Wednesday, March 1, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 1, 2006 . . . Turfway Park will proudly salute one of its own this Saturday when it sends off Brass Hat, a five-year-old Thoroughbred, to compete in the $6 million Dubai World Cup, the richest race in the world. The race is scheduled for March 25 at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai. Brass Hat was invited to run in the Dubai World Cup after his dominating win in the Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in Florida last month.
Brass Hat trains at Turfway and his trainer, William “Buff” Bradley, has long been a fixture on Turfway Park’s leading trainer lists. Brass Hat was bred and is owned by Bradley’s father, former Kentucky state senator Fred Bradley. His jockey will be Willie Martinez, who has been Turfway’s leading rider a record nine times.
Between the seventh and eighth races on Saturday—about 4 p.m.—Brass Hat will come onto the Turfway Park track to breeze, a training run of specific speed. Wearing the Bradley silks, Martinez will be aboard for the work. Turfway Park will then present Buff Bradley with a cooler, a light blanket, embroidered with the horse’s name and the words “Turfway to Dubai.” Fans will receive buttons bearing the same insignia. Brass Hat will wear the cooler in the paddock at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse before the race.
Brass Hat’s story goes beyond “local boy makes good.” In 2004, after breaking his maiden in the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway and winning the Ohio Derby and Indiana Derby, both Grade II, Brass Hat broke an ankle while competing in the Lone Star Derby (G3). He spent the next 13 months recuperating at the Bradleys’ Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort under the daily care of Buff Bradley’s wife. Brass Hat returned to racing in November 2005, finishing seventh in a turf race at Churchill Downs. He then reeled off three impressive victories in a row: the $50,000 Prairie Bayou at Turfway in December, the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap in January, and the $500,000 Donn. He now has six career wins—all stakes—in nine starts and earnings of more than $1.2 million.
Racing begins Saturday at Turfway at 1:10 p.m. Admission and parking are free.