck. Sanagas (Ger) (Lomitas [Ger]), the 3-2 favorite, trailed most of the way before making a mild late bid for fourth, a half-length behind Bold Hawk. The order of finish was rounded out by Kindergarden Kid (Dynaformer), Colonialism (Empire Maker) and Sal the Barber.
Unplaced in his first three graded stakes attempts, Grassy made noticeable improvement in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1) 11 months ago, finishing a solid third behind Winchester (Theatrical [Ire]) and Paddy O'Prado. That effort propelled him to favoritism next out in the Red Smith H. (G2) at Aqueduct, where Grassy prevailed by a length on soft going. Grassy returned to action in April and was the beaten favorite in his first two outings, finishing fourth in a Keeneland allowance and a close second in the Three Coins Up S. at Belmont. Second by a neck in the Singspiel S. (Can-G3) two back, Grassy was an even fourth in the Sky Classic S. (Can-G2) heading into the Bowling Green. His record now stands at 15-5-3-2, $415,564.
"He was very impressive today and I hope we can go on to better things," winning trainer Christophe Clement said. "The (Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on October 1) is a possibility."
The Kentucky-bred Grassy was produced by High Savannah (GB) (Rousillon), who is also the dam of Group 2 winner Lady in Waiting (Kylian), Group 3-placed Desert Destiny (Desert Prince [Ire]) and the multiple stakes-placed Greenery (Galileo [Ire]). High Savannah's two most recent foals, a yearling colt named Decamp and a weanling colt, are both by War Front.
This female family has also yielded Grade 1 winner Stroll (Pulpit) and Group 2 winners Lovelace (GB) (Royal Applause [GB]) and Gairloch (Roan Rocket).
On the New York worktab
ROYAL DELTA (Empire Maker), a convincing 5 1/2-length winner of the August 20 Alabama S. (G1), breezed four furlongs in a bullet :47 2/5 over the fast Oklahoma training track in Saratoga on Saturday. The Bill Mott-trained filly likely will point to the October 1 Beldame S. (G1) at Belmont Park or the Spinster S. (G1) at Keeneland a week later.
Multiple stakes winner SWEET DUCKY (Pulpit), unraced since a 13th in the U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2), covered the same ground in :49 2/5.
Brooklyn H. (G2) hero BIRDRUN (Birdstone), second in the Greenwood Cup last out, recorded five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 on the fast training track at Belmont.
Multiple New York-bred stakes winner PREACHINTOTHEDEVIL (Pulpit) clocked 1:01 4/5.
Grade 3 victor WILKINSON (Lemon Drop Kid), who exits an easy win over optional claiming foes in his turf debut, logged a half-mile in :50.
Multiple Grade 3 winner DENOMINATION (Smart Strike), unraced since her score in the May 30 Violet S. (G3), traveled four furlongs in :48 4/5 on the fast main track.
Grade 3 winner SILVER MEDALLION (Badge of Silver), unraced since a fourth in the Lexington S. (G3) in April, completed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5.
Grade 1 king RAIL TRIP (Jump Start), seventh in the Whitney H. (G1) last out, breezed five panels in 1:01 3/5 on the fast main track at Aqueduct.