Stallwalkin' Dude favored to thwart historic repeat bid in Fall Highweight

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

November 21st, 2016

Green Gratto on Thursday will attempt to do what no male horse has ever done in the history of the Fall Highweight H. (G3) -- win back-to-back runnings of the venerable, six-furlong dash.

The $250,000 Fall Highweight, the feature among three stakes on Aqueduct's Thanksgiving card, has been won twice by four different horses, but all were fillies. Champions Ta Wee (1969-70) and What a Summer (1977-78) won back-to-back, as did Honorable Miss (1975-76). Miss Merriment won non-consecutively in 1934 and 1936.

Green Gratto was a 24-1 longshot when he won a year ago, and his current form suggests he'll be a big price to register the historic repeat. The six-year-old has just one win from 11 starts this season, that being the $50,000 Hockessin at Delaware Park in July, and he enters off unplaced efforts in the Vosburgh (G1) and Bold Ruler H. (G3).

Stallwalkin' Dude, who won the Bold Ruler and finished second to Joking in the Vosburgh, is the 134-pound top weight and clear favorite to win for the third time in four Aqueduct main track tries. Weekend Hideaway, a solid third in the Vosburgh, is another serious contender if he opts for this spot over Wednesday night's Fabulous Strike H. at Penn National.

Ready for Rye, who is multiple graded-placed, is capable of better after being a complete no-show in the Forego (G1) and fifth in a tough inaugural edition of the Belmont Turf Sprint. Angry Moon and The Great War figure to show speed along with Green Gratto, while All Star Red won his only previous try on the Big A's main track, a second-level allowance back in April, for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

"I've been happy with him, but I know this race will be very, very tough," Rodriguez said. "There are a lot of horses in there. He deserves a chance. He never embarrasses himself. He always tries. It's a plus for the horse; to run where he trains and be on his home course."

(Adam Coglianese Photography)