Our Brain­trust ends lay­off

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Ni­cole Russo

Our Brain­trust, a stakes win­ner against open com­pany but com­ing off a six-month lay­off, meets fel­low stakes win­ner Scrap Cop­per in Satur­day’s $100,000 Mary­land Ju­ve­nile Futurity, which head­lines three stakes for Mary­land-bred or Mary­land-sired run­ners at Lau­rel Park.

Our Brain­trust, who is trained and co-owned by Cathal Lynch, won both of his starts, and was flat­tered by his com­pe­ti­tion in both. He won his de­but on May 3 at Lau­rel, and run­ner-up Ty­balt came back to win next out and later place in stakes at Mon­mouth and Delaware. Our Brain­trust then was up along the in­side to pre­vail by three-quar­ters of a length in the Tre­mont Stakes on June 8 at Bel­mont. Run­nerup Sombeyay won the Grade 3 San­ford Stakes at Saratoga in his next out­ing and later fin­ished fourth in two Grade 1 events. Third-place fin­isher Mae Never No won the Colleen Stakes at Mon­mouth, while Sir True­badour re­bounded from his fourth-place fin­ish to win the Grade 3 Bash­ford Manor at Churchill.

Our Brain­trust has been work­ing steadily at Lau­rel since the last week of Septem­ber. He most re­cently turned in a bul­let five-fur­long move out of the gate on Nov. 30, go­ing in 59.60 sec­onds.

“He’s been train­ing re­ally well,” Lynch said. “He had a good work here last week­end. I was very pleased with him. He gal­loped out strong and that’s kind of what I was look­ing for. I think Scrap Cop­per is the horse to beat, but our horse is do­ing well. He’s com­ing off a lit­tle bit of a break, for sure, but he’s run well fresh.”

Scrap Cop­per, a de­but win­ner in July at Lau­rel, was beaten a nose in the Lau­rel Futurity on turf. He lost all chance in the Mary­land Mil­lion Nurs­ery when he stum­bled badly at the start en route to a sev­enth-place fin­ish, but re­bounded to win the James F. Lewis III Stakes on Nov. 10 at Lau­rel, de­feat­ing Nurs­ery win­ner Fol­low the Dog by three-quar­ters of a length.

“The race in the Mary­land Mil­lion, he went right down on his nose and then he was boxed in and he had no chance to run,” trainer Hamilton Smith said. “We threw that race out and thank­fully he came back and ran big.”

Scrap Cop­per earned a Beyer Speed Fig­ure of 78 in the Futurity and a 77 in the Lewis, the top fig­ures in this field. Our Brain­trust posted a 73 in his Tre­mont win.

Jorge Var­gas Jr., who was aboard for Our Brain­trust’s de­but, gets back up as the colt leaves from post 2 in the field of eight on Satur­day. Lead­ing lo­cal rider Trevor McCarthy re­tains his ride on Scrap Cop­per, who drew post 4.

Lynch and McCarthy team up in the $100,000 Mary­land Ju­ve­nile Filly Cham­pi­onship Stakes later on the card with Belial, who ap­pears to be the class of the field. Belial, who drew the rail, is the only mem­ber of the field to fin­ish in the top three in a stakes, hav­ing fin­ished sec­ond in the Mary­land Mil­lion Lassie in Oc­to­ber. She came back to win an op­tional-claim­ing race go­ing this same sev­en­fur­long dis­tance at Lau­rel with a Beyer of 69, the top num­ber in the field.

Round­ing out the card’s stakes ac­tion is the $75,000 Howard and Son­dra Ben­der Me­mo­rial Stakes for 3-yearold and up sprint­ers, which fea­tures a re­match be­tween Lew­is­field and Great­bull­sof­fire, the top two fin­ish­ers in the Mary­land Mil­lion Sprint in Oc­to­ber. Lew­is­field, who rolled by 8 3/4 lengths in that race, later fin­ished third in the Fab­u­lous Strike Stakes at Penn Na­tional.

Laki comes off a run­ner-up ef­fort in the Grade 3 Frank J. De Fran­cis Me­mo­rial Dash. Talk Show Man won the Mary­land Mil­lion Turf, while Club­man was third in the Mary­land Mil­lion Clas­sic.

EMILY SHIELDS

Our Brain­trust, who will make his first start in six months in the Mary­land Ju­ve­nile Futurity, wins the Tre­mont in June.

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