By Ron Mitchell
Saturday, July 23, was unofficially “Pete Bradley Day” at Saratoga Race Course.
The proprietor of Bradley Thoroughbred Services, a full-service bloodstock and equine insurance agency in Lexington, first had the pleasure of seeing Bitumen and Random Walk—two 2-year-olds he and pinhooking partner Eddie Woods had bought and sold—finish 1-2 in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. III).
Then, before the impact of that achievement could even really soak in, Bradley found himself in the Spa’s winner’s circle after Dacita, a mare he owns in partnership with Sheep Pond Partners, closed late on the outside for an exciting victory in the featured Diana Stakes (gr. IT).
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” the affable Bradley said of his big day. “When you win a grade I race, what could be any more exciting? But the process of selecting horses, no matter who ends up with them, when you get it right it is just a pretty amazing feeling. That takes the cake. Those days just don’t come along very often.”
Joseph Sutton’s Bitumen was purchased as a yearling for $110,000 and then bought by Barry Berkelhammer for $280,000 from Woods’ consignment to this year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s 2016 March sale of 2-year-olds in training. At the same sale, Random Walk, an $80,000 yearling acquisition, was bought from Woods’ consignment by owner Ralph M. Evans for $300,000.
Dacita, a 5-year-old Chilean-bred daughter of Scat Daddy purchased privately for a Bradley Thoroughbreds racing venture, joins a growing stable of top-class runners for Bradley and his partners. The list of Bradley-owned racehorses includes champion Dayatthespa and Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) winner Whatsdachances.
The Sanford first- and second-place finishers join other successful Bradley-Woods pinhooks that include Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner V. E. Day, multiple grade I winner Lady Eli, and grade II winner Firing Line, who finished second to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
What turned out to be a great weekend in Saratoga for Bradley could not have begun on a more ominous note.
“I am not a superstitious guy, but I began to get worried,” Bradley said. “I flew to New York from Del Mar (on Friday) and when I arrived in Albany, I found out they had lost my bags. I get in my rental car and about 10 miles up the (New York) Thruway, it breaks down. The rental car broke down! I was stuck on the side of the road for 45 minutes waiting for a new car.
“I was thinking ‘I hope this doesn’t continue. I have a big day tomorrow and I hope this doesn’t flow over.’ The next morning I was told my clothes would be delivered at 3:30 but since I had to be at the track at noon, I drove to Albany and picked them up.”
Following his eventful weekend, Bradley returned to Lexington to take care of some business. He hopes his good luck continues when he returns to Saratoga the weekend of July 29-31.
“We have a couple running Saturday, certainly nothing to the depth of last weekend. Overall, we’ll have five or six run at Saratoga and a couple of them could make me smile just as much,” he said.
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