The following appeared in The Paulick Report December 18th.
Handling the outside, number 12 post in the $402,400 Springboard Mile was easy for winner Greyvitos, considering everything the colt has been through in the past two weeks. The gray opened up to win Remington Park’s top race for 2-year-olds by 2-1/4 lengths under National Racing Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza.
Owned by Triple B Farms of North Hollywood, Calif. and trained by Adam Kitchingman, Greyvitos arrived at Remington Park on Dec. 13 from his base at Santa Anita in southern California. Prior to that, Greyvitos was stabled at San Luis Rey training center north of San Diego. The training center was surrounded by one of the deadly wild fires that have raged in the state for weeks. Kitchingman managed to get his horses out of danger before the fires took over the facility, killing over 60 horses who were trapped by the inferno. The trainer was extremely relieved, and happy, with the way his colt handled all of the recent challenges to score the richest race of his young career.
“He’s been a really nice horse to be around, the last six months he’s really blossomed and really shown he’s a nice horse. The last two weeks I didn’t know if I was going to be training him. We’ve been getting a lot of offers from the “big boys” and I thought for sure the owners were going to sell him. Then we went through the fire, shipping all around the country, it’s been a rollercoaster.”
Greyvitos received a masterful ride from his Hall of Fame jockey, who had a plan on how to handle post position 12 and the quick run to the clubhouse turn.
“We had the outside and I was just checking everyone to see what they were going to do into the first turn. I just didn’t want to hit the first turn too wide. If I could get to the turn maybe four or five (wide) then I’m in good shape. I decided to track the two-horse (Major Brown) on the lead and I was pretty much cruising along all the way around. I wanted to wait a little bit longer but it seemed like the other horses didn’t really want it in front of me so I took a shot. I felt like I had the best horse in the race and he just ran and opened it up.”
Major Brown set the early pace, handling the opening quarter-mile in :23.51 and a half-mile in :47.16. That’s when Greyvitos made his move and he took the lead early in the final turn and began to pull away, getting six furlongs in 1:11.71 before crossing the finish in 1:37.14 over the fast track. The time was a new stakes record for the Springboard Mile.
Greyvitos was in control coming down the stretch, leaving the only question as to who would finish for the minor awards behind him. Combatant rallied down the middle of the track to gain second while Kingsville worked through traffic near the rail to get third, 7-1/2 lengths behind the winner. Oklahoma-bred Night Strike, last by nearly 30 lengths at the start of the backstretch, rallied to gain fourth, 12-3/4 lengths behind Greyvitos.
The Springboard Mile is a points-eligibility race for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, helping to determine the starting field for the prestigious event. Greyvitos picked up 10 points for the win, Combatant gained four points for second, Kingsville picked up two points for third while Night Strike gets one point for finishing fourth.
Away at 3-1 odds in the betting, Greyvitos paid $8 to win, $3.80 to place and $3.40 to show. Combatant, the betting favorite at 2-1 odds, paid $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show. Kingsville paid $19 to show.
Greyvitos was bred in Virginia by Audley Farm Equine. He is a colt by Malibu Moon from the Najran mare Snow Top Mountain. He adds the Springboard victory to his score in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar in November. The winner’s share of $240,000 boosts the career earnings for Greyvitos to $306,345.
It was the first victory in the Springboard Mile for all of the connections of Greyvitos.