Champagne romper Greenpointcrusader hails from outstanding family
Under Joe Bravo, the son of Bernardini overcame an early stumble and multiple bumps leaving the gate to settle in sixth, improved position around the turn, made a seven-wide bid in deep stretch and drew off to a commanding 4 1/2-length score. Over a sloppy track, Greenpointcrusader covered a mile in 1:36.25 and paid $15.
"He recovered [from the break] so well and was so comfortable on the backside, he gave me confidence when we turned for home that he was going to kick," Bravo said. "The stride this big boy has, man, that was fun. The last sixteenth of a mile, I kind of geared him down. I didn't really want to get to the bottom of him."
Longshots Sunny Ridge and Portfolio Manager filled out the second and third slots. Farther back in the field was 7-5 favorite Ralis, the Hopeful (G1) winner, who weakened to seventh; pacesetting second choice Tale of S'avall, who finished fifth; and the multiple graded-placed Magna Light, seventh after failing to make the lead.
Greenpointcrusader, owned by a partnership of the St. Elias, MeB Racing and Brooklyn Boyz stables, is the sixth stakes winner (fifth graded) produced by Ava Knowsthecode, a Cryptoclearance mare that produced a Giant's Causeway colt earlier this year at the age of 21.
Ava Knowsthecode's first black-type winner was the minor stakes-winning Alex's Allure, but she's gone on to produce Grade 1 winner Justin Phillip, Grade 2 winner Keyed Entry, and Grade 3 scorers Successful Mission, and Algorithms, the latter a full brother to Greenpointcrusader.
Second by a neck in his debut at Saratoga on July 25, Greenpointcrusader stretched out from 5 1/2 furlongs to seven furlongs for his second start on the same track September 5, and was up in time to win by a neck at even-money. Trained by Dominick Schettino, the sky seems to be the limit for this colt as far as distance is concerned.
Greenpointcrusader will undoubtedly head to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland later this month, but Sunny Ridge, the Sapling winner who broke his maiden for a claiming tag, and the maiden Portfolio Manager arguably exceeded expectations here and would be longer shots to be effective against a deeper field.
Jockey Javier Castellano said after the race that Ralis didn't seem to handle the wet track. It would be no surprise to see the Doug O'Neill trainee join undefeated stablemate Nyquist in the Juvenile.
(Greenpointcrusader photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)