01/05/2017 2:10PM

2016 Eclipse Awards: Chad Brown


Horses trained by Chad Brown don’t seem to bounce, nor do the trainer’s statistics. In 2016, he continued his string of ascending yearly earnings since beginning his career in 2007, leading all trainers with more than $23.1 million in North American purse money. Brown was nearly $2 million ahead of Todd Pletcher, who had held the money-won crown from 2010-2015.

Browns also was tops in other key categories. He won 42 graded stakes, again surpassing Pletcher, who had been the leading graded-stakes-winning trainer since 2015, and he edged Bob Baffert for the lead in Grade 1 victories by a 12-11 margin.

Brown was in a league of his own with turf success in 2016, with his horses making more than $16.2 million on that surface, well ahead of runner-up Mark Casse’s approximate $9 million tally on the grass. Brown won nine Grade 1 races on turf, highlighted by Flintshire winning the Woodford Reserve Manhattan and Longines Sword Dancer, Lady Eli returning from a bout with laminitis to win the Flower Bowl, and New Money Honey taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Brown experienced Grade 1 success on the dirt, too, with Practical Joke winning the Hopeful and Champagne before finishing third in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and late-blossoming Connect winning the Cigar Mile Handicap.

Even in occasional times of defeat, his horses often performed at an elite level. Flintshire, Wavell Avenue, and Lady Eli all ran second in Breeders’ Cup races, with Lady Eli falling just a nose short of European raider Queen’s Trust in the Filly and Mare Turf. Practical Joke enters 2017 as a leading Kentucky Derby prospect.

Brown, 38, also notched in his 1,000th career victory and captured his first Saratoga training title in 2016. For the second straight year, he won the most races of any trainer on the New York Racing Association circuit. He also was the leading trainer at the Belmont spring/summer meet and fall meet.