Brody’s Cause rebounds with convincing Blue Grass tally

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April 9th, 2016

Winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), Brody’s Cause entered 2016 as a well-regarded Kentucky Derby (G1) contender but his reputation took a hit when returning with a disappointing seventh as the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) favorite. The Giant’s Causeway colt rebounded in a big way in Saturday’s $1 million Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland, rallying to win as much the best by a 1 ¾-length margin.

“(Brody’s Cause) started off his three-year-old season really slow,” trainer Dale Romans said. “To run so bad in the Tampa Bay Derby, when I thought we were leading over a winner, it was discouraging. But if you look at his first race, he ran terrible that day, and I had thought he would win. I think he’s just a horse that needed a race.

“We’re going into the Kentucky Derby in perfect form.”

With new jockey Luis Saez, Brody’s Cause dropped back to 11th during the early stages as Laoban sprinted forward on a clear lead, establishing early splits in :23.44 and :46.75. Brody’s Cause was still ninth, 6 ¼ lengths back after three-quarters in 1:11.44, but he began picking up horses rounding the far turn and entered the stretch drive full of momentum.

Swinging six wide into the straightaway, Brody’s Cause swooped to the lead with a dynamic turn of foot, striking the front with an eighth of a mile remaining, and quickly drew off.  The only suspense was the battle for second, with My Man Sam edging fellow late runner Chery Wine by a head in the final strides.

“He broke sharp. He was in a good spot,” Saez said. “On the first turn, he got in a little trouble; I had to check a little. But that was good because he came out (at the five-eighths pole), and we were in the clear. He was rolling. He was asking me to let him go and I let him go. When we came to the stretch I knew he would be there.”

Off as the 4-1 second choice in the 14-horse field, Brody’s Cause completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.20. Romans, who also conditions Cherry Wine, is now a two-time Blue Grass winner, capturing the 2012 edition with Dullahan, who went on to finish third in the Kentucky Derby.

With plenty of speed signed on for this year’s projected Kentucky Derby field, Brody’s Cause’s late kick could prove formidable if he carries his form forward to Churchill Downs.

The bay sophomore clearly has an affinity for Keeneland, with the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile efforts coming over the Lexington, Kentucky oval, but Brody’s Cause broke his maiden at Churchill last September.

Owned by the Albaugh Family Trust, Brody’s Cause has now earned $1,123,138 from a 6-3-0-1 record.

Brody’s Cause and My Man Sam guaranteed themselves a spot in the Kentucky Derby field, but Cherry Win is on the bubble with 25 points.

“Around the first turn, I tried to make my way through on the backside and he made his big run in the end,” jockey Julien Leparoux said of My Man Sam, who was making his stakes debut in the fourth career start. “I thought it was a great race; he's a nice horse. (Trainer) Chad (Brown) loved him before the race and kept telling me how confident (he was) and how good the horse was. He didn’t lie. That was a nice race for him. It was just getting the trip today. With the 14 post and a lot of horses…he doesn’t have speed and you’ve got to go through a lot of horses so I’m glad we could work out a good trip. He’s the kind of horse that comes at the end.”

Laoban, who is still a maiden but was exiting a runner-up in the Gotham (G3, held for fourth and boosted his point total to 32.

Star Hill, Goats Town, Lookin for a Kiss, Donegal Moon, Crescent Drive, Cards of Stone, Zapperini, 2-1 favorite Zulu, American Dubai and Twizz completed the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Gabriel Duignan, William Arvin Jr. and Petaluma Bloodstock, Brody’s Cause was purchased for $350,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He hails from the stakes-placed Sahm mare Sweet Breanna, a daughter of the Grade 2-winning Roberto mare Sweet Roberta, runner-up in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

Photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography