SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Mechanicville-native trainer Chad Brown put his stamp on the final Saturday at Saratoga Race Course before Travers Day, earning victories in both stakes races on the card: the grade one Alabama, and the grade two Lake Placid.
The $600,000 Alabama Stakes – the premier race of the Spa season for fillies – featured a 10-horse field, headlined by trainer Brad Cox’s Wet Paint, winner of the grade one Coaching Club American Oaks back on July 22.
Wet Paint entered the race favorited at 9-5 odds, but found herself trailing the eight-horse, Brown’s Randomized, who closed at 7-1, heading around the final turn.
The gap between the two, Wet Paint, and the eight would only widen, though, down the home stretch. Randomized opened up three-length lead by the 1/8th pole, and just pulled away from there.
The three-year-old finished sixth in the only other grade one start she’s ever had – the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9. But Saturday she ran arguably the race of her life, winning the Alabama for Brown by four lengths.
“I liked the fact that the main front was on the inside of her (Randomized),” said Brown. “Wet Paint’s done all her best running I think on the outside. And when she (Wet Paint) found her way on the inside of the track, I felt pretty good that we could get to the wire. It means so much. I had my family with me today; it’s such a special day. And Seth Klarman, who’s…our biggest client and a good friend of mine…him and his wife, Beth, are so deserving of a prestigious win like this.”
The win was the second of the meet for Randomized. She took the Wilton Stakes on July 14. Wet Paint managed to hang on for the place. The ten-horse, trainer Kenneth G. McPeek’s Defining Purpose, worked up to the show position.
The Alabama was preceded by the $200,000 Lake Placid Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, which went off in race seven.
And Brown had his fingerprints all over that race, training four of the eight horses in the field. His four-horse, Tax Implications, and his two-horse, Aspray, tied atop the pre-race odds board at 3-1.
At the top of the stretch, it was the three, Gloria’s Princess, and the one, Heavenly Sunday, battling for position on the inside. But Aspray found a second gear by the 1/8th pole, and raced right past the two fillies on the outside. Another one of Brown’s horses, the seven, Surge Capacity, tried to track down Aspray, but the gap was just too wide.
After a fourth-place finish in her last race – the grade one Fasig-Tipton Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes at Belmont – Aspray bounced back in impressive fashion Saturday, winning the Lake Placid by a comfortable margin for Brown.
“Last time I ran her at Belmont…that was just a little too far for her,” said Brown. “But we really had to try it. We felt she belonged, and it just turned out to be too far – the mile-and-a-quarter. After the race, (jockey) Flavien Prat said, “You know, I think she’d be more effective at a shorter distance.” I agreed, and he was right. ‘Spray really used her inside post to her advantage. Flavien did a wonderful job…working on just a flawless trip, and she really responded. (She) really was an impressive winner.”
Aspray has reached the winner’s circle in four of her five career starts – this being her first graded victory. Surge Capacity took second place in a photo finish with the six-horse, trainer Todd Pletcher’s Soviet Excess, who earned the show.
Brown finished Saturday with three wins, pushing his total on the meet to 27. He leads all trainers in total victories. The next closest is Linda Rice with 22.