In this day and age, when it seems a horse’s career is over when he stumps a hoof, 6-year-old Brass Hat is an anomaly.
Sunday, the gelding returned from a nondisplaced fracture of his right front sesamoid that occurred in a workout in July last year.
In his return not only did Brass Hat win, he broke a 37-year-old Churchill Downs track record by running 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.27. The previous track record was the oldest at Churchill Downs and was set November 25, 1970, by Yes Sir, who covered the distance in a time of 1:41 3/5. That was before the timing was in tenths of a second. The new track record leaves Secretariat’s 1:59 2/5 clocking in the 1973 Kentucky Derby as the oldest track record at Churchill Downs.
Brass Hat ran over a track that was running fast because of the humidity, but Yes Sir set his record on an extremely fast frozen track.
This is not the first time Brass Hat has made a major comeback. After beginning his career in a 2004 $15,000 maiden-claiming race and losing, Brass Hat became a graded-stakes winner. In October of that year, the gelding suffered a fractured cannon bone in his right front leg. He came back in November of the following year and won three stakes, including the 2006 Grade-1 Donn Handicap.
Brass Hat has earned $1,271,671, a total that would be almost doubled except the Dubai Racing Commission took away $1.2 million he earned for finishing second in the 2006 Dubai World Cup because of a very controversial and disputed medication violation.
Brass Hat’s latest win came in an allowance race that was extremely competitive. The field included three other graded-stakes winners.
Steve Day is a sportswriter for the Daily Sun. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.