Less than 12 hours after Mrs McDougal and Zindaya finished 1-2 in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel and Connect upset the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing, trainer Chad Brown was back supervising his fleet of contenders for two upcoming “Super” Saturdays at Belmont Park, led by Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational heavyweight Flintshire and Grade 1 Flower Bowl invitee Lady Eli.
Working in company with fellow Turf Classic contender Money Multiplier, Flintshire, who is undefeated in three 2016 starts including the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, Grade 2 Bowling Green and Grade 1 Manhattan, covered five furlongs in 1:03 in preparation for Saturday's $500,000, 1 ½-mile turf race.
Lady Eli, who finished second in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga Race Course coming off a 13-month layoff, also was caught in 1:03 while breezing with Beach Patrol for the $500,000, 1 ¼-mile Flower Bowl on October 8.
“Lady Eli is doing really well,” said Brown. “She bounced out of her first defeat in good order and has come back and breezed well since. Today was another great work for her and she's on target for the Flower Bowl.”
Also on the work tab for Brown were Grade 1 Hopeful hero Practical Joke and maiden winner Favorable Outcome, caught in 1:00 4/5 on the main track in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne on October 8; Sea Calisi and Tombelaine, clocked in 1:03 3/5, and March and Grade 2 Pilgrim contender Oiseau de Guerre, who went in 1:02 1/5 for Saturday's $200,000 turf race.
Wavell Avenue, winner of the 2015 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint,worked a half-mile in :48 for the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom on Saturday.
“It was a good day,” said Brown. “We were going to breeze over a two-day period but with the rain yesterday we pushed it all to today. With an excellent staff it all worked out and we got it done. Everything was executed perfectly. Everyone hit it perfect and everyone is on schedule. We're in good shape.”
Brown, who watched the Pennsylvania Derby from Belmont Park, said he was thrilled with the performance of Connect, who beat 11 other 3-year-olds including Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness winner Exaggerator to earn his first graded stakes.
“We always thought a lot of Connect,” he said of the Paul Pompa color-bearer. “He's a horse that took a while to come around. He had a couple of minor injuries along the way and he finally showed yesterday what we thought all along about him; that he could be a top 3-year-old dirt horse. We're very excited about him. So far he looks OK and we'll form a plan in the days to come. The Breeders' Cup will be considered but there are other races as well and other routes we can take with him. He's definitely an exciting horse for the future.”
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