2024 Triple Crown Prospect Profiles: Preakness Stakes Winner Seize the Grey

Seize the Grey Preakness Stakes Belmont Triple Crown D. Wayne Lukas MyRacehorse Jaime Torres racehorse speed figure pedigree Saratoga Pimlico Arrogate breeding sire horse racing
Seize the Grey won the Preakness Stakes May 18 at Pimlico in front-running fashion under jockey Jaime Torres. (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Welcome to 2024 Triple Crown Prospect Profiles, where we’ll take a look each week at a recent winner on the U.S. Classics trail, with the focus this week on last week’s Preakness Stakes and the upcoming 156th running of the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

The field for the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Stakes is expected to include multiple runners who participated in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve May 4 at Churchill Downs, including runner-up Sierra Leone. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas also said he plans to send Preakness Stakes winner Seize the Grey to the Belmont Stakes, provided the colt continues to do well after his victory in the $2 million middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

So this week, we’ll take a closer look at Seize the Grey, the front-running winner of the Preakness May 18 at Pimlico, and evaluate his chances to score a second classic win in the Belmont Stakes.

seize the grey

Gray or Roan Colt

Sire (father): Arrogate

Dam (mother): Smart Shopping, by Smart Strike

Owner: MyRacehorse

Breeder: Jamm Ltd. (Ky.) 

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Racing Résumé: Seize the Grey added a marquee victory to his credentials with a 2 ¼-length win in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes. He opened a two-length lead through a solid half-mile in :47.33 under jockey Jaime Torres, turned back Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan’s bid entering the stretch, and powered away to a dominant win in the second jewel of the U.S. Triple Crown.

Seize the Grey finished his final eighth of a mile in :13.02 and final quarter-mile in :25.66, according to Equibase’s GPS chart. Neither time is especially fast, but given the muddy conditions and the fact that Seize the Grey set the pace, it is notable that only one horse in the race finished faster. Catching Freedom clocked a final eighth of a mile in :12.84 after he was reserved seven lengths back after a half-mile but never came close to threatening Seize the Grey in the stretch.

Performances on “off” tracks can sometimes be a bit misleading but, if anything, Seize the Grey’s win might be more impressive than it initially appeared. Unlike some of the other Preakness contenders, Seize the Grey did not have an advantage in terms of rest on runner-up Mystik Dan (the Kentucky Derby winner) and third-place finisher Catching Freedom as he also came back off of two weeks rest, having won the Pat Day Stakes Presented by SAP on the Derby undercard.

Seize the Grey won for the fourth time overall in 10 starts and improved to three wins in five races in 2024. His two losses this year were a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on the all-weather surface at Turfway Park and a well-beaten seventh-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

Both of those races were at 1 1/8 miles, which is why trainer D. Wayne Lukas cut him back to a mile to contest the Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard. But it appears it was the circumstances in those races, not the distance, that was the issue. He was wide while racing on an all-weather surface in the Jeff Ruby and he got pinched back early in the Blue Grass Stakes, dropping well off the pace, and then was forced to race wide again on both turns.

Seize the Grey benefitted from much better trips in the Pat Day Mile and Preakness Stakes and it made a huge difference. Racehorses can improve significantly in the first half of their 3-year-old seasons and Seize the Grey appears to have done just that.

Looking ahead to the Belmont Stakes, the final classic will be shortened to 1 ¼ miles and switched to Saratoga Race Course this year because of construction at Belmont Park. Seize the Grey has a front-running win on the Saratoga main track in a maiden race and a third-place finish in a stakes race, both last summer as a 2-year-old.

Speed Figures: Seize the Grey needed to take a step forward in terms of speed figures to be a viable win contender in the Preakness and he did so, earning a career-top 101 Equibase Speed Figure and 100 Beyer Speed Figure. Prior to that, he had been fairly consistent this season in five starts. His Equibase line shows an eight-point jump: 90-93-91-93-101. His line of Beyer Speed Figures through five starts in 2024 – 82-85-82-88-100 – suggests the Preakness was a significant 12-point improvement. In order to be a win candidate in the Belmont Stakes, Seize the Grey very likely will have to duplicate or better those career-best figures on three weeks of rest.

