Enola Gray

She was not hard to spot on a racetrack.

First, she had a gray coat that stood out in a field that might contain several bay, brown or chestnut horses.

And second, she could usually be found in early contention, if not on the lead. And when she won, she did so with style.

Enola Gray showed that penchant for style from the start. Teaming with Tyler Baze (who rode her in most of her starts), the Cal-bred daughter of Grazen was firmly in charge when she debuted at Santa Anita in the spring of 2016. Already with a wide lead in the far turn, the Phil D'Amato trainee thoroughly outclassed her rivals by double digits when she appeared before the camera. The performance was so dominating she was promptly sent to stakes company, not the easiest of class jumps.

But Enola Gray showed she was more than ready for that caliber of horses. The overwhelming favorite in the Melair Stakes at 1-10, Enola Gray took little time in becoming a stakes winner. Already in command in the clubhouse turn, she bested everyone in the mile and one-sixteenth contest. From that point on, Enola Gray would never again race in anything but the stakes ranks.

Now two-for-two overall, she made it two-for-two in stakes when she turned in a performance similar to her debut in Del Mar's Fleet Treat Stakes later that summer, winning again by several lengths, and that put her on a nice run of consistency that would carry well into 2017.

Enola Gray never finished outside the top three the rest of the year, and picked up her first turf win in Santa Anita's California Distaff Handicap on Santa Anita's hillside turf course. About the only thing she did not do was win against open company. She came close in the Beverly J. Lewis at Los Alamitos, where she took second (and might have won with more distance), and scored a minor placing in the Grade I La Brea at Santa Anita. But she was still a winner, for she was named Champion Cal-bred Three-Year-Old Female at the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Awards for 2016.

When it came to surfaces, it cannot be disputed that Enola Gray loved racing over the hillside turf at Santa Anita. She began 2017 by winning the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint and Irish O'Brien stakes on that course before experiencing her first off the board finish in the Grade II Monrovia on that same strip of grass. But she rebounded nicely after that in the Grade III Wilshire Stakes.

Tasked with going a mile on the Santa Anita turf, Enola Gray did more than come back from the worst finish of her career. Taking the lead before reaching the wire for the first time, Enola Gray was never headed the rest of the way as easily scored her first graded win while taking down open company for her biggest win ever. And she did so in a very swift time of 1:33.03. Once more, the style was there.

Enola Gray raced one more time after the Wilshire. Coming off a layoff, she was fourth in the Grade II Royal Heroine in April 2018. But that result is nothing more than a footnote in this Cal-bred's career.

She won seven of twelve races, six of them being stakes. She also collected two seconds and a third, each of those coming in stakes as well. She could adapt to dirt and turf, and handled going short and long like her sire did.

But Enola Gray was also an exciting horse, one who could produce electrifying runs in the stretch. Easy to root for, she earned every victory that came her way, and she crafted a career that saw her become a paragon on the racetrack.

Entry added July 5, 2021 by AF.