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Brian Brown looks for another banner year in 2014
Friday, January 17, 2014 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- He has been training horses for more than two decades, but the ball really began rolling for Brian Brown two years ago and last year was the best of his career with purse money of more than $1.5 million and a Universal Trainer Rating of .385 from 238 starts.

In 2013, Brown, who conditioned Breeders Crown victor and champion pacer Won The West early in that horse’s career, sent out a Bluegrass and International Stallion Stake division winner in Limelight Beach (Somebeachsomewhere, p,2,1:49.4, $210,192), an Indiana Sire Stakes champion in Color’s A Virgin (Always A Virgin, p,2,1:53.3s, $211,700) and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Beach Memories (Somebeachsomewhere, p,3,1:48.3f, $429,739).

The Delaware, Ohio, resident is already looking forward to the upcoming season as currently he is putting more than 60 head through their paces down at Spring Garden Ranch and is managing the largest stable he has ever possessed.

Brian Brown set career highs for both wins (65) and earnings ($1.5 million) in 2013.

“Moving to Delaware and coming down here (to Florida) two years ago really got things going for me,” he said. “I picked up some new owners and this year we bought some very nice yearlings. I also have some nice 4-year-olds including Beach Memories, who ended up with a sore foot around the Breeders Crown, and some 3-year-olds that didn’t race last year because of some soft tissue injuries. When that happens all you can do is just give them some time.”

Since it is still quite early, Brown isn’t sure which of his bevy of babies will step up this year, but he is in the process of figuring that out.

“We just took them out (Thursday) morning (Jan. 16) and we have them going in around three to two and a half minutes,” he said. “I have a couple of Somebeachsomewheres I think I will turn out to be nice horses and several Well Saids that look to be nice as well. But it is early and they all are still growing.”

Last year Brown thought the 2-year-old filly Candy’s A Virgin (Always A Virgin, p,2,1:54.2s, $87,500) would turn out to be one of his classiest charges and she was second to her stablemate Color’s A Virgin in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stake final on Oct. 19, so he is hopeful she will come into her own this year.

“We really thought Candy’s A Virgin would be the better horse,” he said. “Color’s A Virgin was very lazy when we first started training her, then in her first race at Scioto Downs Shawn Barker drove her and once she was out there she decided she didn’t want to be beat. After that, all you had to do with her was show her the whip and she would take off. I don’t think she got beat in any race where she got on the front, so we were surprised by her, but I think Candy’s A Virgin, who came on towards the end of the year, will have a good season out in Indiana this year as well.”

The plan for Limelight Beach will be quite similar to Beach Memories’ 2013 campaign.

USTA/Mark Hall photos
Limelight Beach paced to a personal best 1:49.4 in a Bluegrass Stakes division last fall at The Red Mile.

“If he comes back well we will stake him to everything like the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, the Adios and Lexington,” Brown said. “I don’t really do the other Triple Crown races since you have to pay into those races when they are so young and stakes payments are due in I think March. We only paid $25,000 for him, so I think that’s a lot of money for the owners to lay out that early on.”

With his expanding operation, Brown will send his horses to compete primarily in the Midwest and Pennsylvania, but he does have several horses to prepare for the New York circuit.

“The Indiana horses will stay mainly in Indiana since the purse structure there is so good,” Brown said. “The 2-year-olds will probably race early on at the Meadows and the Pennsylvania horses will stay in Pennsylvania. Since Ohio will have a new track opening up in Dayton and Scioto’s purses are very good right now, I’ll probably race a lot more in Ohio. Then there’s the couple New York horses, which I will get ready and send to Ronnie Burke since he is sending some of his own up there.

It’s expensive to send a guy out with them and all the bills such as food, lodging and gas if you only have a couple horses. Now I’m not saying if I did have a horse that was high quality enough to send to the Meadowlands that I wouldn’t send someone with them, but if definitely has to be cost effective because it can be very expensive. You are almost better off sending them to someone else who is racing there, like I do with Ronnie.”

With the new year scarcely underway and many of his horses just gearing up for their seasons, like any horseman, Brown isn’t quite sure what to expect in 2014, but he is satisfied with the cards he holds in his hand.

“All you can do is keep your horses sound and place them in the right spots,” said Brown. “The last couple years have been pretty good to me and if we can keep all our horses, or at least most of them, healthy, I hope to have another good year.”

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