Brass Hat returns to Spa for WoodwardBy MIKE KANE
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Despite a less than satisfying experience in the Whitney, Brass Hat is returning to Saratoga to run in the $500,000 Woodward on Saturday.
Brass Hat set a track record at Churchill Downs on July 8 in his first start back after being sidelined for a year with an injury, but was not a factor in the Whitney on July 28 and finished eighth. Trainer William "Buff" Bradley, who manages the 6-year-old gelding for his father, breeder-owner Fred Bradley, said Brass Hat has convinced him he is ready to try Grade 1 stakes company again.
"He's doing really good," Bradley said. "His last couple of works have shown that he has not lost a step at all."
On Aug. 17, Brass Hat breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:00.60, the fourth-fastest time of 45 at the distance that day. Two days later, Student Council, whom Brass Hat beat by a head in the record time of 1:41.27 for 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs, won the $1 million Pacific Classic.
Bradley said that when Brass Hat bounced out of the Whitney in good shape, it was decided that circumstances may have been the reason for the poor performance at Saratoga.
"We figured on a few things in that race and maybe we ran him back a little quick after his record-breaking performance," Bradley said. "He was stuck down on the rail for a while, and I don't think he liked that a whole lot. He likes to be a little wider and maybe we should have had him a little bit more forwardly placed.
"That being said, we'll change strategies a little bit and hopefully have a little better shot at them this go-round."