Grooms All Bizness Comeback Winner of Jim McKay Turf Sprint

Five-Furlong Dash Marked First Race in Nine Months for New Gelding

LAUREL, MD – Colts Neck Stables’ Grooms All Bizness, racing for the first time in nine months and as a gelding, powered through the stretch on the far outside to catch multiple-stakes winner Witty and edge clear by 1 ½ lengths in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint Saturday at historic Pimlico Race Course.

The 19th running of the McKay, a five-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up, was the seventh of nine stakes, five graded, worth $3.3 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program headlined by the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

For the victory, Grooms All Bizness earned automatic entry and travel incentive to the My Pension Export July Cup (G1) July 13 at Newmarket Racecourse in England.

Trained by Jorge Duarte Jr. and ridden by Jorge Ruiz, who registered three wins on Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Day program, Grooms All Bizness ($13.60) covered the distance in 1:01.08 over a turf course rated soft.

Boat’s a Rockin, making his season debut, was eager for the lead and held it through an opening quarter-mile in 23.13 seconds, with 2022 Turf Monster (G3) winner That’s Right leading a tight pack in pursuit. Witty, a three-time stakes winner on both grass and dirt, was content to race off the pace and wait to make his usual late run.

Moving into the stretch Boat’s a Rockin remained in front as 19-1 longshot Smooth B and defending champion and 5-2 favorite Beer Can Man loomed a threat while Witty began to roll further outside. Ruiz, who looked to split the two horses until they came together in mid-stretch, had to alter course to come around Witty before getting up with a dramatic late surge.

Witty was second, a length ahead of Smooth B. It was 1 ½ lengths back to Where’s Ray in fourth followed by Beer Can Man, Hunter Joe, Boat’s a Rockin, 2022 McKay winner Carotari, Surprise Boss and That’s Right. Mid Day Image was scratched.

Grooms All Bizness had not started since finishing third, beaten a half-length as the favorite, in the 5 ½-furlong Select last August at Monmouth Park. Prior to that, the 5-year-old son of Fed Biz won Monmouth’s Get Serious sprinting five furlongs. Grooms All Bizness has now finished third or better in 10 of 13 career starts, five of them wins.

The Jim McKay Turf Sprint pays homage to the late Hall of Fame broadcaster and Philadelphia native who considered Baltimore his home. McKay first gained notoriety as host of ABC’s ‘Wide World of Sports’ in 1961 and then wide acclaim as voice of the Olympics, winning 13 Emmy Awards and the Eclipse Award of Merit. He was instrumental in conceiving and launching the groundbreaking Maryland Million in 1986 and passed away in 2008 at 86.


Winning Trainer Jorge Duarte Jr. (Grooms All Bizness): “I would like to thank Jorge Duarte for giving me the opportunity to ride in this stakes. I was very excited to ride this horse. There was a lot of speed in this race. I was just hoping that the leaders would slow down. At one point, I had no room to go, so I waited and waited. When I had room, we took off and finished well.”

Winning Jockey Jorge Duarte (Grooms All Bizness): “He’s a horse that’s been very consistent. I raced the mare. She was ultra-consistent, as well. This guy’s historically done well on the soft going. We felt good going in.”

“Towards the end of the year he need a little break, so we did the right thing by the horse.”

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