10/29/2007 11:00PM

Frankel assistant leaves nest

EmailChad Brown parted company with his longtime boss and friend Bobby Frankel on Sunday, bound for Churchill Downs, where he will take out his own training license later this week. But before leaving the Frankel barn, Brown had one last, extremely important function to perform: saddling Ginger Punch to victory in last Saturday's Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Brown, 28, has spent the last five years working as an assistant for Frankel, overseeing his horses on the New Jersey, Kentucky, and Florida circuits. He will have 10 horses of his own during the fall meet at Churchill Downs.

Frankel didn't attend the 2007 Breeders' Cup, opting to stay at home in California to be with his ailing dog and leaving Brown the responsibility of tending to Ginger Punch as well as Frankel's other two Breeders' Cup starters, Silent Name (Mile) and Precious Kitten (Filly and Mare Turf).

"Bobby called me a couple of times Breeders' Cup Day, but mostly talked about his other two horses," said Brown. "He really didn't say much to me about Ginger Punch. I guess he was that confident in her."

Brown gave Frankel all the credit for her accomplishments, culminating with her victory in the Distaff.

"I've seen Bobby do a lot of great training jobs, but this filly takes the cake because she had so many problems along the way, including a major throat issue," said Brown. "Bobby had to do a lot of stopping and waiting, but he was always patient and conservative and always did what needed to be done to get her through everything the way he did."

Brown said winning the Breeders' Cup with the last horse he saddled for Frankel was "both exciting and a little nerve-wracking."

"It will also be a very tough act to follow when I start out on my own this week."

Octave will be sold this weekend

Octave, who finished a strong third in Saturday's BC Distaff, will be a late supplement to Sunday's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November select mixed sale, part-owner Jack Wolf confirmed Monday.

That sale is the same one at which Wolf and his partners sold Ashado for $9 million following her third-place finish in the 2005 BC Distaff. Though Octave has not accomplished as much as Ashado - the 2004 Distaff winner - her value may never be as high as it is now following a 3-year-old season in which she won two Grade 1 races and was beaten a half-length in the Distaff.

"Offering Octave is very much in line with our business model," said Wolf, who along with his wife, Laurie, race under the Starlight Stables banner. They own Octave in partnership with Don and Barbara Lucarelli. "We're trying to run this thing as a business. She was a great filly, we've had a lot of fun, but from a business standpoint it makes sense."

Octave, a daughter of Unbridled's Song, was purchased for $350,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale. At 2, she won the Grade 2 Adirondack and finished second in the Matron and BC Juvenile Fillies.

At 3, Octave won the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks while finishing second in the Fair Grounds Oaks, Ashland, Kentucky Oaks, and Fitz Dixon Cotillion. She never finished worse than third in 13 starts and amassed $1,660,934 in purse money. She was trained by Todd Pletcher.

Meanwhile, West Point Thoroughbreds has withdrawn Lear's Princess from the November sale and plan to race her again next year, according to West Point president Terry Finley. Lear's Princess, who won the Grade 1 Gazelle, finished 10th as the 9-2 favorite in the Distaff, run over a sloppy Monmouth surface.

Finley said Lear's Princess will remain with trainer Kiaran McLaughlin with the 2008 objective being a return to the $2 million BC Distaff to be held at Santa Anita.

"We've thrown a lot at her, we want to freshen her up and give her a shot to be the kind of 4-year-old we think she can be," Finley said.

From bad to worse for O'Brien's Euros

The Breeders' Cup was a study in degeneration for trainer Aidan O'Brien and his horses from the famed Ballydoyle training center in Ireland. It began with tough second-place finishes in the Juvenile Turf with Achill Island and in the Mile with Excellent Art, got worse when the world's best 1 1/2-mile horse, Dylan Thomas, struggled home fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Turf, and hit its nadir in the final yards of the Classic, with George Washington suffering a fatal breakdown in the stretch.

O'Brien's failure to win a race set the tone for the 2007 European presence at Monmouth: The overseas contingent was blanked in the 11 races, the first time since 1998 that the Europeans had gone home empty-handed. Passage of Time, the Henry Cecil-trained filly, wound up the favorite in the Filly and Mare Turf, but could do no better than third despite having dead aim on the lead in midstretch. Another European, Simply Perfect, turned the Filly and Mare Turf topsy-turvy when she blew the race's second of three turns, wiping out two horses to her outside.

Achill Island ran well enough to win, but just was slightly bested by Nownownow, who staged a remarkable last-to-first run to win Friday's Juvenile Turf. Excellent Art also performed valiantly in defeat, coming within a length of winning the Mile despite breaking from post 13, racing wide around the far turn, and running on turf far softer than he prefers.

Dylan Thomas's crushing loss - probably in the final start of his career - was not entirely unexpected, even though he was sent off at odds of 4-5 in the Turf and had won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe about three weeks earlier. Even casual European racing fans have long known that Dylan Thomas always has been regarded as a horse best on firm going, and he was completely out of his element under the extreme conditions at Monmouth.

The losses all get filed in one category, but the death of George Washington is something else entirely. Always a horse of considerable repute overseas, George Washington badly fractured his right foreleg in the stretch run of the Classic.

Mick Kinane, who rode George Washington, told the Racing Post that the conditions late Saturday afternoon at Monmouth were extreme.

"He traveled well for me, but the kickback down the back[stretch] was horrendous," Kinane said. "He was climbing into the air trying to avoid it and you couldn't believe how bad it actually was."

Nearly all Cup winners prepped in New York

The road to the Breeders' Cup winner's circle this year ran right through the winner's circle of Belmont Park and Saratoga.

Seven of the eight Breeders' Cup winners on Saturday had their final prep race in New York. Six of those seven won preps at Belmont Park in late September or early October.

Indian Blessing won the Juvenile Fillies after taking the Frizette at Belmont. She became the first Frizette winner to take the Juvenile Fillies since Storm Flag Flying in 2002. War Pass, the Juvenile winner, became just the third Champagne winner to come back and win the Juvenile, the first since Timber Country in 1994.

Lahudood won the Flower Bowl at Belmont on Sept. 29, making her the second Flower Bowl winner to take the Filly and Mare Turf, and the first since Soaring Softly in 1999. Midnight Lute won the Sprint off his victory in the Forego at Saratoga on Sept. 1. Orientate, in 2002, pulled off that same feat, also without racing in between.

For the second straight year, the Beldame third-place finisher won the Distaff. Last year it was Round Pond, this year it was Ginger Punch. English Channel became the first horse to win the Turf Classic and BC Turf since Tikkanen in 1994. Curlin became the first horse to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup and BC Classic in the same season since Skip Away in 1997.

Only Kip Deville, who won the Mile, did not prep in New York. Kip Deville, who is based at Aqueduct, finished second in the Woodbine Mile in his last start.

Gomez wins second Shoemaker Award

Garrett Gomez became the first rider to win the Shoemaker Award for outstanding jockey at the Breeders' Cup a second time after he won two BC races Saturday.

Gomez won the $2 million BC Juvenile Fillies aboard Indian Blessing and the $2 million BC Sprint aboard Midnight Lute, marking the second time he has won two BC races on one card. Gomez also won two races in 2005 when honored with the Shoemaker Award at Belmont Park.

This was the fifth year for the Shoemaker Award, which is voted on by the international media attending the Breeders' Cup. Previous winners were Alex Solis in 2003, John Velazquez in 2004, Gomez in 2005, and Frankie Dettori in 2006.

Gomez, 35, appears on his way to his first Eclipse Award for top jockey, as he holds a comfortable lead atop the North American jockey standings with nearly $20 million in earnings, not counting what his mounts have earned overseas.

Gomez is one of 18 jockeys to have won two BC races in a day. Counting multiple two-win days for several riders, the feat has been accomplished 29 times. No rider has ever won as many as three races at the Breeders' Cup.

- additional reporting by David Grening, Marcus Hersh, and Marty McGee