Grey Comet, Hanselina Win NY Stallion Stakes

(from track report)
Grey Comet passed second-place Raffit in midstretch then used every ounce of energy he had to maintain his advantage and win the New York Stallion Stakes Times Square Division for 3-year-old state bred colts and geldings on Sunday at Aqueduct.

Grey Comet, the 1-2 favorite who won his fourth stakes race, took the flat-mile Times Square Division in 1:34 3/5 over a good track despite an awkward run down the backstretch.

The victory was worth $90,000 for owner-breeder Star Track Farms.

"The horse did something that he's never done before and he got out really badly going down the backside," said winning trainer Gary Contessa. "Not knowing why that is, I can honestly tell you we're not going to the Preakness. I'll just do some work on him and wait for the next New York-bred race."

Grey Comet, under Jerry Bailey, was quick from the starting gate and led the field to a quarter in :22 4/5, but he did not want to move toward the rail. That allowed Uncle Camie and Raffit to move to the lead and force Grey Comet into a stalking position. At the top of the stretch, Grey Comet passed Uncle Camie on the outside and a resurgent Raffit moved up the rail. Grey Comet and Raffit battled for the final sixteenth and Grey Comet won by a head.

"He broke pretty sharp, but he really wanted to bear out," said Bailey about Grey Comet. "I tried to get him inside, but he was too strong for me and I think Richie (Migliore aboard Uncle Camie) knew it and sent his horse to the lead. Once he had a horse inside of him he was fine. He was real game."

Grey Comet, a 3-year-old colt by Distinctive Pro, out of Jack Betta Be Rite (Jacques Who), increased his record to 5-2-1 from eight starts with earnings of $355,455.

Hanselina Wins The Park Avenue Division
Hanselina and Edgar Prado kept favorite Beautiful American bottled up behind a wall of horses, then took the lead in the stretch to the win the $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes Park Avenue Division for 3-year-old fillies at a flat mile.

"I think she can compete at this level," said Edgar Prado, who made sure to keep an eye on Beautiful America throughout the race. "She's a strong, sound filly. That was a big race. We had a great trip. She responded nicely."

Hanselina, a 3-year-old New York bred filly by Hansel, out of High Talent (Talc), earned $90,000 for owner and breeder Peter E. Mariano. She is now 3-2-1 from seven starts with earnings of $181,910.

"I guess we got lucky with Beautiful America breaking poorly," said winning trainer Dominic Galluscio. "Edgar (Prado) really rode a great race for us and kept Beautiful America pinned inside."

Hanselina completed the flat-mile in 1:36 1/5 over the good track. She paid $20.60 to win.

Beautiful America, a three-time stakes winner, had a terrible trip as the 3-5 favorite. She was stuck behind the three-horse wall of Mischieviously, The Name Was Gone and Golden Damsel and inside of Hanselina around the turn, then got cut off at the top of the stretch as Jose Santos tried to squeeze through an opening on the rail. By the time Beautiful America was in the clear on the outside, all of her momentum was gone and she could only salvage fourth place.

"I was forced to stay inside and she kind of fell asleep in there," Santos said. "I tried to get her through, but there wasn't enough room. I think she likes Belmont better. She's a better horse than this."