Race of the Week 2017
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From Coast to Coast

Is Brown Ducking Awesome Maria?

The G3 Rampart Stakes has been filled with intrigue ever since Gulfstream Park offered a purse increase in the hopes of luring reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, Champion 3-Year Old Filly Royal Delta, and undefeated previous Eclipse winner Awesome Feather. A minimum increase of $500,000 was offered if they could get two of the champions to commit and as much as a $1 million increase if all three were to commit. Obviously this is not happening. Trainer Larry Jones and owner Rick Porter have other goals in mind for their HOTY winner, goals that do not include a trip to Gulfstream Park. Royal Delta is currently in Dubai training to take on the best the world has to offer in the Dubai World Cup. Of the three, only Awesome Feather is currently in the Gulfstream area, but at the beginning of this week, trainer Chad Brown announced that his star would not start in the Rampart because he was not happy with how she had been training recently. Tests revealed that Feather was sound, but Brown is sticking to his guns.
The defection of Awesome Feather stripped all hope of having a superb match-up in the Rampart, one of the stakes races on the Florida Derby undercard. Until this week, fans had been gearing up for an "awesome" showdown between Awesome Maria and Awesome Feather. Now that Feather is out, Maria will undoubtedly go off as the incredibly heavy favorite. The Rampart closed with only 11 nominations, with the biggest names including Feather, Maria, It's Tricky, Persuading, and R Gypsy Gold. The latter three are likely to not be entered since they all have already raced this month. That leaves Amor de Palacio, Beloveda, Canadian Mistress, Go Unbridled, Lacie Slew, and My Pal Chrisy as potential challengers for Maria.
The real question in this is not who will face Maria but whether or not Chad Brown is choosing to duck Maria for fear of snapping Feather's unblemished record. As previously stated, tests showed that Feather was sound, but Brown is still skipping the Rampart based in large part on the fact that he has not been happy with Feather's training. One need only look to Animal Kingdom as proof positive that it is certainly better to err on the side of caution. Now, that is not to say that Graham Motion is to blame for the Derby winner's most recent injury. My point is simply this: Animal Kingdom suffered a fracture in last year's Belmont Stakes, was given time off to recuperate, was brought along slowly, and put in just one race before re-injuring the same leg. Feather, on the other hand, did not fracture a bone, but tendons, ligaments, etc. are weaker than bones and are more likely to be re-injured.
Chad Brown is a relatively young trainer in the grand scheme of things, but he learned from the best as an understudy to legendary Hall of Famer Robert Frankel. Since striking out on his own about four years ago, Brown has had the pleasure of training proven stars Zagora, Stacelita, Maram, and Awesome Feather, as well as up and coming stars such as Dayatthespa. During this time, he has developed a reputation for doing what is right for the horse. If he is worried about Feather's training, then something is amiss. The much anticipated match-up between Feather and Maria may not happen this weekend, but it is sure to happen sometime in the future. If Brown can take Maram, who began her career in a maiden claiming race, and turn her into a graded stakes winner, including winning the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at odds of 11-1, then I would say that ducking is not his style.


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Older Comments about Is Brown Ducking Awesome Maria?...

Story like the Apple Blossom for RA and Zenyatta. Rich purse if both were to race then, but only Z showed up to take it.
Chad Brown is so proud of this horse, he has such an affection for her, he only wants her to be sound, God Forbid anything ever happen to her on his watch. Did it ever occur to anyone that he truly loves this horse and does not want to take even the slightest chance with her well being? She is in the very best hands and as someone who adores this horse, I thank God for Chad Brown
;-) I didn't even think of our Point/Counterpoint, Brian, but it does remind me of that article, too, now that you mention it. I have to agree with you about Brown and Feather, but you have to admit that the timing is a bit fishy.
It would have been AWESOME!
This column reminds me of an old Point/Counterpoint ;-) I am sure we will see an Awesome match-up sometime soon. Brown is a good horseman, and if he says Awesome Feather is not at her best right now, I will take him for his word.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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