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Brass Hat is evergreen in Sycamore

Brass Hat has now won or placed in 19 stakes (Keeneland/Coady Photography)
Fred F. Bradley's homebred nine-year-old BRASS HAT (Prized) turned back the clock with a last-to-first victory in Thursday's $100,000 Sycamore S. (G3) at Keeneland, snapping an eight-race losing streak and winning for just the second time in more than three years. The oldest horse left in the turf marathon once the 10-year-old Cloudy's Knight (Lord Avie) was retired because of injury, Brass Hat was briefly blocked behind rivals in midstretch, but once Calvin Borel switched him to the outside, the race was over. The veteran rolled past the dueling pair of Southern Anthem (Royal Anthem) and Musketier (Ger) (Acatenango), won going away by a length, and completed 1 1/2 firm-turf miles in 2:30 3/5.

Brass Hat, whose last victory came in the Louisville H. (G3) in May 2009, had often run well in defeat since then. Runner-up to Musketier in the Elkhorn S. (G2) at this course and distance during the spring meet, he was coming off a rallying second in the Cliff Guilliams H. at Ellis Park on Labor Day. Brass Hat was accordingly dispatched as the 9-2 third choice in the Sycamore's 12-horse field and returned $11.60, $6.20 and $3.60.

Unhurried early at the back of the pack, Brass Hat loped along as many as 20 lengths behind the free-wheeling Presious Passion (Royal Anthem), who rattled off fractions of :24 1/5, :48 1/5, 1:13 and 1:38 4/5. Tajaaweed (Dynaformer) raced in a clear second for much of the way, but drew up to the longtime leader's flank through 1 1/4 miles in 2:05 1/5. Tackling Presious Passion at the top of the homestretch, Tajaaweed edged one length clear.

But then 9-5 favorite Musketier and the 54-1 shot Southern Anthem, moving in tandem on the outside, collared Tajaaweed inside the final furlong. By that time, the closing Brass Hat was right on the heels of the top two. Angled out when Borel judged that the time was right, Brass Hat delivered the knockout punch to earn his ninth career stakes victory, boosting his bankroll to $2,167,921 from his 39-10-8-5 record.

Southern Anthem prevailed by a nose over Musketier for runner-up honors, and the longshot yielded $37.20 and $12.20. Musketier, favored despite not having run since the Elkhorn, paid $3 to show. The exotics totaled $466.20 (exacta), $1,603.40 (trifecta) and $13,825 (5-1-7-11 superfecta) with the 8-1 Tajaawed holding fourth, another 2 1/2 lengths back. Yate's Black Cat (Black Minnaloushe), Lemonade Kid (Lemon Drop Kid), Free Fighter (Out of Place), Rezif (Distant View), Presious Passion, Your Round (Distorted Humor), Lignon's Hero (Brz) (Crimson Tide) and Solitaire (Victory Gallop) concluded the order of finish.

Trained by his owner's son Buff Bradley, Brass Hat has now won a stakes in six of the last seven seasons, despite sustaining serious injuries earlier in his career that necessitated long layoffs. The bay gelding captured the 2004 Indiana Derby (G2), Ohio Derby (G2) and Rushaway S.; the 2005 Prairie Bayou S.; the 2006 Donn H. (G1), in track-record time at Gulfstream Park, and the New Orleans H. (G2); the 2007 Massachusetts H.; and last year's Louisville, which ended a losing skid dating back to the Mass Cap. Brass Hat crossed the wire second in the 2006 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1), only to be disqualified for a positive post-race test. His resume features 10 stakes placings, including the United Nations S. (G1), Sword Dancer Invitational S. (G1), Clark H. (G2), the past three runnings of the Elkhorn, as well as the Louisville as the defending champion this season.

The Kentucky-bred is out of the unraced Dixie Brass mare Brassy, whose latest foals are an unraced juvenile filly named Brass Bonnet (Sky Mesa) and a weanling filly by Any Given Saturday. Brass Hat's third dam is 1978 Fantasy S. (G1) queen, Equanimity (Sir Ivor).


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