A onetime notable turf performer at three endures a prolonged spell on sidelines, returns to the top level in 2019, and emerges as a major Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) contender for the owner tandem of Klaravich Stables/William H. Lawrence and trainer Chad Brown. That description fits Bricks and Mortar, but it now applies as well to stablemate Annals of Time after he punched his ticket in Saturday’s $850,000 Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga.
One year older than Bricks and Mortar, Annals of Time scored his signature win in the 2016 Hollywood Derby (G1). The son of Temple City wasn’t seen again until the fall of 2017, when capturing a Belmont Park allowance. Then he disappeared for nearly 21 months. Resurfacing at Belmont on June 7, he flew from last to take second to the speedy Gidu going a mile. Annals of Time relished the stretch-out to 1 3/16 miles in a third-level allowance July 24 at Saratoga, sweeping to a 4 1/2-length victory, and continued his renaissance here as the slight 5-2 favorite.
Stablemate Ya Primo, the second choice also at 5-2, matched strides with Channel Maker through an opening quarter reported as :23.36 on the firm inner turf. The Chilean import established sole command in :47.96, 1:14.82, and 1:40.52, only to weaken abruptly passing the 1 1/4-mile split in 2:04.70.
The attending Channel Maker found himself in front briefly, but Channel Cat collared him straightening up down the lane. By that point, Sadler’s Joy, the 2017 Sword Dancer hero who secured better early position than usual in sixth, had angled out to challenge.
Annals of Time, tucked just inside of Sadler’s Joy in seventh early, likewise covered his move turning for home. While both overtook Channel Cat and Channel Maker, Annals of Time produced the sharper turn of foot to prevail by a cozy neck. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano guided the six-year-old through 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.50.
Sadler’s Joy was two lengths clear of Channel Cat, with Channel Maker another half-length adrift in fourth. The 43-1 Noble Thought speared through on the inside but flattened out in fifth, followed by Pillar Mountain; Brown’s class-challenged Proven Reserves, whose record implied he’d show speed early that didn’t materialize; Tiz Morning; and Ya Primo, regressing from his terrific second to Channel Cat in the Bowling Green (G2) in his U.S. debut.
“When he tipped out,” Castellano said, “I thought we had a good chance because he has a really good, strong closing kick. But it was a little tight near the finish. I’m glad he got up in time.
“He’s a good horse. I don’t know if I’ve seen a horse that, no matter if the pace is slow or fast, he always finishes really well. I’m very proud of him. Some horses have to have pace in the race but this horse doesn’t need one.”
“You can see the pace was very slow, but he still responded and passed all the horses. I took my time. It’s a mile-and-a-half and it’s the first time he’s gone a mile-and-a-half. You don’t want to rush it to be close to the pace. I rode with a lot of patience and it paid off today.”
Bred by Monticule in Kentucky, Annals of Time was purchased by Nick De Meric, agent, for $80,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling. Brown credits De Meric as a talent scout as well as his role in nursing the bay back to health and strength.
“It’s been a real team effort,” Brown said. “A guy named Nick de Meric down in Ocala picked him out as a baby, and every time he has gone to the sidelines, he’s gone to rehab with him and his team. He sent him back to us, now as a six-year-old, in fine shape.
“We finally have had an uninterrupted training schedule and campaign with him. He’s back to his old form when he won the Hollywood Derby when he was a three-year-old. He’s probably better now, so I’m just so grateful to have him back healthy.”
Annals of Time has compiled a record of 8-5-2-1, $860,300, reflecting a third in the 2016 Hill Prince (G3) in his stakes debut. Bricks and Mortar also finished third in the Hill Prince a year later, although the parallel doesn’t hold since he was already a Grade 2 winner by then.
Earlier, Brown captured the $400,000 Ballston Spa (G2) for the fifth time, and third year in a row, but with the least fancied of his trio in the 7-1 Significant Form. Owned by Stephanie Seymour Brant and ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, the gray daughter of Creative Cause bested British shipper Indian Blessing by a neck in a blanket finish. Third-placer Starship Jubilee edged Brown’s Fifty Five, who sported the colors of Peter Brant, the winning owner’s husband. Mascha, the 5-2 favorite from the Brown barn, trailed.
Although Significant Form crossed the wire first in all three previous attempts at 1 1/16 miles, she was disqualified for interference in her career debut at the Spa and officially broke her maiden next out in the 2017 Miss Grillo (G3). Her last try at this trip resulted in a 6 1/4-length romp in her sophomore bow in the Memories of Silver at Aqueduct. She didn’t prove as effective over further, placing second in the Wonder Again (G3), fourth in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), and fifth in the Lake Placid (G2).
Significant Form successfully shortened up to seven furlongs in her reappearance in the June 9 Intercontinental (G3) at Belmont. A further cutback to 5 1/2 furlongs in the July 21 Caress was a bit too sharp, and she checked in fifth. The Ballston Spa suited her to a tee, upping her line to 11-4-1-0, $694,865.
“We gave her some time off during the winter just to put some weight on,” Brown said. “No physical problems, really. After her seven-eighths race at Belmont (the Intercontinental), I screwed up running her too short, five and a half furlongs. It was poor judgment, but Peter and Stephanie really wanted to take a look at this race with both of their horses, Fifty Five and Significant Form.”
Aside from taking both of the turf stakes on Travers Day, Brown won three more on the grass. He bookended the card with 3-5 favorite Frontier Market (yet another Klaravich/Lawrence runner) in the opening allowance and Don Alberto’s 3-2 debutante Magic Star in the nightcap, and the 5-1 Dabinett, a homebred for Dr. John Chandler, broke her maiden in the 3RD.