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Trainer Brown Hopes to Continue Diana Stakes Dominance

It happens every summer. Or, at least, it seems it does.

On the first Saturday of the 40-day Thoroughbred meet at Saratoga Race Course, the New York Racing Association presents the Diana Stakes (G1T). And, when the running is done in the 1 1/8-mile race worth $500,000 for older fillies and mares, trainer Chad Brown will be in the winner’s circle.

At least, it seems like he is always there after the Diana.

Brown, the two-time defending training champion at the Spa, has won the Diana a record seven times. The Diana champ has come from his barn in six of the past seven years. Odds are, it will happen again July 15 as Brown trains four of the five horses entered.

Leading the way is 5-year-old mare In Italian , owned by Peter Brant. The daughter of Dubawi  won the Diana last year at odds of 8-1. She doesn’t figure to fetch that price this time as In Italian will be the favorite. She has won seven of 11 career starts and is 2-for-2 this year. Brown, who has trained a boatload of talented female turf runners, gives In Italian very high praise.

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“She is one of the best I’ve trained, I believe,” Brown said outside his barn on the Oklahoma Training Track July 11. 

In Italian, who will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., enters off a front-running 3 3/4-length win in the $500,000 Just a Game Stakes (G1T) at  Belmont Park June 9—Belmont Stakes Day. Running on the lead is In Italian’s game and, most times, she doesn’t get caught.

“In Italian is clearly the deserving favorite,” Brown said. “She is dangerous because she has good early speed and she can carry it, which is rare.”

Brown will be running three others in the race: 5-year-old Fluffy Socks , owned by Head of Plains Partners, and a pair of 4-year-olds in Klaravich Stables’ Marketsegmentation  and Juddmonte’s Whitebeam .

All are coming off wins. Fluffy Socks, a daughter of Slumber  , will be ridden by Joel Rosario. She won the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2T) on Kentucky Derby Day. Marketsegmentation, by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah  , has won three of four this year, the latest being the New York Stakes (G1T). She will be ridden by Jose Ortiz. Whitebeam, a daughter of Caravaggio , won the Gallorette Stakes (G3T) on Preakness Day when last seen May 20. Flavien Prat will ridden.

Running multiple horses in a big race has never been a problem for Brown.

“I want to avoid the ‘what if’ scenario with horses,” Brown said. “I would rather run them and let it be decided on the track rather than holding horses out of a race and then have a ‘what if’ I had run the horse in the race. Am I sure I would have beaten the other one? I don’t want to speculate. I want to enter the horses and see where they stack up against each other.”

Brown also said that running second or third in a prestigious race like the Diana is meaningful for the value of a filly.

“Additionally, it’s a big purse, so any piece of it is significant money, so that makes multiple reasons to run multiple horses,” Brown said. 

The one non-Brown-trained horse in the race is Tracy Farmer’s Fev Rover, who is conditioned by Hall of Famer Mark Casse. The 5-year-old daughter of Gutaifan  won the Nassau Stakes (G2T) at Woodbine July 1 in her first start of the year.

“She’s coming back a little quick, but I’m going with the old Allen Jerkens line, ‘when they’re going good, run ’em,'” Casse said. 

Entries: Diana S. (G1T)

Saratoga Race Course, Saturday, July 15, 2023, Race 4

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $500,000
  • 4 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares
  • 2:46 PM (local)

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