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Normandy Invasion Headed Back to Stakes Ranks

Overanalyze Normandy Invasion 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Sue Kawczynski
Normandy Invasion continued to please his connections on Sunday morning, emerging from Saturday’s record-setting return to the races in fine fashion, trainer Chad Brown said.            

Making his first start since finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) last May, Normandy Invasion rolled by 7 ¾ lengths in his comeback. His time of 1:33.13 for one mile broke the main track record of 1:33.71 set by Commentator in 2008.            

“He came out of his race in good shape so far,” Brown said. “We were very pleased with his performance. It was great to see the horse get back to the races. Hopefully, this will be a good start to the year for him.”            

A foot abscess and other minor ailments cut Normandy Invasion’s 3-year-old season short, but he had been breezing steadily since late December at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.            

“He really exceeded all expectations,” Brown said. “Thankfully, he looked good this morning when he came back. It’s on to bigger races, hopefully.”            

Owner Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms mentioned both the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds on March 29 and the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park on April 12 as possible next starts. Both races are run at 1 1/8 miles.            

“We’re going to see how the horse trains before we commit him to a race,” Brown said, “but we’re keeping all of our options open.”            

Coup de Grace, 10th of 11 from the rail in the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream on Jan. 25, worked a half-mile in 48.45 seconds Sunday morning at Palm Meadows for Brown. The 3-year-old Tapit colt, also owned by Fox Hill, is nominated to Saturday’s $150,000 Swale (G2) at seven furlongs.            

“He breezed really well,” Brown said. “We still don’t know exactly where we’re going to run him yet. We’re discussing that with Mr. Porter, so we’re just going to take it day-by-day with him.”            

Brown said both Storming Inti, a winner of four straight races including a pair of Gulfstream stakes, and French import Pleuven are both under consideration for the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3), also on Saturday. 

 

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