- Brilliant (War Chant) showed promise on the dirt last year and early in his three-year old season this year for Neil Howard but managed just a single win, with three seconds and a third, in five tries. But the Triple Crown nominee was switched to the turf this spring, and is now undefeated in three tries, all at Churchill, with his win in the G2 Jefferson Cup on Saturday. "The best way to put it was his performance matched his name," said Frankie Albarado. [Louisville Courier-Journal]
Garrett Gomez nearly stole the race on pacesetter Tahoe Warrior, loping to the half in 49 seconds – by contrast, the Regret for three-year old fillies two races later saw a half mile mark of 46.36. Albarado had to go four wide into the stretch, and Brilliant seemed to hang a bit midstretch before driving up to wear down Tahoe Warrior in deep stretch. The final three furlongs went in 35.43 with a last furlong of 11.81 so trainer Neil Howard wasn’t kidding when he said that "He had to lay it down the last three-sixteenths of a mile."
"Hopefully off this, he'll fit into the 3-year-old turf picture and then beyond that we'll just have to see as far as older horses go.....I'm not crying at the fact that he likes this turf course either with the Breeders' Cup here this fall." [Bloodhorse]It should come as little surprise that Brilliant has taken to the grass, nor to the Churchill course in particular, as he has; his sire, War Chant, won the 2000 BC Mile right there. In addition, he’s inbred to Roberto 4x3, and to Princequillo 5x5. And his dam is a half-sister to Furiously, who won the Bernard Baruch on the turf at Saratoga in 1993, tying the course record in the process.