HENDERSON, Ky.— Trainer Brittany Vanden Berg, who is having a huge meet in her first season at Ellis Park, claimed Bad Beat Brian for $40,000 on behalf of owners Marsico Brothers Racing in the 5-year-old gelding’s last start. She was hoping for a horse who could win a nice allowance race at Churchill Downs. Now she’s hoping she claimed a stakes-winner.
Bad Beat Brian is 10-1 in the odds for Sunday’s $100,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint.
“We kind of needed to replace another 5 1/2-furlong turf horse,” Vanden Berg said. “It just worked out. When I saw him in the paddock, I called my owner and said, ‘Hey look, this horse looks gorgeous. He’s kind of our type: He’s big and chunky. He’s got a nice shoulder, a nice hip. He’d suit our program really nice. We better take a shot on him.’ They said, ‘Go right ahead.’”
The day he was claimed, July 23, Bad Beat Brian uncharacteristically was on the early lead after breaking sharply from post 2. He gave way late to get beaten by three-quarters of a length. Thanks Mr. Eidson, coming in off of a victory in Horseshoe Indianapolis’ William Garrett Stakes, is the 7-2 favorite in a wide-open race that includes Totally Boss, winner of this stakes in 2019.
“There are a lot of horses that are from 6-1 to 10-1,” Vanden Berg said. “I feel when you’re in a race like that, pace can really make a difference. The way they like a track can really make a difference. He already showed the last race that he does like the racetrack. I’ve got that going for me. He did press the pace a lot last time, which he usually comes from off the pace, and they set fractions like 21 and 43. We’re going to hopefully be able to take him a little bit off of that speedy pace, and hope he comes running like he used to.”
Vanden Berg, who began training in 2019 after riding races for seven years, has won six of 14 starts this meet, with three seconds and thirds apiece. She is seeking her first stakes victory as a trainer, though she has placed in graded stakes.
“Are you kidding? This would be huge,” she said of a potential victory. “That’s the goal, to win stakes. If he got that done for us, it would be amazing. I haven’t had a lot of time with him yet. Just little things that I tweaked. Maybe they’ll help, maybe they won’t. But if we did end up winning, it would be really big for our stable.”
Ellis Park Press Release
Photo: Bad Beat Brian (Jennie Rees)