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Channing Hill was aboard Gray Attempt for the first time in a 5-furlong workout Wednesday morning at Oaklawn Park, but horse and rider already had a little history.

Hill, riding Manny Wah for his father-in-law, trainer Wayne Catalano, finished second to Gray Attempt in the $75,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Gray Attempt was a front-running length winner in his stakes debut for trainer Jinks Fires, of Hot Springs, and owner Dwight Pruett, of Texarkana.

"I don't feel as bad after getting beat by him the other day," Hill said moments after the breezing the colt. "I don't feel as bad now.

"I don't get too many spots at the top of the lane where I think I'm the winner and I'm wrong. I was dead wrong the other day. I thought I had him at every stage."

Breezing for the first time since the Sugar Bowl, Gray Attempt went in 1:01.60 over a fast track, galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13.60 and 7 furlongs in 1:27.40. Fires is pointing Gray Attempt for the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 25, a 1-mile race that is Oaklawn's first of four major Kentucky Derby preps.

"He's a lot of class," Hill said. "I don't think Jinks will have any issue going two turns with him."

Gray Attempt was ridden in the Sugar Bowl by Shaun Bridgmohan. A winner of 2 of 3 career starts, Gray Attempt has never raced around two turns.

Nominations to the Smarty Jones close Thursday, with post positions to be drawn Jan. 18. Nominations to the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters on Jan. 26 also closed Thursday.

Trainer Paul Holthus, of Hot Springs, said Six Shooter also returned to the track Wednesday morning at Oaklawn to begin preparations for the Smarty Jones.

A gelded son of Trappe Shot, Six Shooter has flourished since being claimed for $20,000 out of his Sept. 20 career debut at Churchill Downs. Under Holthus' care, Six Shooter broke his maiden Oct. 17 at Indiana Grand, was a Nov. 25 allowance winner at Churchill Downs and captured the $75,000 Big Drama Stakes Saturday night at Delta Downs Racetrack in Louisiana.

Six Shooter ($5.20) won the 7 1/2-furlong Big Drama by 1 1/4 lengths after receiving a rail-skimming ride by Tommy Pompell.

"He ran a good race," Holthus said Thursday morning.

Six Shooter was coming off a troubled 11th in the $400,000 Springboard Mile Dec. 16 at Remington Park. Six Shooter, who had recorded a half-mile bullet workout (:47.80) Dec. 10 at Oaklawn, was bumped in mid-stretch after making a four-wide move toward the leaders on the second turn.

"It was a funky, weird-run race," Holthus said. "I'm not real sure what happened. I still think he's a good enough horse to compete with those horses. He was two lengths off the lead at the eighth pole and he just got completely sawed off."

Six Shooter races for Holthus and wife Nancy (N P H Stable), Dundalk 5 LLC (Tim Kindlon) and Wes Herek. The gelding has a 3-0-3 record from seven starts and lifetime earnings of $123,850.

Sports on 01/11/2019

Print Headline: Gray Attempt, Six Shooter pointing for Smarty Jones

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