The sun was out for Grey Day at Woodbine Racetrack on Sunday creating a dazzling sight in the first ever all-grey race on the Toronto turf course. The aptly named Gray Phantom and Arthur’s Pass emerged from the cloud of runners in the stretch with the latter ultimately edging out the former in a photo finish to win the inaugural $50,000 Grey Handicap.
In addition to the unique registered colour restriction, the one-mile turf event for three-year-olds and up was restricted to horses that have started for a claiming price of $20,000 or less in 2016-2017.
Arthur’s Pass returned immediate dividends to his connections winning off the claim for trainer Don MacRae, who partnered with first-time owner La Huerta Inc. on the $20,000 purchase.
“Don has given me a lot of opportunities and it was great to take a picture with this grey horse,” said winning jockey Alan Garcia after the race.
Fleetway established the lead in the early going and set fractions of :23.77, :47.08 and 1:11.30 before being swarmed in the stretch. Meanwhile, Arthur’s Pass followed near the back of the field and tracked Gray Phantom and Eurico Rosa Da Silva as they rallied outside of their foes turning for home. Gray Phantom took command in the final eighth of the mile, but Arthur’s Pass chased him down for the narrow victory in 1:34.80.
While it was a close finish, Garcia knew his mount had the advantage at the wire.
“He always had his head in front. He ran a very good race,” said Garcia. “After the wire, I was celebrating because I already knew we had won.”
The victory was just the third lifetime score for Arthur’s Pass, a six-year-old Alphabet Soup-Fleet Kris gelding, who has recorded 13 other top three finishes while banking $191,591 in his career.
Sent postward as the 7-2 fourth third choice on the toteboard, Arthur’s Pass paid $9.20, $5.20 and $3.30. He combined with Gray Phantom ($6.40, $4) for a 9-10 exacta worth $45.50. Favourite Hampstead Heath ($3.10 to show) completed a $1 trifecta of 9-10-7 that paid $66.85 while a $1 superfecta of 9-10-7-8 with a from-last Deesse Nike returned $573.75.