Of all the horses at Old Friends, Easy Grades has seen some of the most remarkable ups and downs. In his first public appearance, the Barrett’s sale of two year olds in training, he distinguished himself by throwing his rider and running off. From there, things could only get better, but how much better few could have guessed.
He began his winning ways on the grass at Santa Anita, and ran so strongly that then-owners Desperado Stables put him on the Derby trail. Seconds in the San Rafael (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) earned him a place among the best of the best. On 4 May 2002, Easy Grades proudly paraded past a crowd at Churchill Downs to take his place in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby. Luck wasn’t with him that day, but he did well during the summer, including a nice win at Del Mar where he prevailed even though other horses forced him to veer far to the outside.
But his four year old campaign was less glowing. By 2005, the hard-trying gelding was still earning, but only at claiming levels. By 2007, he was experiencing problems competing at all and in November 2008 he returned to Churchill Downs. On the track where he had once run for the roses, the 9 year old Easy Grades could no longer win against $5,000 claimers. Old Friends supporter Cathy Riccio Bowlds contacted his connections. Trainer David Vance, assistant trainer Trish Vance and owner TBS Farms generously rewarded Easy Grades for his 7 game years on the track, donating him to Old Friends in January 2009.
Watching the kind-natured gelding munching grass with his paddock mates, we feel honored to provide a home to this former Derby horse and all-around gutsy athlete.
64 Starts, 11 Wins, 14 Places, 5 Shows. Career Earnings: $559,744
2nd in the San Rafael (G2) at Santa Anita in 2002, 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in 2002, ran in the Kentucky Derby 2002
Continued racing to the age of 10 on the west coast and in the east. Joined Old Friends: January 2009
Joined Old Friends: