08/24/2016 6:51PM

Mr Maybe wins John's Call Stakes, gives Brown 1,000th win

Barbara D. Livingston
Mr Maybe and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. win the John's Call Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths Wednesday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Chad Brown kicked off what he hopes is a memorable week by recording a milestone victory Wednesday at Saratoga.

When Mr Maybe cruised across the finish line first by 2 1/4 lengths in the $100,000 John’s Call Stakes, it was the 1,000th career victory for the 37-year-old Brown. A former employee of Hall of Fame trainers Shug McGaughey and Bobby Frankel, Brown recorded his first win Nov. 27, 2007, at Churchill Downs with Dual Jewels.

“It’s a nice accomplishment to get right here at our home track at Saratoga,” said Brown, a native of nearby Mechanicville. “It seems not that long ago I wasn’t even in training, just at the picnic area with my parents. Now to have a stable this size and to be competing at the top level with so many wonder coworkers and clients that have become my friends, this job of mine has totally changed my life. To have 1,000 wins come right here at Saratoga is priceless for me.”

This has been a tremendous meet for Brown. He has a meet-leading 31 victories, 10 more than Todd Pletcher. Brown is virtually certain to win his first Saratoga training title after finishing second to Pletcher the last five years.

In the John’s Call, Mr Maybe was dropping into a restricted stakes after running seventh in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth on July 3. Brown said Mr Maybe came out of that race with a respiratory issue and was sent to Bruce Jackson at the Fair Hill Training Center, where there is a hyperbaric chamber.

The horse breezed twice at Fair Hill before being sent to Brown, who also breezed him twice ahead of the race.

“We have plenty of horses with Bruce; he’s an important part of the team,” Brown said. “He sent him up to me after cleaning him up, and I breezed him a couple of times, and we ran him.”

Under Irad Ortiz Jr., Mr Maybe saved ground in fifth position while My Afleet made all the pace – a half-mile in 49.78 seconds, six furlongs in 1:14.55, and a mile in 1:39.42.

With about a half-mile to go, Ortiz guided Mr Maybe into the 4 path, and he gradually advanced to the leaders around the turn and into the stretch.

As Mr Maybe was about to overtake My Afleet in midstretch, Ortiz hit his horse left-handed, and Mr Maybe drifted out. Ortiz straightened him out, and he came home an easy winner.

Mr Maybe, a 5-year-old gelding by Ghostzapper, covered the 1 5/8 miles over firm turf in 2:39.21 and returned $3.40 as the favorite.

My Afleet held second by a half-length over Renown, who was followed by Procurement, Moss Code, Biedermeier, Rum Tum  Tugger, and Biz The Nurse.

Brown has now won nine stakes at the meet, but more opportunities lay ahead. Brown has three horses entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers. He runs three horses, including North America’s leading male turf horse, Flintshire, in the Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer, and he brings the undefeated Lady Eli back off a 13-month layoff in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa.

“We need to keep going forward. We have a big Travers weekend coming up, and we’re not going to just sit on 1,000,” he said.