Brass Hat Drills for Donn Handicap
It’s been nearly two years, but Fred Bradley’s Brass Hat wasted little time getting down to serious work in his return to Gulfstream Park, site of his victory in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) in 2006. He will try to recapture that glory next Saturday in South Florida’s premier race for older horses.
The 7-year-old gelding shipped to Gulfstream from Kentucky Thursday and worked Saturday morning for trainer Buff Bradley. The son of Prized breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 under exercise rider Penny Gardiner.
“I’m glad we got this work in because he’s coming off the Polytrack up there,” said Bradley of the artificial surface at Turfway Park where Brass Hat trains. “He works good over Polytrack, but I like to get him a chance to get his feet on the dirt again. He likes this track and he worked well. Penny just sat on him most of the way, but he came home pretty good and really stretched out nice.”
Brass Hat posted the biggest win of his career here two years ago with his 4 ¾-length score. It catapulted him to a second-place finish behind Electrocutionist in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (G1), although he was later disqualified from place money by a controversial medication ruling.
Plagued by leg injuries, Brass Hat has twice made comebacks from extended layoffs. His recent 2007 campaign featured a track-record setting return last July in an allowance race at Churchill Downs and a victory in the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs on Sept. 22. He finished second in his last start, the Clark Handicap (G2) at Churchill behind A. P. Arrow on Nov. 23.
Brass Hat is regarded as a member of the family to the Bradleys. With father Fred, the owner and breeder, and Buff able to train both at the racetrack and on the family farm, they’ve been able to baby their star through his injuries and keep him going strong despite his advancing age.
That’s something Buff Bradley finds encouraging as he attempts to be the first horse to win the Donn more than once in non-consecutive years.
“I’d like to say he’s training well or better than two years ago,” said Bradley. “If anything, despite his age, he seems to be putting more into his works. He’s working harder and he’s in great shape, and he wants to do it. That’s the main thing.”
Bradley said Brass Hat would walk Sunday morning then gallop each morning leading up to the race next Saturday.
Daaher & War Pass Lead Busy Palm Meadows Work Tab Saturday
Shadwell Stable’s 4-year-old Daaher and Robert La Penta’s undefeated 3-year-old War Pass were prominent on a busy Saturday morning work tab at Palm Meadows, each posting half-mile drills, timed in 48 flat and 48 4/5, respectively.
Daaher appears likely be the favorite in next Saturday’s 50th running of the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) as the son of Seeking the Gold makes his first start since capturing the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct last out on Nov. 24 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
War Pass was acclaimed Eclipse Award champion in ceremonies in Los Angeles Monday night as the undefeated colt by Cherokee Frolic posted his second workout of the winter Saturday morning, and his season debut expected to come next month, according to trainer Nick Zito.
“He went great, 48 and change. He is going to run (at Gulfstream) in about three or three-and-a half weeks.”