|Hawthorne Racecourse daily notes (4/21/03)
Contact: Jim Miller
Small Barn With Big Time Runners
Curious Conundrum Heads Strong Brajczewski String
When you look at the top of the trainer standings, many of the familiar names pop up, Reavis, Catalano, Kirby, Tomillo. These are the barns with the most runners and definitely make up a strong part of the barn area, but it's the smaller stables that come up with big runners that are sometimes overlooked.
One of those stables is the string of Eugene Brajczewski. A local trainer for many years, Brajczewski has made a big splash in the last few years with many talented stakes runners. This year is no different as a strong, compact group of runners have made a splash at Hawthorne. Brajczewski wintered at Oaklawn and has started six horses at this meet, winning a pair of races, and this weekend, he looks for another.
In the Grade 3, $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap on Saturday, Brajczewski will send out his five-year-old mare Curious Conundrum. A winner of seven of 36 career starts, Curious Conundrum looks to be at her best right now. After winning an allowance race at Oaklawn on March 2nd, she came to Hawthorne for the $100,000 Lady Hallie Handicap on March 29 and was overlooked, sent off as the fourth choice in a five horse field.
Nobody could look by her in the end, as the other four runners in the Lady Hallie were looking at her from behind while Curious Conundrum ran off to a commanding 3 ¾ length victory. The $60,000 payday pushed her just shy of $300,000 for her career, heading into Saturday's Sixty Sails Handicap.
"She was doing real good coming out of that race at Oaklawn," stated Brajczewski. "This is the best she's been, and she's getting better. She's become a lot more professional in her last two races. You can see it in the way she's training right now. She's not running off any more in training and she has her head much more into things. If she runs 1, 2, 3 in the Sixty Sails, she'll definitely be nominated for the Beverly D at Arlington. We'll probably shoot for a race in Canada at Woodbine and then the Modesty, but I want to see how she comes out of this one first. Right now though, I feel she's one of the better fillies in the Midwest."
While Curious Conundrum is the star of the barn right now, she's not the only runner. Brajczewski also brought back Wasted Wisdom to the track recently as she began her four-year-old campaign with a blast. Lightly raced through her three-year-old season, Wasted Wisdom tried the grass in the Summertime Promise at Hawthorne last spring and finished fifth in that event. She then laid up until this spring and returned in fine fashion, winning an allowance race here on April 8 by a length and a half, while on the lead the entire way.
"Wasted Wisdom was doing real good last year and then she came up with an injury after that grass race," Brajczewski continued. "The vet told us to give her about six months and we took our time and gave her nine months off. We sent her down to Florida and she looked real good down there, so I brought her up, trained her a bunch of times and then she won her first race out. She came back very good from that race and I'll send her to the Prairie Rose at Prairie Meadows on Saturday and I think she'll skip over that track. I'm pretty confident she'll run well there."
With those two running on Saturday, Brajczewski's barn of ten has also welcomed back stakes runners Treat Me Doc and Soul Onarazorsedge. Both are working and will be at the races early this summer.
"I'll have a maximum of 14 in the barn," Brajczewski said. "It's better to have quality than quantity and I'm happy with the quality I have right now."