Mighty Brown comes home strong to win the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Mighty Brown comes home strong to win the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

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Mighty Brown Starts New Year Right in Pasco

Three-year-old son of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown overpowers Tampa Bay field.

Mighty Brown might have aged a year earlier this week, but his performance in the $100,000 Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs Jan. 4 proved he's getting better (VIDEO).

The newly-turned 3-year-old celebrated three days after the fact by capturing the seven-furlong event. Mighty Brown overpowered seven rivals in the Pasco, launching a powerful move approaching the three-eighths pole. He drew away from determined pacesetter Cool Cowboy through the stretch for a 3 1/4-length victory.

Supplemental entry Giancarlo, a south Florida invader, made a belated move to finish third, a length behind Inaugural Stakes winner Cool Cowboy, and 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Inaugural runner-up Early Entry.

Mighty Browna Kentucky-bred son of 2008 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown , out of Mighty Martha, by Chester Housewas ridden to victory by Dean Butler, the pilot when Mighty Brown broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs going six furlongs Dec. 7.

The winner's time on a fast track was 1:24.17. Now 2-for-9 lifetime with four seconds, including two in stakes company while a maiden, Mighty Brown paid $10.40 to win as third betting choice.

Mighty Brown received a four-pound break in the weights from the winner, carrying 118 pounds to Cool Cowboy's 122. Mighty Brown is owned by Chicago resident Tom Rinaudo's The Farm on 4, and Arkansas residents Rich Robertson and Alan Dean's Tri-Star Racing.

"We can hope and dream all we want, but until they run the race you don't know," said winning trainer Tim Ice, who won the 2009 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Summer Bird. "I've thought he was a very talented colt from day 1, and I think cutting him back in distance has helped him a lot. I thought he would be a perfect seven-furlong horse and it worked out well today."

Butler was surprised by the alert start by Mighty Brown, who had worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 at Tampa Bay Dec. 28. The winner lay comfortably off the early fractions of Cool Cowboy and long shot Three Quarter Roy before Butler asked for his best effort.

"He broke fast and if anything, he was more aggressive than I wanted," Butler said. "I was able to get him to relax getting to the half, and we had a bead on the leader by then. I asked for run getting into the stretch and I was more worried about something coming up on the inside than I was about getting past the leader.

"He finished up really well, like a very good horse."

Ice said he is leaning against sending Mighty Brown back in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 1 at 1 1/16 miles.

"Right now, I think I'll just want to keep him going one turn," Ice said. "He's run well going a mile, but I don't know whether I'm ready to push him that far (the Davis distance) yet. We're just going to sit back after this race and wait a little bit to see where we go next."