It's a clean sweep for Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar's camp

January 23, 2020 09:49pm
The coronation of Bricks and Mortar as the 2019 Horse of the Year on Thursday night at Gulfstream Park came almost one year to the day of the launch of his championship campaign. It was in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) at Gulfstream last Jan. 26 that Bricks and Mortar, with an authoritative 2 ½-length victory, tipped his hand to what was in store for 2020.

Bricks and Mortar had flashed plenty of talent during his first two seasons of racing, but in part due to a neuromuscular disorder of the hindquarters -- called stringhalt -- he remained on the sidelines for 14 months. It was a longshot that Bricks and Mortar would ever be able to race again, much less at the highest level.

However, thanks to the work and patience of trainer Chad Brown and owners Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, Bricks and Mortar did make it back to the races. He won a Gulfstream allowance race upon his return in December 2018, propelling him directly to a shot in the Pegasus Turf.

Bricks and Mortar rated patiently before finally getting his cue from Irad Ortiz Jr. at the top of the stretch. The son of Giant's Causeway proceeded to uncork an explosive bid, surging past rivals to win going away. Left in his wake was runner-up Magic Wand, a Group 1-winning mare for Aiden O’Brien who is the morning-line favorite for this year’s Pegasus Turf.

Bricks and Mortar would go on to win his remaining five starts on the year, culminating with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2. 
“I mean, what a nice story for horse racing,” Lawrence said after the Breeders’ Cup win. “This is a [horse] that the owners were patient with, the trainer was patient with. They brought the horse back and he ran the table. He took on every big race. We’re just proud of him and so thankful to him.”

Bricks and Mortar is the first Horse of the Year trained by Chad Brown, who himself on Thursday collected a fourth-straight Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer. The partnership of
Klaravich Stables and Lawrence, the jockey Ortiz Jr. and Bricks and Mortar's breeder, George Strawbridge Jr., were also crowned champions Thursday. Brown rated Bricks and Mortar as the best horse he has ever trained. He received 204 of a possible 241 first-place votes. Fellow finalists for Horse of the Year Mitole (19) and Maximum Security (14) received the others.

“He would have to be right up there at the top...for his body of work and for what he’s overcome,” Brown said. “All those things go into putting him right at the top as the best we have had.”

Bricks and Mortar was retired following the Breeders’ Cup and is set to stand the 2020 breeding season at Shadai Farm in Japan. The 6-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway compiled a career mark of 11 wins from 13 starts with earnings of $7,085,650.


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