Social Inclusion, perhaps the most talked-about 3-year-old never to win a stakes race, is moving to trainer Chad Brown from the barn of Manuel Azpurua, Rontos Racing Stable owner Ronald Sanchez posted on Twitter Monday night.
The announcement came one day after Social Inclusion's worst finish in six career starts: a seventh-place effort, beaten 11 lengths by Bayern, in Sunday's Grade 1 William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
“Manny, Sonia, and me had a nice dinner here in Oceanport, N.J.,” Sanchez began in a series of tweets. “Having fun we discussed all the wonderful times we have had with our boy S.I. He took us everywhere, we went to Aqueduct, we went to Triple Crown … and we came here to Jersey Shore.
“But we believe it's time for him to fly and try another training pattern, so Manny Azpurua and Ron Sanchez still a team, friends and family. We announce that Social Inclusion is heading Wednesday to Saratoga. New trainer will be Chad Brown. Good luck. I still own 100%.
“Manny is a great trainer. He is 85. I want him to rest and relax. No more traveling everywhere, need him in Florida taking care of my 2-year-olds.”
Social Inclusion was the talk of the Triple Crown trail during a brief but brilliant winter campaign of two races at Gulfstream Park: a 7 1/2-length maiden win on Feb. 22, followed by a 10-length allowance win on March 12.
Following the allowance win, multi-million-dollar offers started rolling in – one said to be as high as $8 million. Sanchez opted not to sell, in part because potential buyers planned to move the horse away from the South Florida-based Azpurua, who, like Sanchez, is a native of Venezuela.
Social Inclusion hasn't won since. He finished third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial to Wicked Strong after leading to mid-stretch, did not have enough points to make the Kentucky Derby field, but finished third to Derby winner California Chrome in the Preakness. He finished third once more behind Bayern in the G3 Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes day at Belmont Park, then seventh after stumbling at the start in the Haskell, in which he raced without the bleeder medication Lasix.
A son of Pioneerof the Nile out of Saint Bernardette, by Saint Ballado, Social Inclusion was bred in Kentucky by Robert Tillyer, Martin Keogh and Dr. Chet Blackey. He was purchased by Rontos Racing for $60,000 from Betz Thoroughbreds, agent, at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Brown, 35 years old and best known for his success with turf horses, is currently ranked sixth among all North American trainers by money win in 2014.
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