Bradley enjoying another good homebred with The Player
Edited Press Release
Trainer William “Buff” Bradley will be saddling Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) winner Divisidero in next Saturday’s $1 million Manhattan (G1) on the Belmont Stakes (G1) undercard, but a big victory with The Player in Friday afternoon’s 7TH race at Churchill Downs has given Bradley even more to look forward to.
Owned and bred by Bradley in partnership with Carl Hurst, the three-year-old son of Street Hero comes from family lines that Bradley is quite familiar with. He is out of the broodmare Hour Queen, whose mother was Bradley’s first stakes winner.
“Most of my big horses are in this pedigree,” Bradley said. “I bought Town Queen’s mother (Regal Export) for $20,000 and she produced King of Speed, Town Queen, and Chief Export which were all black-type horses.
“If he moves on, this will be the biggest horse that we have had out of this pedigree. We always thought that this would be our big pedigree and then we had Brass Hat out of a different one and then Groupie Doll out of another different one, so we’re kind of glad to see this horse come along and that’s why we kept the mare.
“This family matures late, you don’t see them really start coming around until they’re about four-years old. I think he’s got great conformation, he’s sound and he could really improve.”
The Player finished fourth in his career debut while going up against stiff competition. Familiar faces to come out of that race include its eventual winner, Grade 2-placed Tom’s Ready, who finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and is headed to next Saturday’s $500,000 Woody Stephens (G2) on Belmont Stakes Day; Grade 2-placed stakes winner Forevamo, who was second; and Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up Cherry Wine, who ran fifth.
“There were some good horses that came out of that race,” Bradley said. “Forevamo was in the race, Cherry Wine was in the race and we beat him.
“We knew he could run last year and his first time out he didn’t break well. He always broke well, but he didn’t that day so he was kind of rushed up there and he showed some promise in that race. The next day we noticed he had a chip in his knee so we took him out and gave him the winter off.
“We took him to Tampa to train for a while and then we came back here. He ran second at Keeneland in his first start this year and ran a remarkable race there.”
Following Friday’s big performance, Bradley was met with positive comments from some of his competition.
“What made me feel good was after the race, Corey Lanerie (the jockey on runner-up Unbridled Outlaw) came up to me before The Player even walked in the winner’s circle and said, ‘Buff I ran right up to him and your horse just hit the next gear. I thought I was going to go by him and your horse went on.’ So he’s a very nice horse and I’ve got other jockeys complimenting me before I even got to the winner’s circle which was good.
“It makes you feel good to know that they’re watching and they know I’ve got another good horse. I was getting texts after the race and people were saying, ‘Oh wow, another good horse off the Bradley farm,’ and that makes you feel good with one that you raised. I love winning with the other horses but it’s nice that you have those kind that you know have potential from Day One.”
The Player was nicknamed “Angus” as a foal, a name given to him by Haygard Equine Medical Institute’s Dr. Nathan Slovis after the rock band AC/DC’s lead guitarist Angus Young.
“We always give our horses a barn name at the farm,” Bradley explained. “He was over at the clinic after he was born for something – it was nothing serious but enough that he needed to go over there – but Dr. Slovis said, ‘Man he’s a rock star,’ so my wife, Kim, just started calling him Angus.”
Having been around The Player since he was born, Bradley had quite a few interesting stories to tell about the horse.
“He’s quite a character,” Bradley grinned. “When he was a yearling, I remember one morning I was mowing the field with the bush hog and his two buddies were standing over in the corner away from me and he’s chasing me.
“I’m having to call Kim and Kelly, my wife and a person who works on the farm, and I said, ‘You got to get me out of this paddock. He’s going to try and climb up into this tractor with me.’
“He was just always a really cool horse. He’s not just a race horse, he’s a barn favorite too.
“My kids would be with him in the stall. He wasn’t two weeks old yet and my kids would just be sitting on him while he’s lying down and he just didn’t care. He was just really cool.
“He wasn’t here at the barn for two weeks and my son Drew came and said, ‘I want to walk him,’ and he had been really good, but the horse knows my son real well since Drew grew up with him. He would always lead him out to the paddock, and Angus would always try to play with Drew when he was feeding him.
“When Drew was walking him the horse tried to climb on top of him and play with him right here in the shed row and Drew was right underneath him and the horse didn’t even move. He was just playing around, he’s not a mean horse. I could tell you a hundred stories about him.”
The Player made Bradley proud with his win on Friday and will have a chance to make his trainer even more proud when he steps up against tougher company next out in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) at Indiana Grand on July 16.
“I said that if this horse can win this race then we’ll go to the Indiana Derby,” Bradley confirmed. “I felt like he’s that type of horse. He’s a nice, big, good looking horse and he’s got the right demeanor. He knows how to relax and he knows how to take everything in. He’s had personality from Day One.”
The Player screenshot from Friday’s Churchill Downs win