Brown has a literal strong hand for Hall of Fame
It might seem at first glance trainer Chad Brown wants to win Friday's $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga in the worst way as he entered five horses in the 1 1/16-mile heat. What's closer to the truth is that Brown has an abundance of stakes-quality three-year-old turf horses at a time on the calendar when there are few other logical spots to run them.
Whether Brown runs all of them or only a few, none can be considered toss outs. Higher up in the pecking order are Night Prowler, a multiple Grade 3 winner who missed by a head to eventual Belmont Derby (G1) winner Force the Pass in the $500,000 Penn Mile in late May, and Startup Nation, third in the Belmont Derby but two-for-two last summer over the Saratoga turf.
Brown has also entered Takeover Target, most recently fifth in the Belmont Derby; stakes-winning Croninthebarbarian, who placed in a couple overnight stakes during the Belmont spring meet; and Winter Springs, an import that has raced primarily on the provincial circuit in France.
Bill Mott has entered stakes winner A Lot, narrowly second in the Dania Beach (G3), American Turf (G2) and $95,000 Manila this season, and Courtier, runner-up by a head in the $100,000 Kitten's Joy at Gulfstream in his stakes debut back in January.
In an incredibly wide-open betting affair, there are at least three others that deserve mention. World Approval exits a neck victory in the American Derby (G3) at Arlington, while Vision Perfect has won his last two outings in overnight stakes at Belmont and Aqueduct. The George Weaver-trained High Noon Rider made a tardy bid in the May 30 Penn Mile, finishing sixth, but should appreciate the slight step up in trip.
(Night Prowler photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography)