BRASS HAT WORKS FIVE-EIGHTHS ON DIRT FOR FOSTER BID –The question for trainer Buff Bradley to ponder Saturday morning was whether to aim his father’s homebred Brass Hat for the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) next Saturday and tackle Curlin.
After watching Brass Hat work five furlongs in 1:00.40 under Calvin Borel, the fourth best of 30 at the distance over a “fast” track, Bradley was ready to render a verdict.
“I wanted him to pick it up late, and he did that,” Bradley said. “I started timing him at the three-quarter pole and had him going six furlongs in 1:14 and 2 (fifths), galloping out seven-eighths in 1:26 and 2 and out the mile in 1:40.”
Borel, who rode the seven-year-old son of Prized for the first time in the mile and a half Louisville Handicap (GIII) on the turf in his most recent start, was equally pleased with the work.
“I let him gallop out past the wire and he was strong,” Borel said. “They had better come with their running shoes on next week.”
For Borel, it will be his first shot at Curlin since finishing fourth aboard Street Sense in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Monmouth Park in October.
Weights for the Foster were to come out Saturday afternoon and Bradley was asked how much weight he would like to receive from Curlin.
“About 20,” Bradley said with a laugh. “I know what we are up against and this is the Breeders’ Cup for us. I know he is good enough to run with Curlin; whether he can get past him is something else.”
Brass Hat ran fifth in the 2006 Stephen Foster, his poorest finish in four starts on the main track at Churchill Downs.
“I know he likes the dirt here; he has the track record for a mile and a sixteenth,” Bradley said. “He is 100 percent and feels good and I look for him to run his race.”