Churchill Downs | Posted 5/19/2010, 5:05 pmPrint

Folks in Frankfort show love for Brass Hat

By Marty McGee

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It won't show on his past performance lines, but Brass Hat had quite an eventful outing since his runner-up finish in the Elkhorn Stakes.

A few days after the April 23 Elkhorn at Keeneland, Brass Hat was put on display in a roomy, open-air stall at a political event in the Kentucky state capital of Frankfort. It seems that Brass Hat, an earner of more than $2 million in six-plus years of racing, has become quite the folk hero in Frankfort, the hometown of his owner-breeder, Fred Bradley.

"It was so cool," said Buff Bradley, who trains 9-year-old Brass Hat for his father. "I took him off the trailer and put him in a portable stall, and he never turned a hair. He worked the crowd like a true politician."

The event was the latest chapter in the amazing story of Brass Hat, the 9-year-old gelding who will make his next start Saturday at Churchill Downs as the 119-pound highweight in the Grade 3, $100,000 Louisville Handicap. He and the Bradleys have incurred several setbacks along the way, some more painful than others.

Several months after finishing second in the 2006 Dubai World Cup, Brass Hat fractured a sesamoid in his right front ankle in a morning workout.

"I thought he was done at 5, so the last four years have been great," said Bradley.

Besides the duress the horse endured with a variety of injuries, the Bradleys also were wounded by the fact Brass Hat was disqualified from the $1.2 million share for his second-place finish in the World Cup for a medication violation that remains a subject of great anguish and controversy to them. Nonetheless, Brass Hat has earned $2,087,110 from 35 starts.

Entries for the 73rd Louisville were drawn Wednesday, and Brass Hat will break from post 5 in the 1 1/2-mile turf race with Calvin Borel aboard. In all, 11 older horses were entered, with Bearpath, Blushing Bear, and Telling, all assigned 117 pounds, also rating consideration.

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