With three wins on Saratoga Race Course's July 22 card, including Lady Eli's triumphant return to the track's winner's circle with her game victory in the grade 1 Diana Stakes, trainer Chad Brown was in good spirits at his barn the next morning.
Lady Eli's victory, her first at the Spa since her maiden-breaking debut in August of 2014, was not without its tense moments, as Lady Eli and fellow Brown trainee Antonoe broke through the starting gate prematurely, delaying the race for a few anxious minutes before being cleared to run and finish first and third, respectively.
"It's not what you want to see in any race," Brown said. "You've got horses leaving the gate (early), that's nothing a trainer wants to see, but fortunately, both horses overcame it and ran terrific."
Reporting that both runners exited the race in good shape, Brown wasn't hesitant to say yesterday's win may have been Lady Eli's best race to date.
"She really dug down deep and put her nose on the wire first," Brown said. "Ran down a horse that's giving eight pounds to her, that was on the lead, and on the fence the whole way saving ground. In light of the gate (incident), weight, going wide, and still overcoming—it's probably her best performance."
Even with the victory yesterday, Brown's stable was busy Sunday morning as multiple graded stakes winner Paid Up Subscriber, who ran a game second to Songbird last out in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) June 10 at Belmont Park, worked a bullet-earning half-mile breeze on the main track. The 5-year-old daughter of Candy Ride covered the distance in :47.89, her final preparation for the $200,000 Shuvee Stakes (G3) July 30.
"She worked terrific," Brown said. "Her final work was this morning and she's on target for the Shuvee."
Lastly, Brown reported that multiple graded stakes turf runner Wake Forest was given a freshening following his last workout at Belmont July 16 with the hopes of returning in the fall.
"He's been in constant training for quite a while now," Brown said. "He's been a really good horse to us, so we are going to take care of him and give him a couple months rest at the farm and let him work on a couple minor things we found. Hopefully, he comes back and can continue his career, later in the year or next year."