Bernie Flint lingered in the main winner’s circle for a few minutes, waiting for his horse, waiting for another winner. Eventually he got word the winner’s presentation for Friday’s Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland would go down where other graded stakes presentations go down – on the turf course in front of the tote board.
Flint eventually made his way across the track, a trek he hadn’t made since 2004 when Runway Model won the Grade 2 Darley Alcibiades Stakes during the fall meeting. He greeted Brooklynsway when he got there, after the 4-year-old Ontario-bred daughter of Giant Gizmo upset I’m A Chatterbox in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare at 25-1.
“To win a Grade 3 over here with a horse that had only run on the dirt two times, that is a wonderful feeling,” Flint said. “I tell you what, I kind of floated over there for the win picture. When I came back I kind of stumbled a little bit. Thank God she did that, it’s good for the business. A $52 horse, come through in a Grade 3 and did it convincingly. I like that. She didn’t do it under stress or anything. She ran hard, that was a good field of horses. I looked at it and said, ‘my God, what did I get her into?’ “
Flint must have known what he was getting into when he entered Brooklynsway, who owner Dr. Naveed Chowhan bought for $180,000 at last fall’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November selected mixed sale. A multiple stakes winner in her native Canada, Brooklynsway had won three of 13 starts and earned $537,241 at the time of the sale.
Brooklynsway was unraced on traditional dirt before he joined the Flint stable, racing on Polytrack and turf at Woodbine for former trainer John Ross. She finished fourth in a small stakes at Fair Grounds for her new connections a month ago before springing the Doubledogdare upset.
While not a regular occurrence, upsets in Keeneland by Flint runners are by no means non-existent.
Flint saddled Runway Model to her Alcibiades win at odds of 17-1 and more than 20 years before that he defeated eventual Kentucky Derby winner Swale in the Lexington Stakes with the New York-bred He Is A Great Deal.
“I’ve been in this business many, many years,” said Flint, a former New Orleans police detective with 3,366 wins through Friday. “I tell you what, it’s the greatest feeling in the world when you win a Grade 3 at Keeneland. The last time I did that I think was when I beat Swale with He Is A Great Deal, right before the Derby in the Lexington Stakes.
“That’s been a long time, but I don’t come across those kind of horses. In fact I paid $7,500 for He Is A Great Deal. I didn’t exactly have a Swale but he did do the job that day.”
Robby Albarado rode Brooklynsway to victory in the 1 1/16-mile Doubledogdare, officially 1 1/4 lengths over I’m A Chatterbox. He’d ridden the filly in the Esplanade Stakes March 18 at Fair Grounds and was aboard the former $9,482 yearling for her morning works in New Orleans.
Flint said Brooklynsway had some little problems and needed “some time” after her 2- and 3-year-old campaigns before he got her going seriously in mid-February. He praised Albarado for his confidence and Chowhan for his patience.
“After as many hard races as she’s run she was tired; just needed some time,” Flint said. “That’s always good for a horse. That’s what’s good about Dr. Chowhan, he gave me the time to handle the horse. She’s never ever disappointed me. Her works are fantastic. She’s done exactly what I wanted her to do. Albarado’s been on her since Day 1. Since she first worked for me over at the Fair Grounds Albarado’s been on her. He’s always told me, ‘Bernie, keep it up we’re going to get it. We’re going to get it.’ He was right.”