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Mr. Greeley's legend grows with three G1 winners

Sunday, October 09, 2011 |
Gainesway Farm's late stallion Mr. Greeley was represented by a trio of Grade 1 winners on the Oct. 8-9 weekend. On Oct. 8, Western Aristocrat proved best in Belmont Park's $250,000 Jamaica H. and the 2-year-old colt Crusade won the Group 1, $160,836 Emaar Middle Park S. in England. One day later, Aruna continued an outstanding 2011 with her win in the $500,000 Spinster S. at Keeneland.

Crusade beat an overflow field of 15 foes in the six furlong Middle Park on the grass. After handling such a large group of top class runners, trainer Aidan O'Brien said a trip to America may be in the offing.

“The (owners) will speak about if he runs again (this year), but he could be a Breeders' Cup Juvenile horse on the dirt. He's got speed and travels and gets the six well but that will be discussed.”

Crusade, who made his debut at York on Aug. 19, has now won two of his four starts and earned $164,123. He is the first foal out of La Traviata, winner of the Grade 3 Victory Ride S. He is owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier.

Four-year-old Western Aristocrat made a sparkling North American debut with a front-running, one length victory in the nine furlong Jamaica. From six starts in England, Western Aristocrat posted three wins, both in stakes, and two thirds, including the Jersey Stakes (G3).  

The dark bay colt was bred in Kentucky by Grapestock LLC and is owned by Vinery Stables. He is the first starter out of the winning Kris S. mare Aristocratic Lady.

The victory has his connections considering the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) next month at Churchill Downs.

“We’ll keep him here (with trainer Steve Asmussen), said Vinery president Tom Ludt. “He’ll definitely keep racing; he’s been sound. We’ll consider the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but we’ll let the horse tell us.”

Aruna, bred and owned by Flaxman Holdings, Ltd., won the 1 1/8-mile Spinster with a big stretch move, coming from seventh to win by a half length. She has finished first or second in each of her seven U.S. starts since she was transferred to Graham Motion from Jonathan Pease’s yard in France. Earlier this year, she won the All Along S. (G3) and Mrs. Revere S. (G2), both on the turf.

Aruna could be headed for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs next month.

“I think the dirt race is a wide-open race. Her mother won on the dirt at Saratoga, so it’s got the wheels turning,” said Motion. “I’ve got to think about it. I’ve had some luck running turf/synthetic horses at Churchill.”  Motion was alluding to Animal Kingdom's win in this year's Kentucky Derby (G1).

The duo are the first Grade 1 winners of the year for their sire, who has five additional added money winners to his credit this year. Mr. Greeley was 18 at the time of his death in Nov., 2010, when he succumbed to laminitis. In 2010, also his final year at stud, Mr. Greeley covered 128 mares, with 86% of those mares reported to have conceived.