Anyone who watched a grey colt fade badly on debut on the Santa Anita turf July 1 would have trouble imagining the colt would end the year being in the conversation for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
However, once switched to dirt – and perhaps benefitting from a little time to mature – Greyvitos has thrived.
Not seen again until late October at Santa Anita, Greyvitos looked to be floundering on his dirt debut, but under some strong riding from new jockey Victor Espinoza, he rallied for a close third.
Trainer Adam Kitchingmann then stepped the colt up in class for the seven-furlong Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar in November. Espinoza rode vigorously at the start to put Greyvitos in the lead, and the 20-1 shot showed great courage to fend off the highly-rated Mourinho by 1 ½ lengths.
Greyvitos was then sent to Oklahoma for the $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile, which for the first time was part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Espinoza sent him forward from a wide draw to sit three wide on the pace, and he accelerated around the final turn, having plenty in hand to hold off the favorite Combatant.
Bred in Virginia by Audley Farm Equine, Greyvitos was bought at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale for $100,000 by Michele Boghossian’s Triple B Farms.
Greyvitos’ distaff pedigree suggests he’d be better on turf than dirt. His dam is Snow Top Mountain (Najran), a dual grade three winner on turf who also finished second in the Garden City Stakes (G1) on turf at Belmont Park.
Snow Top Mountain’s dam, the unraced Storm Cat mare Motokiks, produced two other turf graded stakes winners – Diversy Harbor (Curlin), winner of the Buena Vista Stakes (G2), and Keertana (Johar), who won five grade three races and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) over 1 3/8 miles.
Greyvitos’ sire, Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy), however, has been primarily a sire of dirt horses. Though Malibu Moon’s dam is the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) winner Macoumba (Mr Prospector), all 14 of his grade one winners as of mid-December 2017 scored their top-level successes on dirt.
The pedigree suggests Greyvitos should be able to stay 1 ¼ miles in the Kentucky Derby if he makes the field. Malibu Moon has already sired a Kentucky Derby winner in Orb, and most of the black type form on his female family has been around 1 1/8 miles, and occasionally beyond.
Greyvitos wasn’t made an individual choice for punters in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager in late November despite his Bob Hope Stakes victory. He’ll be one of the horses people who took the “all others” option – which ended up at odds of 6-5 at the close of betting – will be looking toward. He’s definitely worth following as the Kentucky Derby prep races continue.