For those thinking that his Sycamore (gr. IIIT) victory last month at Keeneland may have been his swan song, think again. Nine-year-old star Brass Hat is being pointed toward the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. I) Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Buff Bradley made the decision after Brass Hat had his first work back since his one-length score on Oct. 21.
“Watching him work like that makes me feel better,” Bradley said after Brass Hat worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 Nov. 12 under Calvin Borel over a fast track. It was the second fastest of 27 works at the distance. “I like it when Calvin comes back smiling.
“Calvin has always been telling me to run him back on the dirt. This is his home track and if the race was not here, we would not think about it. He was hitting the ground good this morning and Calvin never moved on him.”
Brass Hat tried the dirt once this year, finishing eighth in the Cornhusker Handicap (gr. II) at Prairie Meadows in June.
“Calvin said the dirt at Prairie Meadows was not the same (as it is here),” Bradley said.
Brass Hat ran in the 2007 Clark, finishing second to A.P. Arrow. His most recent victory on the dirt, which came six dirt starts back, was in the 2007 Massachusetts Handicap. The most recent of his four graded stakes victories on dirt came in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) in 2006.
Fred Bradley’s homebred gelding has a career record of 10-8-5 in 39 races for earnings of $2,167,92.
Bradley plans to work Brass Hat again next week as the final prep for the Clark, which was won last year by 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Blame.
Other nominations for the Clark include Dakota Phone and Morning Line , the one-two finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I); Apart, winner of the Nov. 5 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III); Etched, First Dude , and Pleasant Prince, who were all off the board in the BC Classic; Redding Colliery, and Successful Dan.