By Tom Pedulla, America’s Best Racing
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.–Chad Brown is a young trainer in a hurry.
Hurrying to win his first Travers Stakes (G1) with blossoming 3-year-old Street Life when the “Mid-Summer Derby” is run on Aug. 25 at Saratoga Race Course.
Hurrying to eventually overtake the high-powered barn of Todd Pletcher and win his first Saratoga training title at the track that meant so much to him when he was growing up in nearby Mechanicville, N.Y.
Hurrying to win, period.
“There’s not really time to dwell on statistics or certain things like that,” said Brown, 33. “We just go day by day, week by week, and make sure the horses are happy and sound and we’re placing them in the right spots.”
It is increasingly apparent that Brown is making the right moves more and more often. Street Life positioned himself for the Travers by taking the Curlin Stakes. Brown ranked second in the training standings at Saratoga at the start of this week with 14 victories, six behind Pletcher.
Brown relishes the challenges the demanding competition presents.
“Saratoga is a fast-paced meet. I liken it to watching a pro sports event where you go to a pro football game or a pro basketball game,” he said. “It seems like the ball is moving around at a faster speed than when you go to a college game.
“When you’re at Saratoga, everything is moving at a faster pace, and you need to keep up. If you can’t keep up, you are going to fall by the wayside.”
John Adger, who arranged for Bob and Janice McNair to purchase a 50% interest in Street Life after the youngster broke his maiden at Aqueduct last February, has little doubt about Brown’s ability to more than keep pace.
“I just always thought a lot of Chad,” Adger said. “He’s a bright young man. I think he’s an outstanding horseman.”
Brown possesses a feistiness that Adger likes.
“I’ve seen him in circumstances where things didn’t go quite right,” he said. “He is always a gentleman, but he is very firm with the riders and things like that because he wants to win. I think he will be a top trainer for years to come.”
The young conditioner has done everything possible to position himself for success. His wife, Terrill, understands the responsibilities he has beyond their two daughters, Ava and Andi, since she is the granddaughter of the late trainer, William “Red” Terrill.
He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in animal husbandry in 2001, and Brown learned invaluable lessons in working under two Hall of Famers, Bobby Frankel and Shug McGaughey. As he speaks, Frankel’s influence is clearly profound.
“There is a little bit of him in what we do around the barn every morning,” he said. “We try to stick to his program the best we can.”
Brown took out his trainer’s license in 2007. Remarkably, he earned his first Breeders’ Cup triumph the following year when Maram reached the winner’s circle in the inaugural Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Then again, it was in keeping with his profile as a young man who can’t win big fast enough.