“Grady is a horse who was always getting attention, even when he wasn’t trying to,” says longtime Maryland horseman Andi Puckett with a chuckle.
And when Off-Track Thoroughbreds erroneously reported a few weeks ago that her well-known racehorse, who aggressively battled his way through 104 lifetime starts to earn $785,436, had turned up on Craig’s list, and was purchased by an Ohio woman, Puckett said she knew immediately what had happened.
“I’ve been in the horse business for a long time, and I’ve seen horses being misidentified before,” Puckett says. “I once met someone who insisted they had Two Punch, the famous stallion. I told them they might have a Two Punch, the son or grandson of the Two Punch, but that they didn’t have Two Punch.”
Sire: Prospectors Gamble
Foal date: Jan. 10,1995
Earnings: $785,436, 104 startsSo when a well-meaning friend notified Puckett that her quirky and beloved ex-racehorse Grady, long retired on the Maryland farm she owns with her husband Dwight, appeared to be living a double life in Ohio, Puckett, with merriment and graciousness reassured her friends and concerned horse fans that it was not her Grady, but rather a different Grady. One purchased three years ago by Joan Jerauld of central Ohio.
Grady the war horse
The famous Grady is now living in his own three-acre pasture—by himself, as he prefers it, and takes occasional hacks with Puckett. In his heyday, he was a mean fighting machine on the racetrack, most notably running down Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet in the 1997 Indian Nations Futurity Cup.
Thinking of her great horse’s life on the track sends Puckett happily down Memory Lane.
On the track, Grady was “the boss” of his own race, she says. You could hit him twice with a crop, but try a third time, and Grady would duck out and quit. He never wanted to run out in the clear. He wanted to be in with all the action, boxed in if possible!
“He was always one of the first horses out of the gate, but then he’d suck back to last place. He wouldn’t start running until he got to the top of the stretch, and then he’d take off,” Puckett says. “He wanted to be on the inside, in traffic, and he wanted to bump other horses. He wanted that action, that battle.”
Off the track, in retirement on the Puckett farm, Grady had no interest in cantering on the lunge line, or around a riding ring, she says.
“He hated lunging. He’d take two turns around, stop and just look at me like, ‘What are we doing?’ And working in the ring, he was bored. All he wants to do is go for walks. He likes taking trail rides and looking around. He’s very content. He likes to be groomed and fed peppermints.”
Peppermints and an enjoyment of grooming routines are two things both Gradys adore; however, the similarities end there.
Grady of Ohio
Jerauld’s 17.1-hand bay towers over the famous Grady, who is approximately 15.2 hands. And compared to the fierce racehorse, the Ohioan with the same name is a mellow guy happy to give pony rides.
Jerauld purchased Grady after reading his advertisement on Craig’s List.
“I saw Grady on Craig’s List and I think it was his story that made me want to go see him,” Jerauld says in an earlier interview with Off-TrackThoroughbreds. She believed the famous war horse was now on Craig’s List, and felt a little sorry for the old gent.
So on an oppressive summer day she drove out to the Ohio location where he was kept and took a test ride. He was perfect for her. She bought him on the spot.
Taking Grady was something she did to help the horse, and herself. Jerauld had survived two physical battles in 2009, first a broken hip sustained when she was knocked over by a horse, and later a diagnosis of B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. With the chemotherapy treatment behind her, Jerauld decided her next chapter in life would include the well-mannered 17.1-hand bay with white blaze.
When Jerauld later learned that her Grady was not the famous one, any disappointment or surprise she felt at first was quickly alleviated. After speaking with Puckett at length by phone, and sharing some laughs as they discussed their two horses, Jerauld came away from the experience feeling even more determined to uncover the identity of her Grady.
Estimated to be around 20 years old, Grady’s faded lip-tattoo, which is largely unreadable, was once guessed at by her veterinarian, who wrote the number as: 17350. Plugging in a combination of some of those numbers with a combination of birth years and her horse’s identifying marks, Jerauld has found a handful of horses who seem to match.
Though her Grady did not turn out be the fierce racehorse she thought she had, he did turn out to be the finest one for her family. “After talking with Andi I’ve decided I got the best one!” she says. “I can throw my grandchildren on my horse and trust him with them.”
And Puckett’s Grady, though never one to give pony rides, has won a permanent place in the hearts of the Puckett family. “He’s just a cool horse with a big personality,” she says. “Nothing bad is going to happen to this horse, no yahoo is going to claim this horse, and he’s not going to disappear.”
The story of the two Gradys even made Puckett laugh a little.
“I was talking with the wife of the man Grady was named after (Grady Sanders) and we were saying it’s unbelievable. This horse gets attention, even when he’s not trying!” ♥