Bricks and Mortar, under the eager gaze of the Japanese owners of his breeding rights, swept to a late-running victory in the 37th running of the Grade 1 Arlington Million Aug 10 at Arlington International Racecourse, sparking talk of Horse of the Year honors.
On the way, the 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway gave trainer Chad Brown an historic sweep of all four graded stakes — including the three grade 1 events — on Arlington’s International Festival of Racing card.
Not bad for a horse whose career almost ended before it had a chance to take off.
Bricks and Mortar was sidelined at the end of 2017 when he underwent surgery for a hock condition. He was nursed back to health in Florida and returned in December 2018, winning his first race at Gulfstream Park. Since then he has reeled off five additional wins, four of them Grade 1 scores.
“He’s an amazing horse,” said Seth Klarman of co-owner Klaravich Stables, which owns the horse with Bill Lawrence. “Chad got him ready off a long layoff to do what he’s done. Chad and his staff have just done a remarkable job. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Asked if Bricks and Mortar’s tour de force campaign might be good enough to earn Horse of the Year honors, Klarman said: “I think there’s a chance. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I do think this helps the turf division as a whole, though. I hope so.”
Bricks and Mortar, with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, saved ground into the far turn in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million as Bandua, winner of the July 13 Arlington Handicap on the same course, tried to lead every step. But when Ortiz gave the long-striding bay his cue in midstretch, he responded with a powerful rally to cross the finish line first, completing the distance in 1:59.44 on firm going.
European filly Magic Wand played second fiddle to Bricks and Mortar again, having also been runner-up to the son of Giant’s Causeway in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Bandua held on for third.
The victory was the third Grade 1 win of the day at Arlington for Brown, who earlier scored with Sistercharlie in the Beverly D. and Valid Point in the Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds. Brown also won the day’s finale, the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies with Café Americano.
Brown has swept the top-three placings in graded stakes in New York twice this season. Asked if he had ever won three Grade 1 races on a single card, the taciturn trainer said, “I don’t believe so.”
Klarman said the goal now is to get Bricks and Mortar to the Nov. 2 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park after the MIllion win earned him a spot in the race via the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series. Anything before that, Klarman said, “is up to Chad.”
“We’ll see how he is doing and take it from there,” Brown said.
Bricks and Mortar’s breeding rights have been sold to Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm in Japan, as reported earlier in the week by BloodHorse. Both Yoshida and bloodstock agent Eugenio Colombo, who brokered the deal, were at Arlington to see Bricks and Mortar in person.
“Mr. Yoshida had not seen the horse,” Colombo said. “He wanted to have a look at him in person.
Yoshida, beaming after the victory, said he has high hopes that Bricks and Mortar will continue the long history of U.S. influence in the Japanese breeding industry. Shadai recently lost Deep Impact, a son of Sunday Silence and the dominant sire in Japan for a decade, to a cervical spine fracture.
“He will help, yes,” Yoshida said. “We are very anxious to have him in Japan.”
“We were sad to see him leave the country,” Brown said of Bricks and Mortar. “But I’ve dealt with Mr. Yoshida before and I know he will be in good hands and he will be treated well.”
But first, there’s the matter of the Breeders’ Cup.
Sistercharlie First Two-Time Winner of Beverly D.
Sistercharlie piled record upon record Aug. 10 in the $600,000, Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington, leaving her owner, trainer, and jockey searching for new superlatives and wondering where they can find new challenges.
The 5-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie not only became the first horse to win the Beverly D. twice, but also broke the course record for 1 3/16 miles, roaring home under John Velazquez in 1:52.43.
It was her fourth straight win, all in Grade 1 races.
“She’s the horse of a lifetime,” said trainer Chad Brown, who won his fifth straight Beverly D. “It is such an honor to be associated with her.”
“It’s such an honor,” echoed an awestruck Peter Brant, who has never seen Sistercharlie finish worse than second in eight starts since she arrived from France. “She tries her heart out.”
The Beverly D. was a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race, guaranteeing Sistercharlie an automatic berth in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.—Bob Kieckhefer
Valid Point Powers to Secretariat Victory
Making just his third start for Bob Edwards’ e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Mike Ryan, Valid Point stepped from allowance company to the sport’s top level Aug. 10 and remained undefeated with an impressive victory in the $500,000, Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington.
The 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy rated far back under Javier Castellano, then circled the field and hit another gear inside the final sixteenth of a mile, blowing past six horses in the final quarter-mile to win the one-mile race for sophomores.
“Thanks to Mike Ryan and Bob Edwards,” winning trainer Chad Brown said. “The horse got hurt at 2 and we couldn’t run him, but they gave him back to me in excellent shape.”
Valid Point won a Feb. 10 maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, then took a June 7 allowance race at Belmont Park before achieving his Grade 1 score.—Claire Crosby