06/14/2009 11:00PM

Trainer profile: Brad Cox


Having trained for less than five years and running a modest stable of 15 horses, Brad Cox is not a trainer whose name racing fans might immediately recognize.

If he keeps up his current rate of success, however, that could quickly change. Cox is 3 for 12 at the current Churchill Downs meet, and 7 for 33 throughout 2009.

His success this year is reflected in more than wins. Cox also has had four other starters hit the board at Churchill, including Temple Street, who became multiple graded stakes placed with a second in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on May 2 and a third in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap. Remarkable for a horse that Cox and owner Daniel Kessler of K.C. Garrett Farm claimed for $15,000 at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27.

Cox, a 29-year-old native of Louisville and a former assistant to trainer Dallas Stewart, said the key has been getting her to relax and finish. This winter at Oaklawn Park, Cox said he gave jockey Jon Court specific instructions when he came to the paddock in preparation for riding her.

"I told him to ride the first half of the race like it's a mile and a half grass race, and the second half like it's a 2-year-old quarter-mile race," he said.

Temple Street, a 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry, finished second in that Jan. 19 start, but wins would later follow.

Her biggest tasks lie ahead. With her performing well in the Fleur de Lis Handicap, Cox said he is encouraged to try her in the Grade 2, $1 million Delaware Handicap on July 19 at Delaware Park, where Cox's stable will be based following the conclusion of the Churchill Downs meet July 5.

Another one of Cox's top runners, Iron Butterfly, also has a graded stakes engagement in her future - with her target being the Grade 2 First Flight at Belmont Park on June 28.

Coming off a third-level allowance victory at Churchill on May 21, he said the goal is to get her a stakes placing for her owners, Danny Bramer and Eric Gulley, whom are breeders.

After having watched the last sprint stakes for older fillies and mares in New York, the May 24 Vagrancy Handicap, go to post with only five starters, and with the two favorites, Any Limit and Game Face, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, Cox said he and the owners agreed to give the First Flight a shot.

Horseplayers familiar with Cox's record and history of success with longshots won't want to dismiss her. Iron Butterfly paid $12 in winning her last race at Churchill Downs on May 21, but that was small change compared to what Hidden Bay paid in winning a maiden $30,000 claimer at Churchill for Cox on June 5. Making his first start for a tag, Hidden Bay romped on the lead under Court, returning $35.20.

Look for Hidden Bay to reappear in an allowance or starter allowance for horses that have won their maidens for a claiming price. Although another $35.20 return is unlikely, considering how often Cox's horses slip past the betting public, he could start as an overlay once again.