December 16 – Stallwalkin’ Dude gained the lead in the final furlong and outkicked Green Gratto by two lengths to win the $100,000 Gravesend Stakes Dec. 18 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Owned by Head of Plains Partners and trainer David Jacobson, Stallwalkin’ Dude stalked Green Gratto’s fractions of :23.29 for a quarter-mile and :47.27 for a half on the muddy and sealed inner dirt track.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. rallied Stallwalkin’ Dude from sixth out of the turn and moved the City Place gelding to the rail near the five-eighths pole before overtaking Green Gratto and Life in Shambles, completing six furlongs in 1:11.80.
“Today he gave me everything he had at the end,” Ortiz said. “He’s always broke sharp. I don’t panic or go crazy, because I know I have a horse who has speed. They go and I don’t fight too much, I just stay off the pace. Turning for home, I waited and waited. When I asked, he responded.”
The even-money favorite, Stallwalkin’ Dude paid $4.10 to win and increased his earnings to $1,188,352. The 6-year-old bay gelding is 3-2-1 in his last six starts, including a victory in the grade III Bold Ruler Oct. 29 at Belmont Park. Overall he has a 17-6-7 record from 47 starts.
“He broke very well, but heading into this race Irad and myself had some concerns with his last two races. We thought he had it won and he started hanging when he got to the lead,” Jacobson said. “Today, we had plan. It was Irad’s idea more (than mine) to wait as long as (he) can.
“When I saw him break that good, it instilled a little more confidence than before the race. He wants horses on the outside of him in case they’re coming up. It makes him more competitive. He’s getting a little trickier in his old age.”
Green Gratto, for trainer Gaston Grant, held on for second.
All Star Red, Life in Shambles, Drama King, Summer Revolution, Loki’s Vengeance, and Spring to the Sky completed the order of finish.
-edited from www.bloodhorse.com