Stephanie’s Kitten, Wavell Avenue continue Chad Brown's success in the Breeders’ Cup
Edited Press Release
Though he did not reach last year’s level of three victories, trainer Chad Brown had another very successful Breeders’ Cup with victories by Stephanie’s Kitten in the Breeders’ Cup Filly &Mare Turf (G1) and Wavell Avenue in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
Also, Big Blue Kitten and Slumber finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) behind Found and Golden Horn, and defending champ Bobby’s Kitten was fourth in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
Brown, 36, saddled an event-high 12 runners.
“When you have that sort of material to work with, your goal is to get to the big days,” Brown said. “Luckily, we brought a really good group here and I think most of them ran really well. I’m pleased overall with the Breeders’ Cup.
“Even some that were defeated, Slumber and Big Blue Kitten, they ran their hearts out against two great horses from Europe. I’m just happy to be part of that field. It’s great international competition and I look forward to it every year.”
Brown, who has seven Breeders’ Cup winners in eight seasons of training, said Sunday morning that all of his horses came back in fine shape.
Stephanie’s Kitten became the first horse in history to win Breeders’ Cup races four years apart. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred mare won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) in 2011 and was second in the Filly & Mare Turf in 2014. Wavell Avenue provided Brown with his first Breeders’ Cup win on dirt.
“They were two horses that were training really well. Their numbers were really good coming into the races,” Brown said. “They took to the Keeneland track and they both performed so great. I’m just so happy for both horses and the ownership of both horses
The TwinSpires Filly & Mare Sprint was Wavell Avenue’s first graded victory, but the four-year-old filly came into the races with some strong performances on her resume under jockey Joel Rosario.
“We worked together as a team and my staff and I started to figure her out,” Brown said. “Joel has been instrumental, riding her terrific and giving me great feedback after he rides her.
“We really found her niche. The most important part of the team is her. She just got better physically. She doesn’t even look like the same horse that she did over the winter at Aqueduct and even during the summer. She has kept improving, getting stronger physically. Her works improved.
“That’s the thing about horses. They have different times in their lives when they peak. Some early, some late. I think that’s a filly who is just reaching her maturity. She’s at her best.”
Brown said that Wavell Avenue is headed back to his base at Belmont Park and will remain in training.
Stephanie’s Kitten was offered at auction Sunday at Fasig-Tipton. She failed to reach her $4 million reserve last year and Ken Ramsey decided to send her back to Brown for another season of competition with the Filly & Mare Turf as the goal.
“I think that was a wonderful feeling, a culminating point of relief; the Ramseys trusted me and my staff with this filly to do something like this,” Brown said. “Yes, we had won the Flower Bowl (G1) a couple of times, but, really, she was sent over here to our barn to try and win this specific race and possibly the Eclipse Award. I feel like his trust in me and my staff was justified and he was rewarded for his patience, as well.
“When it didn’t work out last year – she had a wide trip and was beaten by my other horse – it would have been easy for Mr. Ramsey to give up and either sell the horse or move her again. Through it all, he stuck with me, he stuck with his filly and he stuck with his plan.”
Browns’ two other Filly & Mare Turf runners are going in different directions. Watsdachances, sixth in her career finale, is going to auction, while Dacita, who was ninth, will compete next year. He said he thought Dacita did not like the give in the turf course.
Brown said he would be meeting with officials of Calumet Farm, which purchased Big Blue Kitten earlier this fall, to see what the plans are for the seven-year-old horse. He said he wasn’t sure about the future plans are for seven-year-old Slumber.
Bobby’s Kitten will head to Florida, Brown said, and will stay in training in 2016.
All five of Brown’s juvenile turf horses are going to Florida to be prepared for racing next year.
Stephanie’s Kitten photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com