By Mary LaRue
Albany, CA (May 27, 2019)-Jerry Hollendorfer had two of the top choices in the $100,000 All American Stakes (G3) when the field went to post May 27 at Golden Gate Fields, giving the Hall of Fame trainer a prime chance to win the stakes for the ninth time.
While the favored Choo Choo finished fifth, third-choice Grecian Fire did not let Hollendorfer down, as the son of Unusual Heat earned his first graded victory in the one-mile test over the all-weather course.
With longshot Many Roses shooting to the lead early on, Grecian Fire and jockey William Antongeorgi III settled just off the pace in fourth as fractions clicked off in :23.43 and :47.48 through a half-mile. As the field came off the turn for home Gabo’s Macondo, who had raced in second, took the lead briefly, but Grecian Fire sprinted clear in the stretch and finished the distance in 1:36.49.
The winner returned $10.60, $5.60, and $3.40 across the board, while Builder got within 1 1/4 lengths for second and paid $7.80 and $4.80. Touched by Autism finished third, returning $5.60 to show.
Grecian Fire finished fifth most recently in the San Francisco Mile (G3T), a race that like the All American he has contested twice. Last year, the 5-year-old gelding tested graded stakes waters, finishing seventh in the San Francisco Mile and then third in the All American.
This year’s All American victory brings Grecian Fire’s record to 5-2-4 from 23 starts and brings his earnings to $286,702.
A homebred for KMN Racing, Grecian Fire is the second foal out of the stakes-placed Kitten’s Joy mare Maddie’s Odyssey, who also produced this weekend’s Summertime Oaks (G2) runner-up Sneaking Out.