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Homeracing

Catching My Eye: Chad Brown's Belmont Stakes Weekend

Profile Picture: Kevin Kilroy

June 16th, 2022

Trainers dream about having the kind of weekend that Chad Brown achieved at his “home track” of Belmont Park. Beginning on Thursday June 9, the four-time Eclipse Award winner’s barn sent out 28 horses, recording eight wins and 19 in-the-money finishes over a three-day span. Thirteen ran in Grade 1s, 16 total in graded stakes—only one ran for a tag, Public Service, who lost by a neck finishing third (and, of course, was claimed). Total earnings were $2,237,314.

On Sunday, Brown rested … well, he just sent out two, neither in the money.

Here are the Brown horses that caught my eye.

Adhamo

If anyone goes with Tribhuvan on the lead, or if he faces pressure of any kind, Adhamo likely wins the Manhattan (G1). But no, Tribhuvan walked the dog. ​​Racing in fifth through all the calls, Adhamo was in the thick of the traffic that could have—should have?—been sent forward given their past running style.

And so the troubled trip unfolds: bumped and steadied losing position, claustrophobic and under trite restraint; eating tail for a furlong before finally squeezing through the tightest of spots and showing a good finish. 

This French import missed the North America debut win at Fair Grounds by a diminishing head. He followed with a third in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) over a new Churchill Downs course, which Flavien Prat reported Adhamo didn't like. The only question for Adhamo might be position: where does he want to be in the pack?

Search Results

On paper, 3-5 favorite Letruska looked to be ready to put the Ogden Phipps (G1) field to bed by the time she turned for home. But no, it was Search Results who took over with a quarter-mile to finish.

At first, Search Results was so game she looked to be able to take the lead from the odds-on favorite, but Irad Ortiz Jr. pulls back and presses. Too bad she was pressing a mare who has the knack for going too hard too fast (and who crumbles when headed). Take nothing away from that amazing match between the two closures, winner Clairiere and runner-up Malathaat. But Search Results did the dirty work and with a different pace set-up, she will have more than enough to turn the tables on these foes going forward.

Bleecker Street

My bets were already in at Churchill Downs on May 6 when I got the “best turf filly in training” whisper about Bleecker Street. Closing from last to first into a slow pace in impressive fashion, she won with class. That tip was on full display again on Friday in the New York (G1) at Belmont, as she circled the field, digging in far deeper than her odds-on stablemate Rougir.

In the 1 1/4-mile race, Bleecker Street ran the last quarter-mile in :21.83 seconds. That win puts her at a perfect 7-for-7. She passed the distance test and that might keep her separate from stablemate Regal Glory, who has not won going further than 1 1/16 miles. Nothing like a filly who gathers steam in the stretch and can outkick anyone in her sights.

Southern District

The light switched on for this four-year-old colt by Union Rags, and his progression was on full display last Friday winning against a stout field of non-winners of three other than allowance foes going a mile at Churchill Downs.

The keys seem to be maturity, no doubt, and finding out this fella is a one-turn horse. Southern District's Brisnet Speed figures have skyrocketed, and visually he is much the best against his recent competition as he has been moving through his levels. Beating the likes of Weyburn, Buck Moon, and Candy Tycoon in a conditioned allowance is one thing, but I would be weary if Brown decides to take on the tougher two-turn competition in the $750,000 Stephen Foster (G2). 

I assume Brown has plans to keep Southern District stabled at Churchill, so the $175,000 Hanshin on July 4 has his name all over it.

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