LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The old guy's still got it.
Brass Hat, the popular 9-year-old homebred, rallied from last to overtake longshot Southern Anthem and favored Musketier to post the 10th and perhaps most heart-warming victory of his remarkable career Thursday in the 16th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland, where he was met afterward with a rousing ovation from his many fans.
"My dad really wanted to win a race like this," said Buff Bradley, who trains Brass Hat for his father, Fred Bradley, who bred and owns the gelding.
"This means more than anything, to win it here," said an emotional Fred Bradley, a longtime mover and shaker in Kentucky politics and business.
Ridden by Calvin Borel, Brass Hat rallied widest of all after trailing much of the 1 1/2-mile journey, passing the dueling leaders to win by a length. Southern Anthem, a 54-1 shot under Jimmy Graham, barely nosed out Musketier for second.
Brass Hat returned $11.60 as third choice after finishing in 2:30.73 over a firm turf course. He earned $60,000 and now has banked $2,167,921 from 39 career starts.
Before an ontrack crowd of 9,010, Presious Passion, the 7-2 second choice, took his customary position on an open lead, setting fractions of 48.29 and 1:13.01 before the other 11 began to close in. Passing the quarter pole, the field really began to bunch, with Southern Anthem and Musketier forging to the front inside the furlong pole before ultimately being collared by Brass Hat in the final 70 or so yards.
"I had a good trip," said Borel. "Buff and I go way back, and I'm very, very honored. I rode him like he was the best horse, and he showed up."
Musketier, the 9-5 choice, was making his first start since April, when he won the Elkhorn Stakes, the Keeneland spring counterpart to the Sycamore.
Cloudy's Knight, the defending Sycamore champion, and his Jonathan Sheppard stablemate, Leipzig, were scratched from the original lineup of 14. Sheppard announced earlier this week the retirement of 10-year-old Cloudy's Knight, an earner of more than $2.5 million.