Running Style: Seize the Grey’s four wins have all come when setting the pace or tracking within a couple of lengths. He’s best when using his tactical speed to his advantage. His three unplaced finishes came in races where he was fifth or worse early and more than 4 ¾ lengths off the pace. He has run well in a couple of races when rallying from off the pace, but Seize the Grey looks like a much better racehorse when he is on or near the lead.

Connections: MyRacehorse, founded in 2018 by Michael Behrens, offers ownership opportunities at the micro-share level. MyRacehorse was a minority owner of 2020 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Authentic and struck lightning again in 2024 with Seize the Grey, owned solely by MyRacehorse.

While partnering to buy a racehorse with a handful of friends is nearly impossible for most people when you are talking about six- and seven-figure sums, MyRacehorse allows people to purchase fractional shares of Thoroughbred for about $100. In Seize the Grey’s case, he has 2,570 owners from 42 different states who paid $127 a share and now own a Preakness winner.

‘The Coach’ and Seize the Grey the day after the Preakness. (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, 88, trains Seize the Grey for MyRacehorse. Lukas is a four-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding trainer who was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1999. Lukas won his first U.S. Triple Crown race in the 1980 Preakness with Codex. He’s now won the Preakness seven times along with four Kentucky Derby wins and three victories in the Belmont Stakes. He is nicknamed “The Coach” primarily because he was a former basketball coach but also because so many of his assistants have gone on to great success, such as fellow Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher. In addition to his Triple Crown success, Lukas counts 20 Breeders’ Cup victories among his more than 4,900 career wins as a trainer.

On the opposite end of the age spectrum is Seize the Grey’s rider Jaime Torres, 25, who has only been riding for 4 ½ years and earned his first career graded stakes win aboard Seize the Grey in the Pat Day Mile. The Puerto Rico native rode his first race as a professional in the U.S. in August 2022 and now has a Preakness Stakes victory on his résumé.

Pedigree Notes: Seize the Grey is from the last of three crops of 2016 champion 3-year-old male Arrogate, winner of the 2016 Travers Stakes, 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and 2017 Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup, all at 1 ¼ miles. He also won the  $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at 1 1/8 miles in 2017. In addition to Seize the Grey, Arrogate has sired 2023 Belmont and Travers Stakes winner Arcangelo, last year’s champion 3-year-old male; 2022 Longines Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath, and Grade 1 winners Cave Rock, Fun to Dream, and And Tell Me Nolies. Arrogate died in 2020 at age 7.

Seize the Grey was produced by the Smart Strike mare Smart Shopping, who won one of four starts and placed in the one-mile and 40-yard Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Smart Shopping is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire) to Grade 1 winner Power Broker and stakes winner Fierce Boots.

Belmont Stakes Potential: Last year, I thought front-running Preakness winner National Treasure would be overrated entering the Belmont Stakes, but this year I think the opposite could be the case with Seize the Grey. Many will probably dismiss the Preakness win as aided by the muddy track and lack of pressure while setting the pace, and there is some truth to that. But I don’t view Seize the Grey’s Preakness win as a fluke. He’s been very good this year as a 3-year-old when he has gotten the right trip, and I expect Torres and Lukas to be aggressive early with their charge in the 1 ¼-mile – it feels weird to type that – Belmont Stakes.

Tactical speed is a valuable asset in these two-turn races and Seize the Grey has a ton of foundation with 10 career starts, including five this year. Provided he comes out of the Preakness in good order, he should be ultra-fit. Don’t expect $21.60 again in the Belmont Stakes for a $2 win bet, but with a performance similar to his Preakness win Seize the Grey is a legitimate contender in the Belmont Stakes and he might again offer solid odds.

His Hall of Fame trainer sure sounds confident: “If they are going to beat him, they may want to extend it back to a mile and a half,” Lukas said in reference to the Belmont Stakes being a mile-and-a-quarter race at Saratoga. “If we go [to the Belmont], he’ll  be tough. He can get a mile and a quarter.”

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