Gray’s Fable Controls Pace, Gives Hall Of Famer Attfield His First Appleton Victory

Steve Goldfine, Kari Provost and Jeff Zlonis’ gelding Gray’s Fable, racing for the first time in 197 days, became a stakes winner in his second try with a front-running 2 ¼-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The 69th running of the one-mile Appleton for 4-year-olds and up on turf was the fourth of 10 stakes, and first of six graded, worth $1.85 million on a blockbuster 14-race program anchored by the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, one of the country’s premier Triple Crown preps.

Also bred by Zlonis, Gray’s Fable completed the distance in 1:32.64 over a firm course to give jockey Junior Alvarado his second win of the day and both he and Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield their first Appleton triumph.

Breaking from the rail in a field of eight, Gray’s Fable quickly established position up front after a quarter-mile in 23.61 seconds and a half in 46.55, tracked in second by Ever Dangerous. Gray’s Fable remained in control after going six furlongs in 1:09.38 and extended his advantage once straightened for home.

Renaisance Frolic got up to edge Ever Dangerous for second, followed by Perfect Speighty, 2-1 favorite Seismic Wave, Forever Mo, Little Menace and Frostmourne.

Gray’s Fable was making his first start since capturing a one-mile optional claimer on the Woodbine turf last Sept. 12. In his only other stakes attempt, the son of two-time turf champion Gio Ponti was sixth in the Connaught Cup (G2) last June, also at Woodbine.

$100,000 Kitten’s Joy Appleton (G3) Quotes

Winning jockey Junior Alvarado (Gray’s Fable): “He’s a horse that in the post parade he was kind of full of himself. He was showing he’s kind of like an attitude horse, he wants to do things his way. He doesn’t want you to get in his way. When we left the gate he broke very good so I kind of smooched him a little bit and let him do his own thing. I was pretty sure that he knew what he was going to do.”

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