If you haven't read the news, Brass Hat is back in training for a 2009 campaign. While the grade I-winning son of Prized has never been an iron horse, he has at least been fairly consistent -- and it's always great to have old-timers return to the track. Horse racing needs more longevity from its stars.
Brass Hat was a late foal in 2001, born May 22 of that year. While he didn't race as a 2-year-old of 2003, the bay gelding did get an early start as a 3-year-old, running his first race in late January 2004, almost four months before his actual third birthday. His maiden claiming place effort earned him a jump up in class to a maiden special weight for his second out -- also resulting in a runner-up finish. But the effort was impressive enough to curtail the maiden contests, and Brass Hat took first in his next race, a minor stakes in March of his 3-year-old season -- the first of seven black type wins to date.
Brass Hat (pedigree) descends from the larger Turn-to male line that is today dominated by sons and grandsons of Halo. Other branches of Turn-to's son Hail to Reason are active, however, including a line of Stop the Music and three distinct sources of Roberto. In addition to Dynaformer (SRO, previous post) and Red Ransom, the Roberto line continues through multiple sons of Kris S., and it's this line that gave us Prized back in 1986.
Prized was born from a mare with rather obscure pedigree influences, and was the first of five full siblings, of which three were stakes winners and one other was graded-placed. Prized has been a low-key sire and Brass Hat's almost $1.8 million in earnings makes him by far his sire's most important runner -- in fact, Brass Hat accounts for over 7% of Prized's lifetime progeny earnings.
On the bottom half of Brass Hat's five-cross pedigree, we find the unraced mare Brassy, a 1995 daughter of the Dixieland Band stallion Dixie Brass. Through his dam, Brass Hat's female family 8-c is the same female lineage as the great John Henry -- they both trace back to the 1897 Domino mare Pink Domino, who also produced the multiple champion runner, leading sire, and leading broodmare sire Sweep. (Fun facts: Sweep won the 1910 Belmont Stakes and is the damsire of two Triple Crown winners -- Whirlaway and War Admiral.) Family 8c is also the dam line of Storm Cat, Intent, Sassafras, and other important sires.
Brass Hat has a pedigree that closely mimics the successful sire Arch (SRO). Where Brass Hat is a grandson of Kris S., Claiborne Farm's Arch is a direct son of that top sire. Both stallions were produced from the Northern Dancer damsire line -- Arch's dam was by Danzig while Brass Hat's dam is a granddaughter of Dixieland Band. The sire line nicking continues deeper, however: the second dams of both Arch and Brass Hat are from the Raise a Native line (through Alydar and Majestic Prince, respectively). Arch's third dam is by Never Bend, as is Brass Hat's fourth dam.
Brass Hat hasn't won in a while -- his most recent "first" came back in September 2007 -- but he's now had more than a half-year away from the races and it sounds like he's back in good form. Let's hear it for one of the old boys coming back to the track!