Brass Hat is ducking Street Sense for nowBy MARTY McGEE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Buff Bradley has seen enough of Lawyer Ron, and given a choice, he wouldn't mind missing Street Sense.
Bradley, the trainer of millionaire gelding Brass Hat, said he most likely will opt for an upcoming race in which Street Sense does not run. Bradley said he may wait until trainer Carl Nafzger announces what he is doing with Street Sense before making his own decision. Nafzger said recently that he is considering three races as a final prep for the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Classic - the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park, the Sept. 29 Hawthorne Gold Cup at Hawthorne, or the Sept. 30 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park - and will announce his decision on or about Sept. 24.
Bradley, meanwhile, is like many other trainers with horses who are highly useful but a cut below the superstar level that Street Sense has attained.
"I'd rather not face Street Sense," he said, adding that running against Hard Spun, the top confirmed candidate for the KC Classic, is not too inviting, either.
"At this time, I'm between the Turfway race and the Massachusetts Handicap" next Saturday at Suffolk Downs, said Bradley. He added that Brass Hat was scheduled to work this weekend at Churchill, and that he would decide soon thereafter whether or not to ship to Suffolk.
Brass Hat has run creditably in all three races since returning this summer from injury. He defeated the eventual Pacific Classic winner, Student Council, in winning his comeback race on July 8 at his home track, Churchill Downs, before being soundly beaten by Lawyer Ron in back-to-back Grade 1 races at Saratoga, the July 28 Whitney and Sept. 1 Woodward. It must be noted, however, that Brass Hat earned fairly impressive Beyer Speed Figures of 97 and 98 when finishing eighth and sixth, respectively, in those races at Saratoga, so it wasn't as if he were throwing in ugly clunkers.
"I really don't think he liked the Saratoga track, and I look for him to bounce back," said Bradley. "He is doing really well right now."
Nominations for all five Kentucky Cup stakes close Wednesday at Turfway in Florence, Ky. Besides the Classic, the other races are the $175,000 Kentucky Cup Distaff, $100,000 Sprint, $100,000 Juvenile, and $100,000 Juvenile Fillies.
Turfway officials, mostly in the hopes of making their race more alluring for the Street Sense connections, have bolstered the purse for the 1 1/8-mile Classic. The overall purse stands at the usual $350,000 (including $150,000 restricted to horses eligible to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, which Street Sense is), but another $150,000 will be added to the winner's share if he has won a Grade 1 race in 2006 or 2007.