Gran Estreno has always been a consistent horse, his lifetime record proves that. But the former claimer, who turned 8 earlier this month, seems to be getting better with age.
With Anna Napravnik aboard for Michael Stidham, Gran Estreno made a bold move on the final turn and pulled away from a good field in the stretch to win the $100,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by 1 1/4 lengths Jan. 22 at Fair Grounds. It was the fourth group/graded stakes win for the Argentinean-bred horse and his third victory in his last four starts. The son of Lucky Roberto runs for Feel The Thunder Stable.
Not far off the early pace set by favored Red Strike, Gran Estreno kicked into another gear when Napranvik sent him five-wide around the final turn. He came onto even terms with Red Strike nearing the quarter pole and took a narrow advantage at the top of the lane. Dubious Miss was one of several horses that gave chase in the final furlong, but the chestnut was clear midway through the stretch en route to his convincing score.
The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the yielding turf course was 1:46.04. Dubious Miss and Corey Lanerie settled for second one length in front of Joinem, who rallied from far back to get third in the field of eight.
Red Strike, who tired to finish fourth, set fractions of :25.04, :50.93, and 1:16.19.
Gran Estreno began his career in Argentina, winning twice in nine starts including the group I Jockey Club Stakes. After being shipped to the United States he eventually wound up in the claiming ranks, where he was twice plucked for $20,000. The second of those came in May, 2009, by Feel The Thunder Stable.
He has won nine times for his current connections including the 2009 Claiming Crown Emerald and the last two editions of the Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park. Gran Estreno entered the Bradley off two solid efforts at Fair Grounds, running second in the Buddy Dilberto Memorial Handicap and scoring in an optional claimer, both in December. He has hit the board in his last nine starts.
Overall, Gran Estreno has produced a 14-5-7 record from 35 starts for earnings of $543,175. He was bred by Eduardo Carlos Luther and is out of the Senor Pete mare Great Stampa.
The winner paid $8.20, $4.40, and $3.20. The exacta returned $51.40 and the trifecta (2-6-4) was worth $205.