By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Having one of his horses run at the Breeders’ Cup was never on Gord Christoff’s bucket list for the simple reason he never thought it would happen.
But that all changed when his four-year-old Kentucky-bred Brave Nation won the Grade 3 $100,000 BC Premiers a week ago at Hastings against four of the most reputable previous stakes winners on the grounds.
Trained by John and Tammy Snow, who’ve been part of Christoff’s racing life dating back eight years, Brave Nation finished with his patented late charge to win the 72nd running of the Premiers as the longshot on the board, paying $21.50.
“God knows we’ve been knocking on the door a few times,” Snow said in reference to finishing second by a neck to Calgary Caper in the 2018 Premiers and runner-up to He’s the Reason in this year’s Lt.-Governors. “If he was a speed horse, I’d be against going to the Breeders’ Cup but he wants to run all day and the mile and three-quarters Marathon looks like a good fit.”
Christoff and wife Wendy, a certified Equine Canada coach, are thrilled beyond words about the thought of running Brave Nation on Friday, November 1 at Santa Anita as part of racing’s two-day glamorous event that attracts horses from all over the world.
‘Gord is a great guy and great owner,” Snow says. “It will be the first time for both of us having a horse in the Breeders’ Cup. You don’t get this chance often.”
The Christoff entourage could have some Hastings company if Glen Todd puts the final touches to his plan of entering this year’s BC Derby winner Five Star General in the Twilight Derby as part of Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup program.
“It’s still a ‘maybe’, I’m working on it,” Todd says. “It’s great to see Gord and his group are going, I told my guys in the paddock prior to the Premiers that Brave Nation would be the horse to beat.”
Tammy Snow, a former jockey at Hastings with outstanding success, says: “John never stopped believing in Brave Nation. This is such a thrill for all of us.”