Trainer Bernie Flint knows what it means to have an owner who believes in him.
On April 22 Flint and long-time owner Dr. Naveed Chowhan paired to upset the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland when Brooklynsway held sway over heavy favorite I'm a Chatterbox, who could not get by the determined winner in the stretch.
Video: Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare S. (G3)
"When she gave them that spurt at the end I thought, 'My God, all of that training did pay off,'" Flint said.
Flint picked out Brooklynsway at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale last fall, when Chowan went to $180,000 to land the daughter of Giant Gizmo . Brooklynsway did win three stakes at Woodbine and placed in four others—earning more than $500,000—while racing for previous owner and trainer John Ross.
Racing exclusively at Woodbine in her first two seasons, Brooklynsway only raced on synthetic and turf surfaces. Flint, who first decided the filly needed some rest, brought her back for her dirt debut in the Esplanade Stakes March 18 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, where she finished fourth on the muddy track. Flint credited Chowhan for giving him time to rest and then prepare the filly.
"He gave me the time, let me do what I wanted to do, and these are the results," Flint said. "He listened to every word I said and thank God for him. I don't have many like him. When you get old, they go to the young hotshots, but in this case the old dog came through.
"He stayed with me through thick and thin. I can't say enough about a man who stands with you."
In Friday's race Brooklynsway and jockey Robby Albarado, who had won just one of his first 37 starts at the meet, tracked early leader White Clover through a half-mile in :47.61 and six furlongs in 1:11.35. As the 1-2 favorite, I'm a Chatterbox looked for racing room between horses, but Brooklynsway opened a two-length advantage in the stretch and had plenty late.
Brooklynsway completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:42.86 and scored by 1 1/4 lengths over grade I winner I'm a Chatterbox, who was making her 4-year-old season debut and first start since an off-the-board finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) Oct. 30 at Keeneland. Ahh Chocolate rallied from sixth early to finish third.
"Bernie gave me one instruction, and it was very instrumental—'you gotta get away running.' Circumstances dictated that, being in the 1 hole, that I get her away running into the first turn," Albarado said. "I'd ridden her before (in the Esplanade), and she got tired. I thought she might have needed the race. Bernie did an exceptional job of getting her here today, and she ran extremely well."
Brooklynsway paid $52.40, $14, and $5.20 across the board, while I'm a Chatterbox returned $2.60 and $2.10 to place and show. Ahh Chocolate delivered $2.60 to show.
For Flint the upset victory marked his first stakes win at Keeneland since taking the 2010 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) with Runway Model.
"I have to give (Brooklynsway) all of the credit, she's a wonderful mare," Flint said, adding that she'll start next in a stakes at Churchill Downs. "She's a really, really nice mare. They don't come around that often, who run that hard in their 2- and 3-year-old seasons and then come over here in the spring and run like that. She's special. She really is."
Back in Dixie was pulled up in the stretch and vanned off. She was later euthanized.