11/26/2012 3:00PM

Aqueduct: Brown still getting over tough Remsen and Matriarch losses

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Michael Amoruso
Normandy Invasion drops a head bob to Overanalyze in the Remsen, giving trainer Chad Brown a tough beat.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It was a tough weekend in what has otherwise been a terrific year for trainer Chad Brown.

On Saturday, at Aqueduct, he watched in person as his 2-year-old colt Normandy Invasion fell a nose short to Overanalyze in the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen Stakes.

On Sunday, from his office at Belmont Park, he watched on television as his 3-year-old filly Dayatthespa attempted to jump the inside rail in the early stages of the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park. Dayatthespa would eventually get back in the race, finishing fifth, 4 1/2 lengths behind longshot winner Better Lucky.

Brown said that Dayatthespa lost her action and cut herself on her right foreleg, around the tendon. The injury required sutures.

Dayatthespa on Monday morning was flown from Southern California to south Florida, where she will take up residence at the Palm Meadows training center. Monday afternoon, Brown was headed to south Florida.

On Monday morning, while overseeing the training of his New York string at Belmont, Brown called Dayattthespa’s loss the toughest he’s endured in his five-year training career.

“I was second in two Breeders’ Cup races, but that was the toughest beat I took,” Brown said. “For an hour after the race I kept closing my eyes hoping I was going to wake up from a nightmare.

“I had been planning for that race for six months. Since June, I circled that race, and a quarter-mile into the race you’re done. Toughest one I had to take; loved that filly going into that race.”

Dayatthespa, a New York-bred daughter of City Zip, had been unbeaten in five starts – all stakes – this year. She was coming off a front-running victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Cup at Keeneland. She began the year rallying from 12 lengths off the pace to win the Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream.

Around the first turn of the Matriarch, tucked inside by Javier Castellano, Dayatthespa attempted to jump the rail and hit it hard, leaving a mark on the filly’s side. Dayatthespa lost her action and she “lacerated her foreleg around her tendon,” Brown said.

“She’s probably the most versatile horse in my barn,” Brown said. “She’d be the last one I think would try something like that.”

Brown said Dayatthespa will get an extended vacation as he and owner Peter Bradley discuss her future.

“An experience as traumatic as that for her, I’d have to really think about what I want to do regarding her future,” Brown said. “I’m very shell-shocked right now.”

The Matriarch came on the heels of Normandy Invasion’s nose loss in the Remsen. Normandy Invasion, far back early, made a five-furlong move under Jose Lezcano and appeared to have his nose in front of Overanalyze one jump before and after the wire.

“Tough beat, tough weekend,” Brown said. “He ran well, so I’m encouraged with that. He established himself. He has to be a long-winded horse to make that long of a run. He can settle, take dirt, run around two turns. For only his third career start, we were really impressed. He did everything but win. To the winner’s credit, he really dug back in he showed a lot of courage.”

Brown said that Normandy Invasion was scheduled to leave Belmont by van for Palm Meadows on Tuesday. He said he and owner Rick Porter would discuss whether to run Normandy Invasion two or three times before the Kentucky Derby. One spot Brown mentioned was the Wood Memorial, likely to be run April 6. Normandy Invasion’s sire, Tapit, won the Wood in 2004.

Even with the disappointments of the weekend, this has been a breakthrough year for Brown, who has won 130 races and 17 graded stakes. His horses have earned $10.7 million, putting him fifth in trainer earnings in 2012.