04/09/2016 7:38PM

Brody's Cause rebounds strongly in Blue Grass Stakes

Coady Photography
Jockey Luis Saez celebrates after Brody's Cause, second choice at 4-1, wins the Blue Grass Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Brody’s Cause took lengthy strides toward the Kentucky Derby when rebounding off a poor 3-year-old debut and posting an emphatic 1 3/4-length victory Saturday under Luis Saez in the 92nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

My Man Sam was along late to get second by a head over Cherry Wine in the Keeneland spring showcase, while Laoban finished fourth and Zulu, the 2-1 favorite, faded to 12th in a field of 14 3-year-olds. The first- and third-place  finishers are trained by Dale Romans.

Brody’s Cause returned $10.40 to win as second choice after finishing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.20 over a fast track.

The triumph by Brody’s Cause not only marked the second time in four years that Romans has completed a sweep of the Breeders’ Futurity and Blue Grass with the same horse – he did it in 2011-12 with Dullahan – but more importantly, put Romans squarely in the picture for the May 7 Derby at Churchill Downs with Brody’s Cause, a colt with an affinity for distance.

“We’re on to the Kentucky Derby with a real chance,” said Romans.

Brody’s Cause was the only previous stakes winner in the Blue Grass lineup. A son of Giant’s Causeway, Brody’s Cause won a maiden race last September at Churchill before winning the Breeders’ Futurity in his next start. He then finished third behind Nyquist and Swipe in the Oct. 31 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

On an unseasonably cold spring day, and with 20,848 in attendance, Laoban set fractions of 23.44 and 46.75 seconds over a fast track while Brody’s Cause and Saez lagged near the back of the pack. Nearing the quarter pole, Star Hill went to a momentary lead after a sustained run through the final turn, but then the closers unleashed their rallies.

Brody’s Cause swung out and was swiftest of all, clearing off inside the eighth pole en route to earning 100 Derby qualifying points and a $600,000 check for his owners, the Albaugh Family Stable of Dennis Albaugh.

“When I put him outside, he kept going,” said Saez.

Brody’s Cause was coming off a weak race in his lone start since the Breeders’ Cup, a seventh-place finish in the March 12 Tampa Bay Derby.

“He’s a horse that needs a race,” said Romans. “The Tampa race did him a lot of good. We got him back where he needed to be, and he showed what he can do. This is the second biggest race in Kentucky, in my opinion, and it feels great to win it.”

Bred in Kentucky by the partnership of Gabriel Duignan, William Arvin Jr., and Petaluma Bloodstock, Brody’s Cause was a $350,000 purchase at the 2014 Keeneland yearling sale.

My Man Sam, who broke from the 14-hole with Julien Leparoux up, closed resolutely on the far outside after being rank on the first turn. He had three prior starts, all on the inner track at Aqueduct.

“For him to go as wide as he did from as far back as he did and still
get up for second shows what a remarkable race he ran,” trainer Chad Brown said from New York. “Hats off to the winner;  the winner ran terrific, but I think everyone would agree that My Man Sam ran the best race.”

With a points distribution of 100-40-20-10, the top four Blue Grass finishers all could make the Derby field – including the Eric Guillot-trained Laoban, still a maiden after five starts.

After the top four, the full order was Star Hill, Goats Town, Lookin for a Kiss, Donegal Moon, Crescent Drive, Cards of Stone, Zapperini, Zulu, American Dubai, and Twizz. The two also-eligibles, Pinson and Hint of Roses, were early scratches.

The $2 exacta (6-14) paid $67, the $1 trifecta (6-14-3) returned $153.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (6-14-3-7) was worth $152.01.

Attendance clearly was compromised by the frigid weather, as temperatures never got out of the 40s. The Keeneland record crowd of 40,617 showed up four years ago for the Blue Grass.

The Blue Grass, the last of five graded stakes on an 11-race card, ended a two-track wager that combined stakes from Aqueduct and Keeneland and attracted handle of $423,679. A winning 50-cent ticket in the Big Apple-Blue Grass pick four (5-2-8-6) was worth $322.10.



jartaius More than 1 year ago
Sure seems to me like Trojan Nation is the only horse with enough guts and stamina to win the derby.  Did you see how he fought up on the rail after being squeezed in mid-stretch?  I wouldn't worry about the maiden angle.  The connections are very cagey and their only goal with this horse - the best bred one in the top 20 - has been to win the derby.  The Wood was not a fluke...
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
that would really be something - I'll say this, he should have won the Wood - there's no doubt in my mind that if he's clear he wins. The rider made a poor choice, imo, at the top of the stretch. And then he rode timidly when he needed to be aggressive up the fence. 
Jack Armstead More than 1 year ago

This race was a war of attrition.  Laoban may be the first maiden I know who has a chance to be in the KY Derby.  I was lucky to hit the $.10 Super.  I keyed about 7-8 horses on top w/the #4 & #14 in second, with only the #3 in third, and then the same 7-8 horses in 4th. Laoban hung around for me.

Eric Guillot, thanks for keeping your horse fit enough to finish 4th.  I hope he continues to improve the way your other horse did (I can't remember his name, but; I think he ran in the Travers and did well... and, in that big race at Charlestown).  Does anyone remember his horse's name?

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My Man Sam, according to his trainer , was the best horse in that race. Tend to agree
with him-- he traveled considerably more ground. But it was the 2nd slowest BlueGrass
in the past 49 years!  That does not support much enthusiasm! 

L.S. Heatherly 
(Google: "Heatherly")
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
If you believe the fig for the race (and all the figs that came before) you have to believe My Man Sam went from a 95 to an 88 while running 2nd beaten a length and a half or so. And both the winner and MMS remained on their correct leads throughout the stretch. It doesn't make sense for me. Brody's Cause is proven over the track. Every prep run Staurday included huge question marks, the Wood was an absolute joke with a nobody maiden almost shocking the winner in a glacial come home time. And the maiden should have won. I think he got a timid ride down there (on the fence). Exaggerator left open all sorts of questions, and yet, because of his big fig (yet very slow come home time) and a visually pleasing performance he's likely to be overbet relative to his chances in the KD. I like him and I'll think he'll be one of the ones but his likely odds are a real turn-off. One more big prep to go. I'll box Cupid and SBN. 
Mike Reynolds More than 1 year ago
Go Brody go.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
I'm not entirely sure My Man Sam ran the best race, and he's the colt I was touting going into this. Brody and Sam were coming from the same place, and when Brody made his run around the turn Sam was following. Brody just out-footed him when it mattered to open up and Sam - who definitely closed resolutely - was 2nd best, in my book. That said, if you look how Brown has been bringing this colt along in the mornings (and his other 3yos who were on the Derby path), it appears to me that he's trying very hard to have them peak at the right moment. My Man Sam has been on a diet of 4 furlong workouts until two weeks ago when they put him at 5 furlongs for the first time (a bullet he shared with Shagaf at Bel) in his penultimate work for the Bluegrass. Of course, he's a lightly-raced 3yo, which could explain the methodology, but he did the same thing with Shagaf who's been racing since last Fall. I would pay attention to Sam's works beginning in a couple of weeks. He'll have 3 works heading into the KD. I expect Brown to tighten the screws with at least 2 works at 5 furlongs or more, and both should be solid works, if not bullets. It wouldn't shock me to see a 6 furlong bullet move two weeks out. If I see that, I will feel buoyed about his chances. 

Exagerator was sublime in victory today. He figured to benefit more than the rest from the off track, so I find it a little hard to know how to categorize the effort. I knew he was a winner at about the 5/16ths, however, that's how good he looked when th reins were let out. He was absolutely floating over the surface and his strides were long and athletic. It was a "wow" effort in a season when "wow" efforts have been few and far between. I have to view him as a major contender, and I think many will gravitate back to Mor Spirit because of the off track excuse and because he's a Baffert. While I have liked Mor's races up to this one (he has a very willing style, which I like in a route colt), the distance question has been out there for a while and he only got 2nd because the longshot was done. I'm inclined to leave him out. 
Jeff Richardson More than 1 year ago