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First Foal Out of I'm a Chatterbox Wins at Laurel Park

After Figlio Del Re finished last in his debut on turf, a switch made the difference.

Figlio Del Re (inside) wins at Laurel Park

Figlio Del Re (inside) wins at Laurel Park

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

Fletcher and Carolyn Gray's Figlio Del Re, a Galileo colt who is the first foal out of the Grays grade 1-winning mare I'm a Chatterbox, won his second start Oct. 22 after finishing last of eight in his Sept. 18 debut on turf at Belmont Park.

In Friday's dirt test, the colt fought back nearing the wire in a seven-furlong maiden test at Laurel Park to win by a neck.

Trained by Graham Motion, Figlio Del Re's first start was also at seven furlongs, but on firm turf under Jose Ortiz. The colt floundered a bit after racing in fourth through the early stages, and then faltered after taking aim at the front while rounding the turn. He ended up fading to finish far back.

"You would just kind of assume that maybe he'd like the grass since he's by Galileo," Carolyn Gray said. "But really, Graham had no explanation for that first race. He said, 'I think what we need to do is regroup.'

"He's been training at Fair Hill so he's been on the dirt quite a bit," she said. "He's done well with that, but we all were in agreement that he should try the turf. But he may go to his mama's side, and actually we tried her on the turf once and she didn't like it at all."

In Friday's race, Figlio Del Re was ridden by Feargal Lynch who put the colt on the lead to set fractions of :22.77, :46.31, and 1:11.82 through six furlongs. In the stretch, Figlio Del Re looked to be beaten as he was passed and 1 1/2 lengths back, but the colt rebounded and got up in the final strides to win in 1:25.43 on the fast track.

"I didn't tell Feargal what to do," Motion said. "He'd worked him for me … I kind of had a feeling he would be on the lead because I thought he'd have to go from the inside. And he's pretty sharp from the gate.

"I thought he was very game today. It was a complete turnaround," he continued. "I tried him on the grass first time because it kind of made sense being by that stallion. I tend to like starting my 2-year-olds on the grass just because it's easier on them—they don't get all the kick back … We had to do something completely different, and he had a couple of sharp works; I put some blinkers on him. He's really bred for stamina so it's almost a bonus what he's able to do at this stage.

"I was just surprised at how poorly he ran in his first race," he laughed.

I'm a Chatterbox, who was also bred by the Grays, won eight of her 19 starts and accumulated $2,354,454. She won her first top-level race in the 2015 Cotillion Stakes (G1) after placing second or third in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), and the Alabama Stakes (G1). She went on to win the 2016 Delaware Handicap (G1) and Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1).