Trainer Chad Brown scored five wins at Belmont Park Saturday, including a sweep of both graded stakes on the card. While Uni ran rampant as the 6-5 favorite in the $186,000 Noble Damsel (G3), the 5-1 Patternrecognition had to step up to land his stakes debut in the $301,800 Kelso Handicap (G2).
Ironically a maternal relative of Battle of Midway, the even-money Kelso favorite and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile hero (G1), Patternrecognition readily secured the early lead and kept finding more for Tyler Gaffalione. Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s lightly raced five-year-old dictated fractions of :23.77, :46.83, 1:10.32 on the fast track, put away No Dozing, and repelled the stretch challenge of Sunny Ridge by a length.
Timeline, Patternrecognition’s stablemate who prematurely pushed his gate open prior to the start, lagged farther behind the pace than usual before taking third. No Dozing held fourth, a head up on the lackluster Battle of Midway, who did not improve as hoped in his second start back from stud. It remains to be seen whether this affects his status for a Dirt Mile title defense. Next came Still Having Fun and the ever-trailing Realm, another to pop his gate early.
Patternrecognition sports a mark of 10-4-5-0, $379,200. The Florida-bred son of Adios Charlie brought $420,000 as an OBS April juvenile but did not make it to the races until the age of four. After a winning debut last April at Aqueduct, he endured seconditis for four straight races – placing to the likes of Coal Front and Takaful – then cleared his entry-level allowance condition in a rout back at Aqueduct in November. He took three tries to win his second-level allowance this year, progressing from a second to True Timber at Belmont in June to get the job done at Saratoga August 11.
Bred by Ocala Stud, Patternrecognition is a half-brother to multiple stakes victress Florida Fuego. Their dam, the winning High Cotton mare Almost a Valentine, is a half-sister to Grade 1 star Rigoletta, dam of Battle of Midway. This is also the family of another Breeders’ Cup champion in Musical Romance, who starred in the 2011 Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
The Brown barn was firing on all cylinders from the start, taking the first four races capped by Uni in the Noble Damsel on turf. The European import was a class apart as she rolled to a comprehensive, last-to-first victory, and thereby remained perfect from three starts this campaign.
Uni was confidently handled by new rider Joel Rosario, who picked up the mount when Irad Ortiz Jr. was booked on Penn Derby Day at Parx. The controlling speed, Hawksmoor, carved out splits of :24.40 and :48.84 on the yielding Widener course, but could not shake free. The stalking Thundering Sky put her head in front at the six-furlong mark in 1:12.64, only to feel the gathering momentum of the favorite looming behind her.
Inhaling the short field in a couple of bounds, Uni opened up at will until crossing the wire a 3 3/4-length winner. The More Than Ready filly took 1:36.11 to negotiate the mile in the soggy conditions, but Trakus reports that she sped her final quarter in :23.58.
Hawksmoor valiantly came again to snatch second by a neck from Thundering Sky. Dream Awhile, Brown’s other runner, brought up the rear of the quartet. Mythical Mission and Lift Up were scratched in favor of the All Along at Laurel Park, and they wound up second and fourth there.
Campaigned by Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert LaPenta, and Bethlehem Stables, Uni has compiled a record of 12-6-2-2, $706,872. Her first stakes experience came versus males in France, where she landed the 2017 Prix Matchem and placed third in the Prix de la Californie. A rallying third in her American premiere in last summer’s Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), and runner-up in the Lake Placid (G2), she broke through at the graded level in the Sands Point (G2). The chestnut signed off for the season with a fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1).
Uni promised big things in 2018 with an Aqueduct course record-setting reappearance in the April 14 Plenty of Grace. Unfortunately, she had to be scratched from the May 26 Gamely (G1) after becoming sick, and her summer plans were postponed. She made a winning comeback in the August 4 De La Rose at Saratoga and extended her skein here.