Bron and Brow Edges Stablemate Swot Analysis in Thrilling, Meaningful Palmisano Memorial

Who Took the Money storms home in rescheduled LA Champions Day Turf Classic;
Free Like a Girl takes watered down Bob F. Wright Memorial


New Orleans, La (January 7, 2023) – After showing flashes of talent early in his career, the newly turned 4-year-old gelding Bron and Brow appears to be ready to take his game to a new level.

Settled just off the pace from a cozy, pocket position, the son of Gormley switched to the outside in the stretch under Brian Hernandez, Jr., and then ran down his game stablemate Swot Analysis to take the $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial for trainer Mark Casse.

21-1 longshot Mike J carved out an opening quarter mile in :22.15 with Swot Analysis breathing down his neck before sticking a head in front on the backstretch through a half in ::45.56. He shook free at the top of the stretch and dug in, but his stablemate Bron and Brow would not be denied, prevailing by a neck and stopping the timer in 1:10.24 for six furlongs on a fast main track.

“Great race, hate to see either horse lose,” Carroll said. “Very proud of both horses. We felt going into the race that Swot Analysis would show more speed than Bron and Brow, who ran a huge race off the layoff (allowance win on Dec. 15). We felt he would be laying just off (the pace) a little bit. Since we gelded this horse he’s really changed. Mark (trainer Casse) made a great decision to do that. We are very happy for Gary (owner Barber). He was very gutsy today. He wanted to win.”

The race is named for Gary Palmisano, Sr., the beloved, longtime Louisiana trainer and racing official who passed away on Dec. 1, 2021. With his wife Karen, son Gary, Jr. and his wife Megan, and granddaughter Addison and many other family members and friends in attendance, it was a fitting result to a special race.

“Winning this race means a lot to me,” said a teary-eyed Hernandez, Jr., who also won the inaugural running. “Ever since I came here to the Fair Grounds, Gary (Palmisano, Sr.) was always a big influence for me. Me and little Gary (Palmisano, Jr.) and our wives are all really good friends. A good family, and they’ve always been there for us. When I got to the sixteenth pole, I was definitely thinking about it. ‘Come on, we got to get there for Gary.’ It’s special to have these people in your life so it puts a little extra meaning to it.”

Carroll echoed those sentiments.

“I just want to say what an honor it is to win a race named for Gary Palmisano,” Carroll said. “When I first came to the Fair Grounds to train, Gary became a great friend. A wonderful man. To see his son Gary now, working his way up the corporate ladder for Churchill (executive director of racing), we are all very proud.”

As the top dollar 2-1 favorite, Bron and Brown returned $6.80 for the win. He increased his career standing to 10-4-3-1 with a bankroll of $224,670.

“It looks like he stepped up from last year,” Hernandez, Jr. said. “He’s shown it in the past that he can settle and make that run, but today he really had to gut it out from the eighth pole in because David’s (assistant trainer Carroll’s) other horse (Swot Analysis) was really running.”

Who Took the Money Welcomes a Return to Grass

Even though he had won three of his last five starts on dirt, Allied Racing Stable’s Who Took the Money welcomed a return to grass, winning the rescheduled $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf in high-stepping fashion for trainer Bret Calhoun and jockey Deshawn Parker.

Touchuponastar, who posted an upset over the 1-2 favorite in the Champions Day Classic on dirt, was scratched from Saturday’s Turf, opening the door for Who Took the Money to make amends. With the rails 34 feet out and longshots Play Mo and Charlie G in chase mode, Maga Man dictated early terms through tough to gauge fractions of :25.09 and :52.90. Meanwhile, 2-5 favorite Who Took the Money bided his time in sixth while in the clear. The race began to fall apart on the turn for home, and Who Took the Money displayed his patented late kick. Eventual second and third place finishers Smarty Alex and Ballinonabudjet also ran on well late, but the favorite prevailed by 2 ½ lengths in 1:50.59 for 1 1/16 miles.

“He has a really big turn of foot on the turf,” Parker said. “He has it on the dirt too, but on the turf it just feels totally different. I let him do his own thing. He tells me what to do. Turning for home he’ll kick it in gear himself. I really don’t have to do anything. I just let him do his thing and stay out of his way.”

Calhoun agreed.

“I think we had overstayed our welcome on the dirt a little bit,” Calhoun said. “He ran well, very consistent, but I think he had enough of it after the last time out (third in the LA Classic). I was happy to get back on the grass. It’s his much preferred surface. We are going to try to keep him on the grass in the Louisiana program for as long as we can. After that, we may have go to the open horses a little bit at some point. He’s kind of his own worst enemy. Like Deshawn (jockey Parker) said, he kind of does things his own way. If he gets a little bit better mentally, he might be a really good older horse.”

Who Took the Money returned $2.80 for the win. His record now stands at 15-10-0-3 with $469,177 in the bank.

With Ova Charged away, Free Like a Girl will play

With the overwhelming favorite Ova Charged scratched late morning, the door was open for Gerald Bruno, Jr., Carl J. Deville, Jerry Caroom and trainer Chasey Pomier’s Free Like a Girl, and she took full advantage, taking the $75,000 Bob F. Wright Memorial for Louisiana-bred filly and mare sprinters over just two rivals.

“When we checked on her this morning, she had a fever,” trainer Jose Camejo, whose Ova Charged, easily handled Free Like a Girl in the Ladies Sprint on Champions Day. “It’s disappointing, but we have to do what’s right by the horse.”

With both Ova Charged and Snowball scratched, Free Like a Girl needed to defeat only Spirited Beauty and Winning Romance to get the win, and she did just that.

“I think she (Ova Charged) is amazing, but we were ready,” Pomier said. “This is a business. We are all competitive. I hope everything is fine with her and that she comes back good.”

Away alertly, Free Like a Girl went to the lead, but she was quickly challenged on the inside by Spirited Beauty through opening splits of :22.34 and :45.56. She put that foe away and darted away under regular rider Pedro Cotto, Jr. to win away by 2 ¾ lengths in a final time of 1:11.26 for six furlongs over a fast track. Winning Romance failed to menace and finished a distant third.

 “I was trying to get her as relaxed as I could and just go from there,” Cotto, Jr. said.

Just one week ago, Free Like a Girl finished second in the open company Pago Hop around two turns. Entered as a “main track only”, she ran when the race was washed off the turn.

 “We took a shot that the Pago Hop was going to come off the turf last week in case this race didn’t make it (wasn’t used) because we knew it was going to be just a few horses,” Pomier explained. “We ran her, took a shot and I was able to leave her here with Ron (trainer Faucheux). His crew did an amazing job for us all week. With the short rest, we waited until yesterday afternoon and decided to stay in.”

With the win, Free Like a Girl, who was purchased for just $5,500 as a yearling, moved into the top 20 on the all-time list Louisiana-bred earnings list with $748,128. In the process, she enhanced her record to 22-10-7-3. She paid $3.20 to win.



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