The top-heavy field at the 2017 Springboard Mile felt closer on paper than it did on the track. This battle of two-year-old colts was won by Greyvitos, a sentimental and outright favorite who took command of the race early on in the second turn and didn’t even bother to look back. It was a heartwarming triumph for a horse that managed to survive the San Luis Rey Training Center fires that took the lives of 25 horses earlier this month.
Major Brown took the field out with early fractions of :23.51 and :47.16 but was overtaken by Greyvitos at the three-quarter pole. The Alan Kitchingman trainee stormed to the lead and galloped out to victory unscathed and untouched as his connections celebrated the emotional win the entire way down the homestretch. Greyvitos took the 2017 Springboard Mile in a final time of 1:37.14 and earned 10 derby points as well.
Combatant came second as the outright favorite with 2/1 odds, while Kingsville was the shocker of the day in third place with 86/1 odds. Greyvitos paid out $8.00 with the win as one of two 3/1 second choices.
This was also a massively disappointing outing for two other horses who never factored. Redatory looked to be in fine form out of the first turn as an 8/1 outsider but never got going and faded all the way back to 10th, while Believe In Royalty was the co-second choice at 3/1 but finished 5th.
Trainer Alan Kitchingman noted that the 2017 Springboard Mile was a difficult challenge given the tragedy that befell the team on December 7th when wildfires destroyed the SAn Luis Rey Training Center and left an unimaginable nightmare in its wake. “When you have a horse like this, with a small barn, there’s a lot of pressure,” said Kitchingman. “We’ll back off a little bit. I can’t imagine running until February. Now is the time to give him a rest, because in his 3-year-old year, the races are only going to get tougher.”
The 2017 Springboard Mile winner was purchased for $100,000 as a yearling and has already returned over $300K in earnings due to two Grade-III stakes victories. He’ll be one to watch on the Santa Anita Derby trail as we head in to the 2018 season, and we’ll see if the sentimentality that fueled massive public intrigue on this horse over the weekend will hold true when he steps up a grade in the coming months.