LOUISVILLE — Around the barn, Stacelita has an attitude befitting a horse with her multiple Grade/Group I-winning accomplishments — quick to throw her ears back to let you know she is not to be messed with.
Though her trainer, Chad Brown, has also compiled an impressive résumé in quick order, he is the more humble of the two.
Four years after going out on his own, Brown has assembled a 100-plus horse stable that goes toe-to-toe with the best outfits in the country. He ranks 12th in the nation by earnings and was second to Todd Pletcher in the Saratoga meet standings.
After winning his first Breeders' Cup race in his first try with Maram in the 2008 Juvenile Fillies Turf, Brown could have more hardware coming his way this weekend. Stacelita looms as the favorite in the $2 million Filly and Mare Turf.
The length of time he has had his trainer's license does not tell how long Brown has been around top stock. The 32-year-old formerly worked under the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel during some of his best years. It is hard for even Brown to wrap his mind around what he has built in such a short time.
"Even though I didn't have the same horses to start with, it feels like I've been doing it so long now," Brown said. "It's not like I just started training horses four years ago and now here I am. When I think of Breeders' Cup week, I'm thinking too of the days that I worked for (Frankel) ....so it feels like I've been doing this for about a decade.
"I am very lucky to get back to these days as soon as I did since leaving him, because when I left I didn't have any Breeders' Cup horses."
After making her first 14 career starts in Europe, Stacelita was brought to the United States this year by owner Martin Schwartz and officially joined Brown's barn one day after finishing third against males in the Grade I United Nations on July 2.
In her two starts for her new conditioner, the 5-year-old daughter of Monsun has put herself atop the female turf division with victories in the Grade I Beverly D. and Flower Bowl Invitational.
"You never know when you get these European horses how they're going to adapt to the training over here," Brown said. "She just picked it up since day one. She has never had one bad day training for me."
Stacelita was hit in her left eye with a turf divot during her Flower Bowl win and has been training this week with a protective plastic cup over the eye.
"She's very comfortable with it," Brown said. "Come race day we'll make a decision if we'll run her in it."
Prayer for Reliefout of Classic
Graded stakes winner Prayer for Relief will not run in Saturday's $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic after spiking a fever, according to trainer Bob Baffert.
Owned by Zayat Stables, Prayer for Relief won the Grade II West Virginia and Super derbys this summer along with the Grade III Iowa Derby. The son of Jump Start most recently finished third in the Oklahoma Derby on Oct. 16.
Baffert will still be represented in the Classic by Grade I winner Game On Dude.
Goldikova on track
Three-time defending Breeders' Cup Mile winner Goldikova went to the Churchill main track Tuesday for the first time since arriving this weekend.
The champion mare has lost three of five starts this year against top company but her connections see little difference in her compared to how she came into her previous Mile efforts.
"Maybe she won't win by 3 lengths but if she wins by 1, it will be plenty enough," said Regis Barbedette, assistant to trainer Freddy Head.