Defying The Odds: UPS Driver, Equine ‘Mike Tyson’ Could Go All The Way In Vanderbilt

Saturday’s G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga has several compelling story lines, but none so unique as 20-1 longshot Green Gratto. It was at similarly long odds earlier this year that the 7-year-old New Jersey-bred won the G1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, lighting up the tote board at 54-1. Though his status as a millionaire puts Green Gratto in an elite class of racehorses all on its own, it is his journey with owner/trainer Gaston Grant which truly sets him apart from his peers. Narrative.ly tells the story:

Born in Jamaica, Grant grew up enjoying local horse racing with his uncle, and found common ground in the sport with his father when he moved to the United States as a teenager. His early dream was to be a pilot, and while he was able to find some work flying, the white-dominated industry kept dark-skinned Grant in the minor leagues. In 2000, while working for the UPS as a truck driver, Grant began hotwalking in the mornings for trainer Peter Chin. In 2011, chance led Grant to meet the yearling who would become Green Gratto, and the gangly youngster was given to him for free.

Still driving his truck, Grant trained Green Gratto in the mornings while working a full-time job. It took a number of starts for the colt to learn how to run, and jockey Kendrick Carmouche finally suggested cutting back his blinkers so the front-runner could see who was coming up behind him. Green Gratto began to win, and in his 53rd career start took down his first Grade 1 race. He likes to be out front of the field, and only keeps trying so long as no other horse has passed him – its a trait that matches his large, overwhelming presence in person.

“If he was a human, he would be a thug,” Grant said. “He’s a fighter, not afraid of anything. Like Mike Tyson.”

Saturday’s Vanderbilt may be an ambitious spot for Green Gratto, based on the morning-line odds, but Grant has shocked the world with his one-horse stable once before.

Read more at Narrative.ly.

The post Defying The Odds: UPS Driver, Equine ‘Mike Tyson’ Could Go All The Way In Vanderbilt appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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