08/28/2006 11:00PM

Trainer profile: Buff Bradley

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You won't find many high-priced pedigrees in Buff Bradley's barn.

Although Greg Foley won the Turfway Park training title during the winter-spring meet that concluded in April, it was trainer William "Buff" Bradley who won the hearts of bettors. With many of his 13 winners during the meet coming with high-priced horses, a $2 wager on each of his 72 starters would have generated an average return of $3.53 - the highest return on investment of any trainer that finished that meet in the top 10.

When the fall Turfway meet begins Wednesday, Bradley appears poised for another run of success - even without his stable star, $1.2 million earner Brass Hat, who fractured his right front ankle following a workout at Churchill Downs Trackside in early July. Bradley has consistently done well at Turfway over the years, and his horses have seemed to peak when racing over the Polytrack surface there.

His numbers reflect as much. Besides going 13 for 73 during the winter-spring meet, Bradley was 7 for 29 with a $3.31 ROI during the holiday meet at Turfway last December. He was not as dominant during the September meet at Turfway a year ago, going 1 for 10.

Bradley's favorable statistics extend beyond Turfway as well. The accompanying statistics reveal positive returns with first- and second-time starters who were overlooked in the wagering, with horses switching surfaces, with horses stretching out in distance, and with horses seeking to score repeat victories.

He has also shown a positive return on investment with all of his dirt and turf horses, his claiming runners, and his allowance and stakes competitors.

Many of Bradley's runners get overlooked in the wagering. Many of his trainees are homebreds with modest pedigrees, or inexpensive horses purchased at auction. Very infrequently does he train one with flashy bloodlines.

Even Brass Hat - who rose to become one of the top older horses in the country with victories in the New Orleans and Donn handicaps - came from fairly humble beginnings. A son of Prized owned and bred by Fred Bradley, Buff's father and a former Kentucky state senator, Brass Hat debuted for a maiden $15,000 tag at Turfway in January of 2004 before winning the Rushaway and Ohio Derby later that year.

Bradley also regularly uses riders such as Willie Martinez and Calvin Borel. Although well known, they typically do not attract as much mutuel attention at the windows as the leading riders.

Despite Bradley's success, 2006 has not been entirely rosy for him and his family, which operates Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort, Ky. Brass Hat has experienced nearly as many lows as highs this year. Besides his injury in July, he was disqualified from a runner-up finish in the Dubai World Cup in March for a prohibited corticosteroid. The disqualification cost the horse $1.2 million in earnings.

In unsuccessfully appealing the disqualification ruling, Bradley argued that Brass Hat's veterinarian administered an anti-inflammatory drug, methylprednisolone acetate, 28 days prior to the World Cup, five days outside of a guideline contained in a document distributed by a representative of the World Cup. Racing in Dubai is conducted under a zero-tolerance drug policy.

With Brass Hat sidelined due to injury, Bradley's stable looks much as it did before Brass Hat came on the scene. Most of his horses are claimers or low- to mid-end allowance runners - just the types of horses that fill many of the races at Turfway Park.

INSIDE THE STABLE

HorseAge/SexLast raceFinishLast 3 BeyersCareer recordEarnings
Artful Launch4FN1X Alw177647117-4-3-2$67,264
Big Case3CMd Sp Wt36935NA2-0-0-12,050
Case Chaser3FN1X Alw66467588-1-2-120,895
Chief Export4GN3X Alw292928922-4-6-2 148,208
Hour Queen2FMd Sp Wt440NANA1-0-0-01,025
Wrapper3FMd $30,00025947108-0-2-05,905

VITAL STATISTICS

CategorySts.W%ROI
1st race after claim30.000.00
2nd race after claim30.000.00
1st race with trainer90.000.00
+180 days since last race90.000.00
60-180 days since last race150.000.00
Second off layoff 45-180 days180.060.28
Second off layoff +180 days80.252.52
1-7 days since last race10.000.00
1st time starter220.093.65
2nd start as maiden200.052.81
Maiden special to maiden claimer80.121.20
1st time turf90.116.24
1st time blinkers60.000.00
2-year-olds330.153.92
Dirt to turf200.104.18
Turf to dirt150.202.39
Blinkers on80.122.28
Blinkers off60.000.00
Sprint to route420.122.65
Route to sprint310.061.49
31-60 days since last race290.141.53
Won last start380.243.65
Wet tracks450.132.16
Dirt2770.152.45
Turf310.103.43
Sprints1560.121.86
Routes1520.163.25
Maiden claiming770.132.50
Maiden special weight500.040.28
Claiming1090.173.43
Allowance390.233.99
Stakes200.202.47
Graded stakes50.405.24
Debut in a maiden claiming race120.176.68
Debut greater than/equal to 1 mile10.000.00

Trainer statistics reflect North American starts from Jan. 1, 2005 through Aug. 27, 2006