Toxic Gray Earns 91 Beyer for Gutsy Maiden Victory

February 12, 2023

Toxic Gray gritty in breaking his maiden at second asking (NYRA/Coglianese)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Christopher Borducci, George Raymond and David Berley’s Toxic Gray graduated in impressive fashion with a narrow victory over Everso Mischievous in Saturday’s sixth race, a six-furlong maiden special weight for 3-year-olds, at Aqueduct Racetrack. The determined effort garnered a 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

Trained by Michael Miceli, the son of Verrazano made his first start for his connections after he was purchased privately on the heels of a strong debut second-place effort at odds of 43-1 in a $40,000 maiden claiming event in December at Tampa Bay Downs. There, he was bumped at the break and tracked the pace in third down the backstretch before angling to the three-path and closing gamely to earn place honors.

That event proved to be a key race as the third and fourth-place finishers, Lookin’ Super and Gratia Prince, also exited the race to break their maiden next out on February 10 and February 3, respectively, at Tampa. Fatih, the sixth-place finisher, finished a game second in the February 10 maiden won by Lookin’ Super.

Toxic Gray stepped up in company yesterday and was sent to post at odds of 7-1 under the guidance of Eric Cancel. Toxic Gray raced closely to the pace for the first quarter-mile before rushing up to race in tandem with the frontrunning Everso Mischievous through the turn and to the top of the lane. The two easily drew away from the rest of the field and went head-to-head down the stretch before Toxic Gray got the better bob and secured the win by a head.

Miceli said he felt confident Toxic Gray was poised to give a strong effort.

“He showed me in his works that he wasn’t going to a maiden 40,” Miceli said, with a laugh. “He had a couple good works well in-hand, and he still went pretty fast. I called the owners and said, ‘Look, he’s training really good. We should take a shot at the maiden special.’ We decided to run him in that spot yesterday and he came through. He’s like a little bulldog. He fought on to get the win.”

Toxic Gray first caught Miceli’s eye as a juvenile at the OBS June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training where he breezed a quarter-mile in 21 seconds flat before failing to meet his reserve with a bid of $45,000. Miceli said it was his brother-in-law, Joe Brocklebank, who brought the horse to his attention.

“We had watched him when he breezed for the sale in Ocala, and for one reason or another, it [a sale] didn’t get done at the time,” Miceli said. “He needed more time. My brother-in-law told me about the horse and we decided to move forward. He ran at Tampa and ran second, and I said, ‘Well, it looks like kind of a nice horse to come up to be second.’ So, we went ahead and purchased him privately from the previous owner and he trained very good when he came here.”

Miceli said he will look to run Toxic Gray through his conditions for the time being.

“He’s the type of horse who loves what he does,” said Miceli. “He’s very well-mannered and he’s push-button. If you want to go fast, he’ll go fast. If you want to slow him down, he’s very cooperative.”

@Tracking_Trips @jonathanstettin the pick 4 X 2 and the trifecta X2 in the classic...thanks for teaching me to approach races better.

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