Winning one Grade I stakes race on a given day is special. Winning two within 90 minutes of each other is out of this world.
Trainer Chad Brown experienced the height of euphoria Saturday afternoon when he sent out Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution to win the Sword Dancer Invitational and Arlington Million, respectively.
"I'll tell you, it was incredible," Brown said Sunday. "Like I said, so much planning goes into these races. They're on a calendar, and you work backwards a long way out, often, and with horses, the best-laid plans rarely work out. But this time, we pointed to those two races and hit them both. It's a tremendous feeling."
The $600,000 Sword Dancer at Saratoga was the least surprising of the two victories. Big Blue Kitten had already won the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park in July and as rewarded by the bettors as the 5-2 second pick behind 9-5 favorite Boisterous.
"He's a Breeders' Cup-caliber horse at 1 1/2 miles on firm turf at Santa Anita," Brown said after the race. "What race we use to get there, I'm not sure, but we'll probably only run him one time until the Breeders" Cup (Turf)."
Big Blue Kitten was ridden for the third straight time by Joe Bravo who had the 5-year-old sitting last in the 12-horse field during the early going of the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer.
"I was super confident bringing him up here and keeping him on this horse," Brown said about having Bravo ride Big Blue Kitten. "In the paddock, Joe felt he was the winner every step of the way. He says, 'I just love this horse. I'll work the trip out,' and he did."
However, the finish of the Arlington Million had to be decided by the stewards at Arlington Park.
Real Solution, ridden by Alan Garcia, hooked up with The Apache for the stretch drive in the 1 1/4-mile event. Ridden by Christophe Soumillon, The Apache hit the wire a head before Real Solution after drifting out and bumping Garcia's mount.
"At the top of the stretch I had plenty of horse to go by and the other horse bumped us more than four times, made me lose my momentum," Garcia noted. "If that didn't happen we might have won by two or three lengths."
Garcia lodged an objection while the stewards posted an inquiry. In a relatively short amount of time, the stewards reversed the order of finish for the first two horses, allowing Brown to win the Arlington Million.
The day was even better for Ken and Sarah Ramsey who not only happen to own Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution, but also Admiral Kitten, winner of Arlington's $500,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-old turf horses.