Brass Hat's record score stuns connectionsBy MARTY McGEE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Buff Bradley scarcely could have hoped for a better comeback effort from Brass Hat. Not only did the venerable gelding win a stakes-caliber allowance race Sunday in his first start since recovering from a fractured sesamoid, but also he broke a 36-year-old track record for 1 1/16 miles when finishing in 1:41.27.
"We're all thrilled," said Bradley, who was joined in the winner's circle by dozens of family and friends, many of them from his hometown of Frankfort, Ky. "We knew he was training really well, but asking a horse to win after going through what he went through - and set a track record to boot - was just unreal."
Brass Hat, ridden by Willie Martinez, prevailed by a head over Student Council after rallying from a few lengths off the pace. He earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure with his seventh victory from 16 lifetime starts, and the race marked his first non-stakes victory. The first win of his life came in the 2004 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park, and he had won five stakes since then.
Brass Hat, a 6-year-old homebred owned by Buff Bradley's father, Fred, might race next in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap on July 28 at Saratoga.
"He came out of it good and ate up," Buff Bradley said Monday.
The final time eclipsed the old mark of 1:41.60 set by Yes Sir on a frozen track at the 1970 fall meet.
Also in the Sunday allowance was Perfect Drift, an earner of more than $4.6 million. The 8-year-old gelding was never a factor while finishing fifth of six starters.