11/02/2012 7:56PM

Breeders' Cup: Brown's day a roller-coaster of highs and lows

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Emily Shields
Chad Brown walks with Jeffrey Sanchez before the start of the Ladies' Classic after winning the Filly & Mare Turf with Zagora.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It was a disappointing ending to what had been a terrific day for trainer Chad Brown.

On top of the world after saddling Zagora to a victory in Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, Brown was knocked down a few pegs when Awesome Feather, unbeaten in 10 previous starts, finished sixth, 10 lengths behind Royal Delta in the $2 million Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita.

 “It’s the highs and lows of the horse business, life of a trainer, especially at this level,” said the 33-year-old Brown, who also had a second-place finish with Watsdachances in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. “If you want to play in the big leagues, you want to be in the Breeders’ Cup races, you’re going to have to take big highs and big lows.”

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Friday results and video replays]

 Brown said he knew right away that Awesome Feather was in trouble in the Ladies’ Classic. She was parked three wide around the first turn under Jeffrey Sanchez and wasn’t grabbing a hold of the bit. She was never closer than 2 1/2 lengths of the lead.

 “First quarter I felt I was dead,” Brown said. “She may not have cared for the track. With that said, hats off to Royal Delta. Tremendous effort. I think Bill Mott did a fantastic job with that horse under less than ideal circumstances.”

 Brown was referring to the fact Royal Delta had suffered a laceration on her hip when being loaded onto plane in New York on Monday. She needed to have six stitches and was being treated with antibiotics.

 Brown has been dealing with less than ideal circumstances with Awesome Feather since her got her two years ago following her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.

 She was purchased out of sale by Frank Stronach, but was soon diagnosed with a bowed tendon. Brown got her through that and won the Grade 1 Gazelle last fall. This year, after a victory in the Sunshine Millions Distaff, Brown had to deal with a suspensory issue, but finally got her back to the races in September at Belmont, winning an overnight stakes by 11 1/4 lengths.

 Brown said that Awesome Feather’s future was never discussed between he and Stronach so he’s not sure if her career is over or not.

 “Win or lose, there was never any plan for her,” Brown said. “First and foremost, we’ll take care of the filly, make sure she comes out of the race 100 percent. We love the filly. We’re proud of her. We’ll take good care of her first.”

Brown said Awesome Feather’s performance was disappointing, but it didn’t take away from Zagora’s victory, which likely clinched a championship as North America’s top female turf horse.

 “At the end of the day, today was a success,” Brown said. “I’ll make sure my horses are okay coming home and tomorrow’s a new day.”


 On Saturday, Brown will saddle Noble Tune and Balance the Books in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Corporate Jungle in the Turf Sprint.