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A Decade Of Dominance For Grant

Published: January 25, 2020 4:55 pm ET

Last Comment: January 25, 2020 11:29 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Recently named one of harness racing's owners of the decade, Brad Grant enjoyed tremendous success throughout the 2010s and he could close out the 2019 season with three more O'Brien Awards to add to his growing collection of hardware.

The Milton, Ont.-based owner is part of the ownership group on a trio of 2019 O'Brien Awards finalists: two-year-old pacing colt Capt Midnight, two-year-old pacing filly Reflect With Me and older trotting mare Atlanta.

Grant will find out in one week's time if any or all of these competitors were voted O'Brien Award winners, and regardless of the outcome the approachable owner was grateful for his seasonal success.

"It's been a great year again and having three nominees to the O’Brien Awards is a testament to the year," Grant told Trot Insider. "I’m particularly happy to see Atlanta back in the hunt as she was a deserving winner last year but due to unfortunate circumstances she was not able to remain eligible.

"Reflect With Me is a deserving nominee as she showed she can compete with the best and Capt Midnight was just consistent every night out so it was nice to see him get nominated as well."

The most accomplished of his O'Brien Award finalists, Atlanta (Chapter Seven - Hemi Blue Chip) will attempt to usurp Emoticon Hanover’s title in the Older Trotting Mare category on the strength of a solid season which included eight wins and more than $871,000 in earnings. Her victories included two legs and the final of the Graduate, a sweep of the Armbro Flight, and the Charlie Hill Memorial Trot. While her efforts in the Graduate and the Armbro Flight might have been her most noteworthy on paper, Grant shed light on the race of Atlanta he was most impressed with was one she didn't win.

"To me her best race was the Maple Leaf Trot where see finished a hard-charging second beat a neck from the 10 hole. My reason for choosing that race is because three weeks earlier she took extremely ill in the Joie De Vie and we weren’t even sure she would come back at all, but thanks to great care from Team Burke she not only came back but almost won the Maple Leaf Trot."

A finalist in the two-year-old pacing filly category with Alicorn, the Tony Alagna-trained Reflect With Me (Captaintreacherous - Remember When) had 10 top-three finishes and banked more than $628,000 in her 11-race season culminating in a Breeders Crown Championship. She also posted victories in the Whenuwishuponastar, Champlain and Eternal Camnation Stakes, but that come-from-behind Breeders Crown effort was clearly Grant's highlight of the year with his $120,000 yearling purchase that he co-owns with breeder Brittany Farms.

"She came from eighth, six lengths back at the three-quarter pole to win. That race was a huge effort from her and she beat a group of great fillies to get there."

Another Alagna pupil, Capt Midnight is finalist in the rookie pacing colt division along with Dan Patch Award winner Tall Dark Stranger. Capt Midnight won six of 10 races during his rookie campaign and topped $385,000 in earnings while posting victories in the Dream Maker, Nassagaweya, Champlain, a Metro elimination, and the International Stallion Stake for owners Grant, Marvin Katz, Ken Jacobs and Capt Midnight Racing. The colt won twice in sub-1:50 fashion as a freshman, and that first 1:49.4 mile at Woodbine Mohawk Park impressed Grant the most.

"He was Mr. Consistent week in and week out but if I had to pick a race it might have to be the Dream Maker final where he came from off the pace to win in 1:49.4, showing that he could win coming from behind as well as cutting a mile."

Already guaranteed to add divisional hardware to his mantle with Dan Patch Award winners Atlanta and two-year-old trotting filly Ramona Hill, Grant could not say enough about the individuals that put him in a position to have the success he's had on the ownership side of the equation.

"First and foremost [I owe my success to] the trainers and caretakers as they are with these horses each and everyday they get them ready to race, and work hard to keep them at their best," stated Grant. "Second, my partners who have allowed me to be part of their group and of great horses, and third the drivers whose efforts have helped to make these horses the champion calibre horses they are."

Grant read the O'Brien Awards release around the same time he got the phone call from Standardbred Canada to notify him of his finalists, and the reaction was just as jubilant.

"Obviously I would have been very happy to have one nominated but to have three, it's like 'wow that’s great," noted Grant. "I thought of my partners, who are great people, and how happy I am for them."

Brad Grant and the connections of Sandbetweenurtoes accept her 2017 O'Brien Award for Older Pacing Mare of the Year

That joy in success is something Grant plans to bring to the 2019 O'Brien Awards on Saturday, February 1. As someone who has lifted harness racing's holy grail and captured O'Brien Awards in the past, the philanthrophic participant truly enjoys seeing others succeed in harness racing just as much and is looking forward to the black tie gala set for the Hilton Meadowvale / Mississauga.

"I’m not sure I can find the right words to say what an event it is. From the time you walk in the hotel you can feel the excitement, it’s a well-run evening, Jason [Portuondo] and Ken [Middleton] do a great job of co-hosting the awards portion of the night, their good-humored banter, as well as knowing most of the people, makes for a fun evening.

"One of the best parts I find is seeing the excitement in people who are there for the first time whether as a guest or because they have a horse nominated their enthusiasm only adds to the event. It is an EVENT and the committee should be applauded for the great job they do year after year."

January 25, 2020 - 11:29 pmGood Luck :)

Good Luck :)

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