Normandy Invasion, who established himself as a promising Kentucky Derby contender with a nose second in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on November 24, is settling in at Palm Meadows Training Center for trainer Chad Brown, who has not yet set a 2013 racing schedule for the son of Tapit.
"Mr. Porter and I have discussed it. We're going to let him settle in here at Palm Meadows,? said Brown, who trains Normandy Invasion for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms. ?After he has his first workout later in the month, we'll probably get more serious about targeting a specific race. Until that time, we'll just let the horse tell us how he's doing and go from there."
Normandy Invasion broke his maiden by nearly 10 lengths in a mile race at Aqueduct in his second career start, which was followed by a heartbreaking loss in the Remsen. The Kentucky-bred colt made a sweeping move into contention on the turn into the homestretch before losing a photo finish to Todd Pletcher-trained Overanalyze by a nose in the 1 1/8-mile event.
"He looked like a winner turning for home. To the other horse's credit, he really dug in and fought back," Brown said. "They're two really good horses. I'm sure they'll meet again."
Although Normandy Invasion came out on the short end of the photo, his performance raised the hopes of his trainer.
"He's a very talented horse," Brown commented. "He's still learning the game. He can obviously handle two turns. Distance won't be a problem for him moving forward.
"He has a great disposition about him. He's a very smart horse. If he continues to learn and progress, he could be a horse on the (Derby) trail. I'm hoping."
Normandy Invasion's development hasn't come as a big surprise.
"We did like the horse quite a bit. Very soon after I received him, we identified him as one of our top prospects -- he way he moved, the way he was breezing," his trainer said.
Brown also has a pair of very promising two-year-old turf performers, Noble Tune and Balance the Books, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita last month. Both colts returned to the track at Palm Meadows this week after having a month off. Brown is hoping they'll return to action in early March.
The Brown-trained Dayatthespa is recovering from cuts suffered while trying to jump the inner rail in the recent Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park. She wound up fifth in the field of eight.
"So far, I'm optimistic. I love the way she's handling everything here. There's no time table for her," said Brown, who saddled Dayatthespa for five straight victories prior to her Matriarch mishap, including the Grade 2 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.