From Humble Beginnings to the Top of the World
Another year is upon us and soon the pastures will
be full of new babies who will carry the hopes and dreams of their owners and
breeders. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent in some cases just to see
a live foal hit the ground. Thousands of these new babies will be prepped for
upcoming sales throughout the country. And before this year is through we will
hear countless stories of multimillion-dollar purchases at sales from
Brass Hat isn’t from royal
lineage. He is the product of a $5,000 mare and a $3,500 stallion. He wasn’t
born at a storied farm in the heart of central
Given his humble beginning it
was no surprise to see Brass Hat make his career debut at a low level, a
$15,000 maiden claiming race at
Let’s face it. Horses from humble beginnings are not supposed to knock off their million-dollar brothers and sisters who have been groomed for success. Apparently Brass Hat didn’t understand the perceived hierarchy of racing. He simply went about his business as a racehorse. In the world of thoroughbreds you can’t buy or breed “heart” and that was something Brass Hat had plenty of.
Following his win in the Rushaway Stakes Brass Hat went on to finish second in the
$111,000 Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland, and followed
that with a 4th-place effort behind turf sensation Kitten’s Joy in the American
Turf-G3 at Churchill Downs. He returned to the winner’s circle in June of 2004
when he won the Ohio Derby-G2 at Thistledown while 21/1. After getting a few
months rest at Indian Ridge he returned in October at
So it was back
home to Indian Ridge. Hoping that he could one day return to racing, but more
than anything hoping that he could lead a normal life after the serious injury,
Fred and “Buff” allowed Brass Hat to roam the pastures and recuperate for 13 months.
Only after they were convinced he was healthy would they allow him to return to
the racetrack. In November of 2005 Brass Hat was back
in the starting gate at Churchill Downs. He finished 7th in a turf
race that day but the results were inconsequential. Just 23 days later he
returned to the main track at
On a gloomy, rainy Saturday in
south Florida Brass Hat loaded into the starting gate at
If we’ve learned anything about Brass Hat it’s that he loves to answer questions. And he answered this question much the way he has answered questions before – with authority. Gliding over the sloppy track (he had never run on a wet track before) he blew by everyone in the stretch to win by more than four lengths, setting a track record in the process. In just a span of 13 races, interrupted by a 13-month layoff, Brass Hat had gone from a $15,000 maiden claiming race to a Grade I winner with earnings of $1,217,090.
Before Brass Hat came along Fred Bradley had never entered a single horse in a graded stakes, much less a Grade I, and he has been in the game for more than 40 years. Now he had reached the top and there to share it with him was his trainer, his son. While we marveled at the performance we witnessed on the racetrack, the tears and hugs in the winner’s circle instantly reminded us that for father and son this was much more than just winning a horse race.
So where do you go from here?
Well first, of course, is back home to Indian Ridge.
And then it’s off to a faraway land to answer another question – Brass Hat is
When he loads into the starting
Regardless of the outcome in
No doubt Brass Hat will be a long shot to win the world’s richest race, but hasn’t he been in this position before? Anyone who discounts his chances simply hasn’t been paying attention.
“Down the Stretch” – 790AM
Southern Gaming Magazine