BRASS HAT AIMING AT CHURCHILL'S CLARK HANDICAP
Brass Hat will make his next start by switching back to dirt and turning back in distance in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap on Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs, trainer Buff Bradley said Friday.
Brass Hat, an earner of nearly $2.2 million, posted a thrilling last-to-first score in his last race, the Oct. 21 Sycamore Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on the Keeneland turf.
'There aren't a whole lot of other spots for him,' said Bradley. 'This is his home track, and he always trains well over the dirt, so we thought we might as well give it a try.'
Calvin Borel will have the mount back aboard Brass Hat in the $500,000 Clark, a 1 1/8-mile race on the main track. Borel was aboard for the gelding's first work since the Sycamore when Brass Hat went five furlongs Friday in 1:00.80.
As a 9-year-old gelding, Brass Hat has become a true fan favorite, and the Sycamore triumph brought an outpouring of emotion. Bradley said he was overwhelmed by the response from family members and friends.
'It'd be great to have something like that happen here at Churchill,' he said.
Nominations for the Clark, one of four graded stakes on closing weekend of the meet (Nov. 25-28), were released Friday. The top names include Dakota Phone and Morning Line, the one-two finishers in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, and Apart, winner of the Nov. 5 Ack Ack for trainer Al Stall Jr. Other notables include Redding Colliery, Successful Dan, and three also-rans from the BC Classic: Etched (sixth), First Dude (eighth), and Pleasant Prince (ninth).
The other big races on closing weekend are the Falls City for fillies and mares on Nov. 25, and the twin 2-year-old stakes, the Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod, on Nov. 27.
A terrific renewal of the Grade 2, $175,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes looms for next Saturday, Nov. 20, if the nominations list means anything. Among the 36 3-year-old fillies eligible to the 1 1/16-mile turf race are Aruna, Fugitive Angel, Gitchee Goomie, and Sugar Again, all of them stakes winners in their last start. The Mrs. Revere will be the last stakes here before closing weekend.
Robby Albarado became the fifth jockey in Churchill history to win 900 races here when he guided front-running Strike Impact to victory in the sixth race Friday. Through Friday, Albarado, 37, follows Pat Day (2,482), Borel (1,030), Don Brumfield (925), and Larry Melancon (914) in Churchill wins.
Irwin Rosendo is a recent arrival to the Churchill jockey colony from Delaware Park, where he was the fourth-leading rider this year with 80 wins. Rosendo has hired agent Steve Elzey, who also is working for Rosemary Homeister Jr. All three will move to Tampa Bay Downs after this meet ends.
On the Kentucky worktab
Multiple Grade 2-placed stakes winner GIANT OAK (Giant's Causeway), who was placed fourth in the Breeders' Cup Marathon (G3), clocked a bullet half-mile in :47 3/5 after the renovation break on Sunday over the good dirt at Churchill Downs. The move was the best of 31 at the distance for the Chris Block trainee, who is nominated to the Clark H. (G1) on November 27.
Grade 2 queen SASSY IMAGE (Broken Vow), unraced since a fifth-place run in the February 27 Davona Dale S. (G2), had the second-quickest half of the morning when going in :47 4/5 for conditioner Dale Romans.
Ben Ali S. (G3) scorer DUBIOUS MISS (E Dubai), fourth in the Fayette S. (G2) last out off the six-month break, traveled five-eighths in 1:02 4/5.
HENSHIN HERO (Dance Master), last seen running third in his Lone Star Derby (G3) stakes bow on May 8, logged five furlongs in 1:00 4/5.
Dual Grade 3 hero RULE (Roman Ruler), unraced since a third in the March 20 Fountain of Youth S. (G2), breezed a co-bullet five panels in 1:00 3/5 while the track was muddy.
Grade 2 victor EXPANSION (Maria's Mon), third in both the Man o' War S. (G1) and Manhattan H. (G1) this season, covered four furlongs in :51 4/5 in the mud.