Greeley and Ben (#1) makes the grade in the Fall Highweight Handicap (NYRA/Coglianese)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Darryl Abramowitz’s graded stakes-winner Greeley and Ben, who has not raced since capturing the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap on November 26 at the Big A, has been training forwardly at Belmont Park towards a potential start in the Grade 3, $175,000 Runhappy on May 13 at the Elmont oval.
Greeley and Ben has worked over the dirt training track three times since mid-February, covering a half-mile in 50.67 seconds on Thursday.
“We’re targeting either the Runhappy or something in Keeneland,” said trainer Jeffrey Englehart. “He’s about four weeks away from being race ready and we’re on the right trajectory.”
The son of Greeley’s Conquest earned the first graded win of his career in the six-furlong Fall Highweight when under the care of Englehart’s assistant Faith Wilson. Ridden by Manny Franco, Greeley and Ben rated in fifth through the first quarter-mile and improved position at every point of call to come away with a neck victory in a dramatic four-way photo finish over Runninsonofagun, Factor It In, and Jaxon Traveler.
Following the Fall Highweight, Greeley and Ben was entered in the Gravesend on December 30 at the Big A, but was scratched due to illness. Englehart said he opted to give Greeley and Ben ample time to recover and ease back into training.
“He’s been doing good. He was quiet for a couple weeks after we scratched him and he lost about 40 pounds,” said Englehart. “His bloodwork was a little finicky. Now, he’s got his energy back and we’re happy with his bloodwork. I just did right by him and gave him the time when he got sick. They’re animals and they’re like we are – when they get sick, we just want to get them back to 100 percent. He’s been training excellent.”
The 9-year-old Greeley and Ben would be making his first start at Belmont should he start in the Runhappy, marking the 16th racetrack he will have visited in his 39-start career. Englehart claimed the veteran gelding for $40,000 out of a determined neck victory in a six-furlong claiming tilt in September at Saratoga Race Course.
Greeley and Ben has turned out to be an astute claim for Englehart, finishing second first off the claim to graded stakes-winner Morello in an optional claimer in October at Laurel Park before a game fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler where he was bested three-quarters of a length by Runninsonofagun. He followed with a starter allowance score here on November 10 and his Fall Highweight triumph just 16 days later.
“When we claimed him, he ran good that day,” said Englehart. “He’s really taken to our lighter training regimen and has put on some good weight. We had been really happy with how he was training and that’s why we thought to bump him up to the stakes company and he did well. We had the Fall Highweight in mind even with the starter race, so everything panned out well.”
Englehart said Greeley and Ben, who boasts an impressive 39-23-7-2 record for total career earnings of $882,698, shows no signs of slowing down as he gears up for his 9-year-old campaign.
“You would never know his age,” Englehart said, with a laugh. “He’s a very high-energy animal and he loves his job.”