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Warrior Within rocks in WEBN

Saturday, February 4, 2006 12:00 AM
  • General
Brass Hat, Bradley get first Grade I win in Donn
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 4, 2006 . . . Warrior Within led gate to wire in the $50,000 WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, avenging his loss to Final Copy in the Turfway Prevue last month. Combined with the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes exactly one month from today, the races are local preps for the Grade II Lane’s End Stakes in March.

Bunched with Malameeze, Domestic Oil, and Templar’s Cup in the early going, Warrior Within moved off the rail while maintaining his lead. Slow fractions and a smart ride by jockey Dean Sarvis left him with plenty in reserve as he drew off down the stretch to win by 5 1/4 lengths, with Malameeze still there for second. Waiting to close, Final Copy came wide into the turn and moved up but could advance no farther than third, another 2 1/2 lengths back.

“His two-turn races at River [Downs] last summer weren’t great, but at least he had the experience,” said trainer Daniel “Speedy” Smithwick Jr., referring to third and fourth place finishes in an allowance race and the Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes, respectively. “I thought Final Copy would be tough but this was his first time around two turns. I hoped we wouldn’t have to be on the lead, but the soft fractions helped us, and Dean kept him off the rail.”

Smithwick plans to take Warrior Within to the John Battaglia Memorial next and will think then about the Rushaway or Lane’s End.

Owned by David Ross, Warrior Within went off at 6-1 and paid $14.00, $6.20, and $3.60. He completed the one-mile WEBN in 1:38.99.

Completing the order of finish were Readily, Temporary Saint, Domestic Oil, I’m Waiting for U, and Templar’s Cup.

Brass Hat, Bradley get first Grade I win in Donn
Moments before the gate opened on the WEBN, cheers erupted from Turfway Park patrons as Brass Hat put 4 3/4 lengths between himself and Pies Prospect to win the Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. It was the first Grade I win for Brass Hat and trainer Bill “Buff” Bradley and the second for jockey Willie Martinez, who won Canada’s Prince of Wales Stakes in 1997.

All three are Turfway regulars. Bradley consistently appears on Turfway’s leading trainers list, most recently finishing third in the Holiday Meet. Martinez has long ridden at Turfway; his nine leading rider titles here are a track record.

Brass Hat broke his maiden in the 2004 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway at odds of 38-1 and went on to win the 2004 Ohio Derby and Indiana Derby, both Grade II. His rising star fell to earth when he fractured an ankle at the Lone Star Derby (G3) in October 2004. Bred and owned by Bradley’s father, Fred Bradley, Brass Hat spent the next 13 months recovering. He made his comeback in an allowance race at Churchill Downs in November 2005, finishing seventh, and then won the Prairie Bayou at Turfway in December. He followed that win with another in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) in January.

Racing resumes Sunday at Turfway with a special first post time of 12:00 noon.

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