By Chris MrGrath – Courtesy of Thoroughbred Daily News (March, 7, 2020)
GRAZEN (Benchmark–Hazen, by Rubiano), Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, $6,000
No apologies for returning to this guy, having drawn attention to his rise last year. Because he has since written another remarkable chapter in his remarkable story, with Grade III winners S Y Sky and Just Grazed Me, plus champion Cal-bred sophomore Lieutenant Dan taking his lifetime tally to 10 stakes winners from just 113 foals.
Grazen started out at $2,000 in 2010 and mustered just 88 named foals across his first six crops. But his startling dividends from that precarious toehold, including a Grade I podium for multiple stakes winner Enola Gray, earned him a breakout book in 2017–soaring from 31 to 101–and its graduates are juveniles this year. With another 172 covers across the two seasons since, moreover, he is all set to maintain the momentum. True, he will do well to maintain his stakes ratio from this kind of volume. But it’s wonderful to see a horse earn his stripes in this way; and he amply deserves a small hike in fee (from $5,000).
His immediate pedigree does not make it especially obvious where all this might be coming from, albeit it’s the family of GI Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Prized and seeded by very respectable stallions like Rubiano and Kris S. But there’s no question that Grazen himself showed plenty of flair until breaking down, otherwise beaten only once in five sophomore starts on synthetics–and then by a subsequent Grade I winner–including at graded stakes level, flashing some hot speed figures in the process.
One way or another, he’s extending the fragile Alydar line in fairytale fashion. And, at 14 and with all those reinforcements imminent, there’s no knowing what the next plot twist might be.