Gil Johnston’s Miguel Grau drew away through Suffolk Downs’ stretch to a dominant 9 3/4-length victory Saturday in a $30,000 Ratings Handicap, one of two jump races on the first 2016 program at the Boston-area track.
Irv Naylor’s Tubal finished second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Dyna’s Vow in a field of 11 for the 2 1/16-mile race over National Fences.
Miguel Grau, equipped with blinkers for the first time by trainer Richard Valentine, rated well for jockey Jack Doyle while DASH Stable’s Time Out set the early pace with a lead that exceeded 10 lengths on the first run down Suffolk’s backstretch.
As the field approached the final bend, Time Out’s lead decreased, and Miguel Grau made a solid move to gain the advantage in early stretch, jumped the last with no opposition, and galloped home to an impressive score.
The six-year-old City Zip gelding ran the distance in 3:41.60 on firm turf. He went off at 10.30-to-1 and paid $22.60 to win. The Suffolk victory was Miguel Grau’s first since his maiden win over fences at Parx Racing almost a year ago.
In the afternoon’s kickoff race, Beverly R. Steinman’s homebred Reporter delivered a 39-to-1 upset victory in a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle. Always in a stalking position under Kieran Norris, he moved strongly on the final turn and drew away after the last fence to a 9 3/4-length victory.
Amy Taylor Rowe’s Meteoroid finished second, and Bishop’s Castle took third in a field of 11. Trained by Doug Fout, Reporter ran the 2 1/16-mile distance in 3:44.40 and paid $80.40 to win.