Trainer Chad Brown saw a lot to like in
fast-closing second to Verrazano in the Wood. For the first time in his
career, Normandy Invasion started from an inside post position, and he
responded well to a little bumping and racing in close quarters before
angling outside at the top of the lane for a spirited drive home.
“I think he ran great yesterday, and he came out of the race
good,” Brown said. “He did everything I expected him to do except win,
but just short of that I thought
he ran great.”
In his prior two starts, the Grade 2 Remsen last November and
the Grade 2 Risen Star at the Fair Grounds, Normandy Invasion broke
tardily and appeared to lightly clip
heels each time. In the Wood, he got up into the race early, behind a
slow opening quarter-mile of 24.89 seconds, and saved ground without
getting trapped down on the inside.
“He had drawn outside every start in his career – 9 or 10 [post
position] – and he finally drew inside and took advantage of it by
saving ground,” Brown said. “I thought
the horse broke clean out of the gate. He was able to lay closer to a
slow pace than he had in the past. It really helped him. I think he
learned a lot from it, and we learned a lot from the horse. He ran as we
suspected. He doesn’t need to be that far away.”
Brown said Normandy Invasion would travel to
on April 14 to begin preparations for the Kentucky Derby and get work
in over the Churchill Downs track. The question, however, remains,
whether Javier Castellano will retain the mount
or ride Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“I’d like to retain him on the horse; we all would,” Brown said.
“But, it’s going to be up to him and his agent, and I’m sure he’s going
to monitor his two
mounts, their health and how they came out of their races before making a
decision. We’re not applying any pressure right now. We’ll just see
what they want to do.”