What to watch for: Brown's focus shifts to Alabama, Travers

August 12, 2019 10:20am
What to watch for: Brown's focus shifts to Alabama, Travers
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
After a historic sweep of the Arlington Million day graded stakes races on turf, trainer Chad Brown will be back at Saratoga the next two weekends seeking similar dominance on dirt.

According to the New York Racing Association's Press Office, Brown could be represented by both Highest Honors and Looking At Bikinis in the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes (G1). First, he'll saddle Dunbar Road in Saturday's Alabama Stakes (G1) for the fillies.

Dunbar Road, who's 3-for-4 with her only defeat a second out start in Grade 2 company, last time rolled to a victory in Belmont Park's Mother Goose (G2), rallying in a compact field to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

"I couldn't be happier with her," Brown said as the daughter of Quality Road prepares to go 1 1/4 miles for the first time
. "She's training as good now as she has all year."

And she'll need to be with the prospective field lining up for the $600,000 weekend feature at the Spa.

Grade 2 winner Point of Honor has long targeted the Alabama and its 10 furlongs; Lady Apple returned from a third in the Kentucky Oaks to win the Iowa Oaks; and Street Band also bounced back from the first Friday in May to take the Indiana Oaks (G3).

Owned by Peter Brant, Dunbar Road was a $350,000 purchase who could vie for a spot at the head of this division with a victory. Brown also trains unbeaten Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) winner Guarana, who will target Parx Racing's Sept. 21 Cotillion (G1) next.

2019 Alabama (G1)

So, about the Travers: This is the race Brown has long said he most wants to win, with the New York native 0-for-7 after Good Magic's defeat a year ago in the $1.25 million Mid-Summer Derby.

Highest Honors and Looking At Bikinis both exit Saratoga's July 26 Curlin Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race for sophomores without a graded win in 2019.

A W.S. Farish homebred, Highest Honors went off at the higher price but rallied over a sealed, muddy track to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Looking At Bikinis, the race favorite, ran on a notably slower rail to be third.

Both colts entered the Curlin off victories at Belmont Park at returned to the work tab Saturday.

"It was just a maintenance work and he galloped out very strong," Brown said of Highest Honors, who clocked a half mile in 49.98 seconds.
"I'm happy with how both horses are moving."

Looking At Bikinis completed his breeze in 48.85 seconds.

"I thought the distance would be his friend," Brown said, looking back at the Curlin Stakes
. "I guess he didn't fire. The track was really wet and he was on a bad rail that day, so it's hard to evaluate him.

"I'll see how he works next week before making a decision on that horse."

Should both Brown contenders be entered in the Travers, this is the challenge awaiting:

2019 Travers Stakes (G1)


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