These days, it’s all about Chad.
Chad Brown heads into Father’s Day following a remarkable three-day run at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival – and the three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer didn’t even have a horse in the Belmont Stakes.
Sporting expensive, tailor-made suits, the 40-year-old Brown strolled in and out of the Belmont Park winner’s circle seven times in 18 stakes races at the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from June 6-8. His biggest scores occurred last Saturday, when he won three Grade 1 races — the $1 million Manhattan with the sensational Bricks and Mortar, the $700,000 Acorn with second-time starter Guarana and the $700,000 Just A Game with nearly perfect Rushing Fall.
And by the way, his horses also ran second and third in the Manhattan (Robert Bruce, Raging Bull). On Thursday, he saddled a pair of Grade 3 winners: Cambier Parc in the Wonder Again (his Newspaperofrecord was second); and Significant Form in the Intercontinental. On Friday, there were two more stakes wins: the Bed o’ Roses (G3) with Separationsofpowers; and the New York Stakes (G2) with Homerique (his Competitionofideas was second).
While Sir Winston was pulling an upset in the Belmont Stakes, Brown was soaking in the success that has him right at the head of the class of trainers. Through races of Friday, June 14, Brown ranked second in earnings with one third the number of horses and half the winners sent out by leader Steve Asmussen (947-305 in starts, 184-92 in victories). Asmussen tops the earnings list at $12,495,272; Brown is close behind at $12,217,026.
As he often does, Brown shares the credit with his assistants and everyone else in his barn.
“My staff does all the work. I’m giving the interview, but it’s remarkable the work they put in,’’ he said after his sweep in the Manhattan. “This is what it’s all about, getting to the big weekends.”
No longer does he need to be referred to as Mechanicville native Chad Brown (he grew up in the town located near Saratoga Springs). In his 12th year as a trainer, Brown practices what his mentor, the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel, taught him: Hard work pays off.
Brown has to be considered the top turf trainer in the universe – and that’s saying a lot since turf races are much more plentiful worldwide than in the United States. He’s rated second in the latest TRC Global Rankings, ahead of Aidan O’Brien and just behind Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby.
Of his seven stakes wins last week at Belmont, five came on the turf. Even though he’s won a Preakness (Cloud Computing, 2017) and finished second in the Kentucky Derby (Good Magic, 2018) and Belmont (Gronkowski, 2018), he’s the go-to turf guy. In the Breeders’ Cup, 10 of Brown’s 12 wins have been on the turf.
He’s won the past three Eclipse Awards as the nation’s outstanding trainer, leading the pack in earnings each year. In addition to top-ranked Bricks and Mortar this year, other stars over the years included Beach Patrol, Flintshire, Stephanie’s Kitten, Good Magic, Lady Eli, and Big Blue Kitten.
With four horses entered Saturday and Sunday, Brown may just be able to enjoy Father’s Day with his wife and two daughters. He does have a hand in the Poker Stakes (G3) on Sunday at Belmont, though, with Ticonderoga.
As for what’s next for his runners from last week, look for the trio of Bricks and Mortar, Robert Bruce and Raging Bull to show up in the Arlington Million (G1) and Rushing Fall, Homerique and Competitionofideas possible for the Beverly D (G1), both on Aug. 10. Guarana, a filly with such promise that jockey Jose Ortiz took off Serengeti Empress to ride the maiden in the Acorn, could wind up in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on July 20 or The Test (G1) on Aug. 3, both at Saratoga.
His highlight from last week? A sweep in the prestigious Manhattan.
“This ranks right up there. I have to digest it first but it’s certainly way up there,’’ he said. “I hold this race in such high regard. To run 1-2-3 in it really points out how fortunate I am to have so many talented horses in my barn. To see the others be not far from Bricks and Mortar gives us hope they are going to have really good years as well.”
And, for a trainer who dominates in turf races, he was effusive in praising Rushing Fall, now eight of nine after her Just A Game victory.
“Brilliant performance, probably her best to date. She’s nearly unbeaten. One of the greatest turf mares I’ve trained, for sure,’’ he said, adding the Diana (G1) at Saratoga on July 13 would be a logical next start.
Over the years while working at The Associated Press, Rich Rosenblatt became a familiar name to legions of the horse racing fans and industry insiders with his award-winning articles on horse racing and his stories from the backstretch.
In addition to being an astute observer of sports, Rosenblatt is the co-author of The All-American Chili Cookbook. His work has been seen in just about every publication in the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine.