J’ray, a stakes winner all four years she raced, has been retired from racing and will be bred to Medaglia d'Oro , one of the leading first-crop sires this year. The 5-year-old daughter of Distant View won or placed in 18 of 26 races and earned $969,843.
After finishing unplaced at 2 on dirt in her first start, J’ray started racing on the turf and won four straight races following the switch, including the Jessamine Stakes, Selima Stakes, and Tropical Park Oaks. After that, she made all but one other start on grass.
A homebred for Lawrence Goichman, J’ray was a two-time graded stakes winner in 2007-08. She won this year’s Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) in course-record time at Monmouth Park and the Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT). Last year, she scored grade III turf wins in the Bayou Breeders’ Cup and My Charmer Handicaps.
J’ray won all nine races at 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 miles and came within a head of winning at 1 1/2 miles in the Dec. 13 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT) in what was her last race. “She was a wonderful mare and retired sound,” Goichman said. “She gave five pounds to the winner in her last start and still only lost by a head.”
In her race before that, the 1 1/2-mile Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT), J’ray was beaten a length while giving the winner six pounds. She was trained by Todd Pletcher.
A New York-bred, J’ray is out of the winning Darshaan mare Bubbling Heights. She will be sent to Catherine Parke’s Valkyre Stud near Georgetown, Ky.
Goichman chose grade I winner Medaglia d’Oro as a mate for J’ray because of the pedigree cross involving Medaglia d’Oro’s grandsire, Sadler’s Wells, with Darshaan mares. Sadler’s Wells’ offspring out of Darshaan mares include English and Irish champions High Chaparral and Milan, plus European group I winner Greek Dance.
Bubbling Heights, who is in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, will be bred back to him in 2009.