Toxic Gray proves best in a starter optional claiming March 5 (NYRA/Coglianese)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Christopher Borducci, George Raymond and David Berley’s talented Toxic Gray will likely target an allowance rather than Saturday’s seven-furlong Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore at Aqueduct Racetrack, according to trainer Michael Miceli.
Toxic Gray, a sophomore son of Verrazano, was a last-out winner of a six-furlong starter optional claimer on March 5 at the Big A, pouncing from three lengths off the pace to score a tidy 1 1/2-length victory under Eric Cancel and remain a perfect 2-for-2 since being purchased privately and transferred to Miceli earlier this year. He graduated with a narrow head victory two starts back after a dramatic stretch duel with the Brad Cox-trained Everso Mischievous, garnering a 91 Beyer Speed Figure.
While Toxic Gray has been nominated to the Bay Shore, Miceli said he would like to find a softer spot for the colt’s next start.
“We’ll see how the stakes comes up, but we’re leaning a little more towards an allowance race as it will be a little bit of an easier task. We’d like to keep him in his winning ways,” Miceli said, with a laugh. “He’s training very well.”
Toxic Gray began his career in Florida with conditioner Nestor Cascallares and finished second in a $40,000 maiden claimer on December 30 at Tampa Bay Downs that the third and fourth-place finishers exited to graduate next out.
Miceli said that start is what made him look to a starter race for his first outing against winners.
“He had run for the maiden 40 and I figured it was a logical move to get the starter out of the way and then go for a non-winners of one,” said Miceli. “He did well in that spot, so now it’s on to the next condition.”
Toxic Gray breezed Friday over the Belmont Park dirt training track, covering five furlongs in 1:01.88.
“He’s a pretty push-button horse,” said Miceli. “He’ll rate if you want him to and if you want him to go 47 [seconds for a half-mile], he’ll do that. If you want him to go 50, he’ll do that, too. He’s got a pretty good mind and he’s pretty easy to train.”
Out of the Speightstown mare Reggae Song, Toxic Gray sold for $13,000 at the 2021 OBS October Yearling Sale.