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VETERAN BRASS HAT FIRES A "BULLET" WORK - Trainer William "Buff"¯Bradley has remarked throughout the latest comeback effort by Grade I winner Brass Hat, that the 6-year-old gelding has never been a horse that was too enthusiastic about his training activity in the mornings.

In a career in which he has compiled a record of 6-4-0 in 15 races with earnings of $1,233,473, it is clear that Brass Hat's performance in the afternoons has far exceeded his sometimes-lethargic efforts in the mornings. That tendency to loaf a bit in the mornings made his latest work on Thursday all the more notable as Brass Hat breezed five furlongs on Thursday in 1:00 - a move that was the fastest of 10 at the distance.

Jockey Willie Martinez was aboard for the move over a "fast"¯ surface that was, as close as Bradley could recall, the first "bullet"¯work of Brass Hat's career.

"I was quite surprised,"¯said Bradley, whose father, Fred, owns and bred Brass Hat. "He's not a big work horse and usually you've got to put something with him."¯

The younger Bradley said the work was probably the best for Brass Hat since he was allowed to work between races at Turfway Park in March of last year prior to his departure for Nad Al Sheba and a run in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (GI). Brass Hat finished second, but was later disqualified for a medication infraction.

Bradley outfitted Brass Hat with blinkers, a piece of equipment that was missing from a work last week that the trainer found less pleasing.

"We could tell as soon as he walked out his stall this morning, he was a little bit more on his toes today and was just kind of prancing around,"¯ Bradley said. "I think that putting the blinkers on got him a little bit more focused and I was very pleased just to watch him finish and gallop out."¯

The winner of the 2006 Donn Handicap (GI) and New Orleans Handicap (GII) galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20, according to Bradley.

Brass Hat is coming back from a leg injury that has kept him away from competition since a fifth-place finish in last year's Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. He cracked a sesamoid in his right fore in his first work after that race at Trackside Louisville training center. The injury was allowed to heal naturally on the Bradley family's farm near Frankfort, Ky.

Bradley was impressed by the ease of the effort in Brass Hat's "bullet" work and still hopes his veteran star will return to racing before the end of Churchill Downs' Spring Meet on July 8.

"He was very comfortable and just went around there really nice,"¯Bradley said. "Willie said started to tap him on the shoulder, and when he did he took off and had to reach and grab him. He didn"t know he was going to do that with him and he had to slow him down a little. We're very pleased and he came out of it good."¯



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