Oldsmar, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Mighty Brown, a son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, sped away down the stretch to capture Saturday's $100,000 Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
The seven-furlong Pasco is the first of Tampa Bay's stakes for 3-year-olds leading to the Kentucky Derby. Following the Pasco will be the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis on Feb. 1 which is the opening race of the Tampa Bay Downs Million Dollar Derby Bonus. The owners of any horse that wins the $250,000 Davis, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 8 and Kentucky Derby on May 3 will collect $1 million.
Trained by Tim Ice and ridden by Dean Butler, Mighty Brown pressed the pace that was being set by 18-10 favorite Cool Cowboy from the outside with Three Quarter Roy also near the lead on the inside.
Mighty Brown, the 4-1 third pick, drew even with Cool Cowboy entering the far turn and the pair hit the stretch together as 19-10 second choice Giancarlo advanced into third past Early Entry.
Mighty Brown, owned by Tri-Star Racing and The Farm on 4, took control with a furlong to run and went on to register a 3 1/4-length win over Cool Cowboy with Giancarlo getting third.
"He broke fast and if anything, he was more aggressive than I wanted," Butler said. "I was able to get him to relax getting to the half, and we had a bead on the leader by then. I asked for run getting into the stretch and I was more worried about something coming up on the inside than I was about getting past the leader.
"He finished up really well, like a very good horse."
Early Entry held on for fourth in the eight-horse field followed by Harry's Holiday, Three Quarter Roy, Black Label and Addaquart.
The time for the 15th Pasco was 1:24.17 on a fast track.
"We can hope and dream all we want, but until they run the race you don't know," said Ice. "I've thought he was a very talented colt from Day 1, and I think cutting him back in distance has helped him a lot. I thought he would be a perfect seven-furlong horse and it worked out well today."
The win was worth $30,000 and was the second of the 3-year-old's nine-race career. The chestnut colt has now earned $128,590.
Mighty Brown began racing last July at Arlington Park and finished third followed by a pair of seconds. He then finished second on Sept. 7 at Louisiana Downs in the Sunday Silence Stakes.
Back at Arlington, the colt was disqualified from fifth to eighth in a maiden event in September. His next two starts were at Delta Downs where he was second in the Jean Lafitte Stakes on Oct. 26 and sixth in the $1 million Delta Jackpot.
He broke his maiden in his final start of 2013 at Tampa Bay on Dec. 7.
Mighty Brown returned $10.40, $4.80 and $3.00. Cool Cowboy paid $3.20 and $2.60, and Giancarlo paid $2.60 to show.