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Chad Brown Makes 'Outstanding' Seem 'Routine'

by Johnny D

August 15, 2019

Trainer Chad Brown won a bunch of graded-stakes turf races last weekend. Again.

So what? Move along. Go to your homes. Nothing to see here.

Chad Brown-trained horses have won so many turf races at such a high level for so long that it’s probably not even worth mention that Saturday he swept all four graded-stakes races at Arlington Park, including the day’s centerpiece Grade 1, $1 million Arlington Million with Bricks and Mortar. The Arlington Million is North America’s first million-dollar race and Brown just won it for a record fourth time. Hall-of-Fame residents Ron McAnally and Charlie Whittingham have won the race three times--some heady company to surpass.

The amazing Bricks and Mortar earned equine honors with his sixth consecutive victory and extended his 2019 string to 4-for-4, including three Grade 1 victories - Gulfstream Park’s Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, Churchill Downs’ Turf Classic and Belmont’s Manhattan. He’s making a strong case for Horse of the Year honors; unusual because turf specialists aren’t normally considered as contenders for that prize.

Brown also took the Grade 1, $600,000 Beverly D. Stakes with Sistercharlie, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare who successfully defended her crown in a course-record time of 1:52 2/5 for the mile and three sixteenths distance. It was her fifth consecutive Grade 1 victory and sixth win out of eight tries since arriving from France. The victory was Brown’s fifth-consecutive in the event and Sistercharlie became the first filly or mare ever to win the race twice.

Sandwiched between ‘Sister and ‘Mortar, Brown-trained sophomore Valid Point won the Grade 1, $500,000 Secretariat. The son of Scat Daddy now is unbeaten in three starts and his future’s so bright he’s got to wear shades. Café Americano, a 3-year-old filly, concluded the Chad Brown Chicago road trip by winning the Grade 3, $100,000 Pucker Up. It was her third career victory in four starts and her first stakes tally after being unplaced in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, last out.

Before our eyes, Brown’s re-writing the record book. He’s doing things with horses that haven’t been done before and won’t be done again…at least for a long time. And he’s a young man, too. Age 40 may signal the beginning of the end for a professional athlete but it’s ‘prime time’ for a horse trainer. By the time he’s finished, the Mechanicville, NY native might establish untouchable marks. And we’re fortunate to be able to watch it happen in real time.

If we remember to notice.

The trouble with brilliance is that outstanding can become routine. Sensational the norm. Exceptional ho-hum.

And that’s Brown’s fault. He’s been dominating the green for several years, including this one--his horses have swept the top three finish positions in graded New York Stakes grass races twice this year!

Why in the world should we raise an eyebrow when his runners sweep four graded stakes on a single card?

Critics will point to Brown’s roster of well-bred, high-priced runners augmented by accomplished European and South American imports and argue that he SHOULD be winning often and at the highest level. True. He’s got the stock. But that didn’t occur in a vacuum. There’s a reason owners ‘Tex Sutton’ their very best to Brown. And it’s not because he once was an assistant to the great Bobby Frankel. That resume line may have provided a foot-in-the-door but subsequent results have blown the aperture wide-open.

Chad Brown won a bunch of graded-stakes turf races last weekend. Again. And it didn’t go unnoticed here.