When Chad Brown worked for late Hall of
Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, the young assistant learned the importance of
knowing your horse and its strengths. On Saturday, Brown will attempt to
emulate his mentor – who in 2003 ended Funny Cide’s Triple Crown
bid by sending out Empire Maker to a victory in the Belmont Stakes – when
he saddles Magnolia Racing Stable and Hidden Brook Farm’s Street Life for the “Test of the
Developing Street Life required Brown to
use the same understanding Frankel employed when he spotted his horses.
Following Street Life’s eighth-place debut in a six-furlong sprint at
Gulfstream Park in January, Brown realized the colt would be better off
spending the winter with his string in New York, which offered the son of
Street Sense ample opportunities to compete around two turns on
Aqueduct’s inner track.
“Some horses love
Gulfstream’s track, others don’t,” said Brown. “We got
a sprint race into him and he didn’t make an impact. [Jockey] Jose
Lezcano came back, and despite the horse not being a factor in the race he was
very happy with the horse. He said, ‘This horse really never got to run
to the wire. I had a tough time pulling him up. I think you need to get this
horse going long, two turns, somewhere.’ So I took his advice, and I
brought the horse to New York.
He really did well here in the winter.”
Under the care of assistant trainer
Cherie DeVaux, Street Life won his next two starts, a maiden special weight
race in February and the Broad Brush overnight stakes in March, both around two
turns at the Big A. After a disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 Resorts World
Casino New York City Wood Memorial in April, the colt rebounded to finish a
fast-closing third in Belmont
Park’s Grade 2
Peter Pan on May 12, his most recent start.
Many of Brown’s biggest wins to
date have come on turf with fillies and mares, having captured the 2008
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with Maram, the 2011 Grade 1 Diana
with Zagora, and the 2011 Grade 1 Beverly D. and Grade 1 Flower Bowl
Invitational with Stacelita. He earned another Grade 1 win, this time on dirt,
in the 2011 Gazelle with Awesome Feather. Brown, however, is eager to prove that
he, like Frankel, can succeed with any type of horse, not just turf runners or
“Did Bobby have a special way with
fillies? Sure he did,” said Brown. “Did he have a special way with
turf horses? Sure he did. Did Bobby have a special way with European horses?
Sure he did. He passed those things on to me, and, like Bobby, you start to get
not labeled but maybe people
start to think of you as favoring training those types of horses.”
Although Frankel trained turf champions
Intercontinental, Leroidesanimaux, Possibly Perfect, Ryafan, and Wandesta,
Brown was quick to point out some of the top dirt runners Frankel developed.
“When I worked for him, Medaglia
d’Oro was a killer on the dirt going long, and so were Ghostzapper and
Ginger Punch,” said Brown. “So were Empire Maker and Peace Rules.
Squirtle Squirt won going three-quarters.”
Street Life, who in the Belmont could give Brown his first Grade 1
victory with a male horse, galloped 1 ½ miles on Thursday and schooled in the
paddock before the third race.
“I thought he [galloped]
perfectly,” said Brown. “I couldn’t be any happier.”