Sidor: Thinking outside the box on Bricks and Mortar's future

By Todd Sidor, Special to HRN
August 19, 2019 10:17am
Sidor: Thinking outside the box on Bricks and Mortar's future
Photo: Coady Photography

After his smashing performance in the Arlington Million (G1), Bricks and Mortar has stamped himself as the top prospect for American Horse of the Year with three Grade 1 wins and a Grade 2 score to his name in 2019.

While Wise Dan was the last turf horse to manage this feat, Main Sequence came close in 2014, losing by 90 votes to the dual-classic winner California Chrome. Wise Dan and Main Sequence are mentioned because they have had a similar campaign to Bricks and Mortar — with one key exception. They both closed the year out with a win in either the Breeders’ Cup Mile or the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Bricks and Mortar may not have the same opportunity given trainer Chad Brown’s reservations about running him at a distance as short as the Mile, or as long as the 12-furlong Turf.

So, what options are left? Well, there’s also the international stage, where most other year-end features are on the grass. You’ll find Longchamp’s Arc in France following Ireland’s races at at Leopardstown and the Curragh Racecourse in September. In England, Ascot Racecourse hosts its Champions Day in late October, when the highlight of the race card is the Champion Stakes (G1) at 10 furlongs — an ideal distance for Bricks and Mortar.

Brown, 40, has proven himself to be North America’s leading trainer garnering the NTRA’s Eclipse award for 2016, 2017, and 2018. A disciple of the late Bobby Frankel, Brown still needs two more championships to equal his mentor’s training mark, though it took Frankel 12 years longer to win his first Eclipse. However, Brown could do Frankel one better if he were to capture a Group 1 race in Europe.

Americans are used to the fall season bringing shippers from Europe to take on their best horses in the Breeders’ Cup. However, rarely does the shipping go the other way.

The last American-based connections to win the Champion Stakes were Peter Brant and Alan Clore with their American-bred filly, Triptych. She was trained by David Smaga in France and David O’Brien in Ireland before being given to Patrick Biancone for the remainder of her racing career. Triptych became the first filly to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas before becoming a two-time winner of the Champion Stakes. Brant, the owner of Brown-trained Beverly D. (G1) winner Sistercharlie, could likely tell him plenty about running a horse at Ascot.

Bricks and Mortar has already competed against a couple of good European horses in Group 1 winner Intellogent and Magic Wand, who is a five-time runner-up in Group 1 races in North America and Europe. He has also won this year on yielding, good and firm tracks. The son of Giant’s Causeway has faced and beaten the best that North America has to offer. Wise Dan was the last North American horse who appeared ready to take on the best of the European horses at their home courses. Now, Bricks and Mortar can actually do it.

On Aug. 2, Richard “Mr. D.” Duchossois, a former tank commander in Normandy during World War II, was inducted into the National Museum of Racng’s Hall of Fame as a Pillar of the Turf for his many contributions to the horse racing industry, including introduction of the Arlington Million, which first ran in 1981. In a Chicago Tribune, article the billionaire was quoted:
"People say, 'How do you live so long?' I say you get challenges that get your adrenaline up.''

For years, Mr. D saw the race include European turf horses such as Cape Blanco, Mondialiste and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Arc winner All Along invade the Arlington Park and take home the Arlington Million trophy. Likewise, Brown entertained sending a horse to Europe for the first time earlier this year when Newspaperofrecord emerged as a candidate to run at Royal Ascot.

Now, maybe it’s time to consider Bricks and Mortar for raising American racing fans’ adrenaline by heading the other way across the pond.

Todd Sidor, an attorney by trade, has produced equine law seminars, and continues to be active in racing partnerships. His more than two decades passion and respect for the sport of horse racing will always make him, first and foremost, a racing enthusiast.


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