Chad Brown gets interviewed after winning a stakes race at Keeneland (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
There’s no guarantee that Chad Brown will be the most successful trainer at this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup, but he certainly will be the busiest.
Brown pre-entered 11 horses in the 14 Breeders’ Cup races and in all likelihood will be represented by 10 starters.
While that might be less than the record 17 BC starters Todd Pletcher had in 2006, it is nonetheless a full plate for anyone, especially when in one of those races – the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf – Brown and his staff will need more arms than an octopus to saddle four starters.
It may take a village to raise a child, but at the Breeders’ Cup it usually takes a highly efficient team to turn the hopes and dreams of Grade 1 success into unforgettable celebrations in the winner’s circle – and Brown is well-positioned in that regard.
“I have a really great staff and that’s the key ingredient in dealing with the strain of having that many starters,” said the 34-year-old Brown, who had just 13 BC starters heading into this year. “When you have quality people working with you it makes it easier to execute all of your plans.”
Brown credits the work of assistant trainers Jorge Abreu, Jose Hernandez and Cherie DeVaux as playing a key role in this year’s development of numerous graded stakes-caliber runners. Their attention to detail coupled with a keen ability to adhere to Brown’s training regimen and bring out the best in the stable’s horses has made 2013 such a tremendous success story for Team Brown.
“This year has been a great credit to the entire team, including the exercise riders, the foremans, everyone,” said Brown, a former assistant to Bobby Frankel. “Through everything they’ve done week in and week out, it’s been another career year here.”
A year ago, Brown captured his second Breeders’ Cup second win when Zagora took the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and he did it with “only” six starters in the two-day series. He also finished fifth in 2012 earnings with $11,060,710 and 17th in wins with 138.
This year, reflective of the overflow crowd Brown is bringing to Santa Anita, he has already amassed more earnings than he did a year ago with $11,500,541 through Oct. 27, putting him third on the list. He is also 13th with 129 wins.
With more talent in the barn, Brown is taking much more of a shotgun approach to bagging Breeders’ Cup glory. While he did not want to classify one or two of his horses as the ones most likely to prevail in the world championships, there are a few that stand out above the others.
In the highly competitive Breeders’ Cup Turf on Saturday, Brown has a dangerous 1-2 punch in Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Real Solution and Big Blue Kitten. Both won Grade 1 stakes on the turf during a memorable Aug.17 afternoon for Brown and the Ramseys as the day saw Real Solution take the Arlington Million via disqualification and Big Blue Kitten win the Sword Dancer.
Both were last seen in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. The two Ramsey horses made menacing bids in the stretch but couldn’t get past 2012 BC Turf winner Little Mike as Big Blue Kitten lost by a nose and Real Solution wound up third, a length behind the top two.
Brown will be hoping for a dose of déjà vu in the BC Filly and Mare Turf as he will send out Alterite, who has a familiar ring to her. Like Zagora, who was imported from Europe by owner Martin Schwartz, Alterite is also owned by Schwartz and started her career in Europe.
Alterite is coming into the BC Filly and Mare Turf in a promising manner after winning the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont Park in her U.S. debut and then finishing a game second in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.
“I can’t imagine how Alterite could work any better for this race,” Brown said. “Ideally I’d like a little more time between starts, but she’s doing sensational.”
Brown has one of the horses to beat in Friday’s BC Juvenile Turf with Bobby’s Kitten, a six-length winner of the Grade 3 Pilgrim in his last start, and will have his ability to multi-task challenged in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf where he’ll be represented by a mix of quantity and quality in a race with some sentimental attachment for him. In 2008, Maram won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf to give Brown his first Breeders’ Cup Triumph.
MARAM WAS THE START OF A GROUP OF WINNERS FOR BROWN
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
His quartet in Friday’s mile turf race includes Grade 3 Jessamine winner Kitten Kaboodle, Testa Rossi, who took the G3 Miss Grillo, Granny Mc’s Kitten, who was fourth in the Miss Grillo, and Ready to Act, who was favored in the G2 Natalma and leading in mid-stretch when she veered in and lost her rider.
It’s a strong hand for a trainer to hold in any race, and an even more astonishing one in a Breeders’ Cup race. Some trainers might not saddle four Breeders’ Cup starters in a decade, while Brown will do it in a single race.
Amazing, isn’t it, to see what can happen when you have the right team on your side.