Horse Racing

Chad Brown – Kentucky Derby 2024 Trainer Profile

FanDuel Staff
FanDuel Staff
Chad Brown – Kentucky Derby 2024 Trainer Profile

Trainer Chad Brown has won four Eclipse Awards for outstanding trainer. He has a reputation as one of the best North American trainers of turf horses. His 18 wins in Breeders’ Cup races started with Maram in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and he is still best known for his prowess in the filly and mare turf division. His leading turf females over the years include stars like Stephanie’s Kitten, New Money Honey, and Rushing Fall.

However, Chad Brown has shown his ability to train a good dirt horse, too. Four of his 18 wins at the Breeders’ Cup have come on the dirt: three editions of the Filly and Mare Sprint with Wavell Avenue and two-time winner Goodnight Olive, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Good Magic. That success has extended to the Triple Crown race season as well.

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Kentucky Derby Record

Though Brown still seeks his first victory in the Kentucky Derby, this future Hall of Fame trainer has already annexed the Preakness Stakes twice. Brown won with Cloud Computing in 2017 and Early Voting in 2022. Even without a win, Brown’s horses have hit the board twice in seven starts in the Kentucky Derby. Good Magic finished second in 2018, and Zandon ran third in 2022.

Furthermore, most of his entrants in Churchill Downs’ signature race have run midfield or better. His first horse in the Run for the Roses, Normandy Invasion in 2013, finished fourth behind Orb. 2016 was Brown’s toughest year, as My Man Sam finished 11th, and Shagaf pulled up and walked off. He trained Practical Joke to a fifth-place finish in 2017, and Highly Motivated was ninth in 2021.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, the overall leading points earner headed into the 2024 Kentucky Derby, is a colt by Gun Runner out of the Grade 1-winning Malibu Moon mare Heavenly Love. His regular rider Tyler Gaffalione is expected to return to the saddle on the first Saturday in May. A $2.3 million yearling, the colt is owned by the high-flying partnership of Peter Brant, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Westerberg, and Brook T. Smith.

Two-Year-Old Season

Sierra Leone overcame a less-than-perfect start to break his maiden on debut at Aqueduct, going a one-turn mile on dirt. He stepped straight up into stakes company after that, trying the 1 ⅛-mile Remsen (G2) in December. Sierra Leone closed from last in that race and did everything but win. He finished second, beaten only a nose by the more experienced Dornoch, and was 4 ¾ lengths clear of third-place Drum Roll Please. Drum Roll Please went on to win the Jerome in his next start, suggesting the Remsen might be live.

Three-Year-Old Season

On February 17, Sierra Leone returned for his sophomore debut, earning his first graded-stakes win in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. Settled off the pace once again, he swung wide into the lane and rallied well to catch Track Phantom, winner of both the Gun Runner Stakes and the Lecomte (G3) earlier in the Fair Grounds meet.

Sierra Leone was even more impressive in the Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland on April 6. He settled in his usual spot toward the rear, began a strong-looking rally around the far turn, and sustained it all the way down the lane to win the 1 ⅛-mile race by 1 ½ lengths over Just a Touch. The way he sustained his run in the Blue Grass makes him look like both a talented and stamina-laden horse, and he does not need a complete pace collapse to show his best.

Domestic Product

Domestic Product is a son of Practical Joke, a three-time Grade 1 winner for Brown in 2016 and 2017, out of the unraced Paynter mare Goods and Services. He is a homebred for Klaravich Stables, for whom Brown has trained other stars like 2019 Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar, as well as Preakness winner Early Voting.

Tyler Gaffalione, Sierra Leone’s rider, was also Domestic Product’s regular rider. With Gaffalione remaining with Sierra Leone, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. is expected to take the mount on Domestic Product.

Two-Year-Old Season

Domestic Product debuted in a six-furlong dirt sprint at Saratoga, finishing fifth behind fellow Kentucky Derby qualifier Just Steel. He got off the mark when he stretched out to 1 ⅛ miles at Aqueduct in October, stalking the pace and clearing off to win by 4 ½ lengths.

That impressive maiden victory earned him a ticket to finish his season in the exact same place Sierra Leone did: in the Remsen. In range through the early stages of that muddy race, Domestic Product weakened to finish seventh, 16 ¼ lengths behind that thrilling photo finish between Dornoch and Sierra Leone.

Three-Year-Old Season

Between his Remsen disappointment and the presence of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Fierceness in his sophomore debut, the public let Domestic Product off at 14-1 in a seven-horse edition of the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park on February 4. Never far from the lead despite being bumped around at the start, he chased Hades home to finish a clear second, two lengths behind. He crossed the wire 1 ½ lengths ahead of odds-on Fierceness, who he will clash with again on the first Saturday in May.

Domestic Product earned his first graded-stakes win in his final prep race, the Tampa Bay Derby (G3), on March 9. He tracked in range of a contested but surprisingly slow pace, battled down the lane, and got up by a neck in a four-horse blanket finish over No More Time, Grand Mo the First, and Good Money.

As of two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, he is the only horse from the Tampa Bay Derby to be in the main field for the run for the roses, though third-place Grand Mo the First only needs one defection to make it into the main field so they may meet again at Churchill Downs. Domestic Product’s tactical running style is historically positive. The freshening from the Tampa Bay Derby all the way into the Kentucky Derby raises questions. Brown’s excellent records with both layoff horses and distance horses assuage some concerns about the two-month break. However, he still has some class to prove since no one in the Tampa Bay Derby has yet proven to be of the same class as the top Kentucky Derby contenders.

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