10/24/2007 11:00PM

Brass Hat classy, but Poly novice

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - Since beginning his career in January 2004, Brass Hat has virtually done it all, rising from the $15,000 maiden claiming ranks to become a Grade 1 stakes winner, coming back from injuries that could have ended his career, and racing over 13 different racetrack surfaces. Yet surprisingly he has raced just once over a synthetic track in his 19-race career - winning the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes over an outclassed field at Turfway Park in December 2005.

Saturday, he gets a second opportunity over Polytrack when he faces Stream Cat and seven other rivals in the closing-day Grade 3, $150,000 Fayette Handicap at Keeneland.

For a horse that has made more than $1.58 million, it is his lack of synthetic experience that could end up giving his foes a chance in the 1o1/8-mile Fayette.

Stream Cat, in particular, is accomplished over Polytrack, having won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile over it in 2005, and recently running third behind Hard Spun and Street Sense in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic there Sept. 29.

Class is Brass Hat's strength. He comes off a victory in the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs on Sept. 22, one of his best races since early 2006, when he ranked as one of the best handicap horses in the country.

Also this year, he set a track record in winning an allowance at Churchill Downs, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.27 and edging Student Council, subsequent winner of the Pacific Classic and Hawthorne Gold Cup.

Willie Martinez rides Brass Hat for trainer Buff Bradley and his owner-breeder, former Kentucky state senator Fred Bradley, Buff's father.

Brass Hat is not the only millionaire in the field. So, too, is Go Between, although he is even less experienced on Polytrack than Brass Hat. All but one of his 19 starts have come on turf, with the one exception coming when he ran a distant third over dirt in the off-the-turf Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont when he was a 2-year-old.

Winner of the Grade 2 Virginia Derby last year, he shares the top last-race Beyer Speed Figure with Stream Cat, a 102 that Go Between earned in winning the Louisiana Breeders' Cup Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 22. Miguel Mena rides.

The Fayette is part of an abbreviated seven-race card, with first post set for 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The Breeders' Cup races from Monmouth Park, which begin at 12:30 p.m., will be simulcast throughout the facility.

Racing in Kentucky shifts to Churchill Downs on Sunday.