OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Green Gratto picked up his second straight stakes victory at Aqueduct Racetrack Saturday afternoon, taking the lead out of the gate and going on to post a 5 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Gravesend.
Earlier on the card, Extinct Charm split horses in deep stretch to beat E J's Legacy by a neck to upset the $100,000 Damon Runyon for 2-year-old New York-breds.
Green Gratto, who in November held off a classy field to win the Grade 3 Fall Highweight, shook off an early challenge from Jake N Elwood after an opening quarter in 22.53 seconds over the fast inner track. Edging away from the field under jockey Kendrick Carmouche as the half went in 45.00, the 5-year-old son of Here's Zealous headed into the stretch with a five-length advantage and was never threatened as he crossed under the wire in 1:09.86 for the six furlongs.
"He seems to be getting better as he gets older," said Gaston Grant, who trains and co-owns Green Gratto with Anthony Grant. "We were going to give him a break after the Fall Highweight, but he was kicking down his stall. We had to run him. He's amazingly consistent; he carries the whole barn on his shoulders. He and Kendrick get along great. He seems to flourish under him."
Green Gratto, who in the Fall Highweight went off at 24-1, returned $10.20 as the 4-1 second choice in the field of five. For his career, he is 6-6-6 from 36 starts with earnings of $635,514.
"He just does everything right, every time I've ridden him," said Carmouche, who was aboard for the Fall Highweight and for a second-place finish in an optional claimer, also in November, at the Big A. "I have to give all the credit to his owner and trainer. I'm just the passenger along for the ride!"
Even-money favorite Palace, who was making the final start of his career before heading off to stud, was up for second, with Alex the Terror taking third. Jake N Elwood finished fourth, with Fabulous Kid fifth. Heaven's Runway was scratched.
Extinct Charm, who had broken his maiden earlier this month in his eighth career start, completed the mile and 70 yards of the Damon Runyon in 1:44.73.
"He's a two-turn horse, and that's what it's all about," said trainer Gary Contessa. "We've just been waiting for this. He's going to be a nice horse at the distance."
Sent off at 12-1, the longest shot on the board, Extinct Charm returned $27.40 for a $2 win wager, and earned $60,000 for owners John Moirano, William Achenbaum, Monty Foss and Steven Wecker.
Following E J's Legacy under the wire were Taoiseach, favored Spooked Out, and Gehrig. Sudden Surprise was scratched.
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