Game Grey Comet Prevails in Muddy Count Fleet

(from track report)
New York-bred Grey Comet remained perfect in his young four-race career when he held off the persistent challenge of Mustang Jock to win the $81,350 Count Fleet Handicap on Saturday at Aqueduct.

"He was in stride and comfortable right out of the gate," said winning rider Aaron Gryder, who has won three races with Grey Comet. "I thought this was his best race today. He showed a lot of grit and fought back."

The victory was worth $48,810 for New York breeders and owners Star Track Farms.

"This was his first start against open company, so hope springs eternal," said winning trainer Gary Contessa. "He seems to rise to whatever level of competition you throw at him."

Grey Comet, a 3-year-old New York-bred gray colt by Distinctive Pro, improved his earnings of $199,185. After breaking his maiden on Oct. 12 over a sloppy track at Belmont, Grey Comet won two restricted stakes races at Aqueduct: the New York Stallion Stakes on Nov. 10 and the Damon Runyon Stakes on Dec. 15.

Grey Comet took the lead out of the starting gate in the six-horse stakes-race for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Mustang Jock, under Luis Chavez, was a constant pressure on the outside. Both horses were even at the top of the stretch, but Grey Comet, after falling behind briefly, was able to pull away for the length victory. Penobscot Bay, under Shaun Bridgmohan, finished third.

"I didn't think it would be that close," Contessa said. "I really didn't want him to be on the lead, but he kind of inherited it. He's a much better horse with speed to run at. There just wasn't any true speed in this race. He dug in and opened up. He showed them what he's made of."

The winning time for 1 mile and 70 yards was 1:42 over the muddy track. Grey Comet paid $3.40 to win.

(Chart, Equibase)