After showing flashes of talent early in his career, the newly turned 4-year-old gelding Bron and Brow appears to be ready to take his game to a new level.
Settled just off the pace from a cozy, pocket position, the son of Gormley switched to the outside in the stretch under Brian Hernandez, Jr., and then ran down his game stablemate Swot Analysis to take the $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial for trainer Mark Casse.
21-1 longshot Mike J carved out an opening quarter mile in :22.15 with Swot Analysis breathing down his neck before sticking a head in front on the backstretch through a half in ::45.56. He shook free at the top of the stretch and dug in, but his stablemate Bron and Brow would not be denied, prevailing by a neck and stopping the timer in 1:10.24 for six furlongs on a fast main track.
“Great race, hate to see either horse lose,” Carroll said. “Very proud of both horses. We felt going into the race that Swot Analysis would show more speed than Bron and Brow, who ran a huge race off the layoff (allowance win on Dec. 15). We felt he would be laying just off (the pace) a little bit. Since we gelded this horse he’s really changed. Mark (trainer Casse) made a great decision to do that. We are very happy for Gary (owner Barber). He was very gutsy today. He wanted to win.”
The race is named for Gary Palmisano, Sr., the beloved, longtime Louisiana trainer and racing official who passed away on Dec. 1, 2021. With his wife Karen, son Gary, Jr. and his wife Megan, and granddaughter Addison and many other family members and friends in attendance, it was a fitting result to a special race.
“Winning this race means a lot to me,” said a teary-eyed Hernandez, Jr., who also won the inaugural running. “Ever since I came here to the Fair Grounds, Gary (Palmisano, Sr.) was always a big influence for me. Me and little Gary (Palmisano, Jr.) and our wives are all really good friends. A good family, and they’ve always been there for us. When I got to the sixteenth pole, I was definitely thinking about it. ‘Come on, we got to get there for Gary.’ It’s special to have these people in your life so it puts a little extra meaning to it.”
Carroll echoed those sentiments.
“I just want to say what an honor it is to win a race named for Gary Palmisano,” Carroll said. “When I first came to the Fair Grounds to train, Gary became a great friend. A wonderful man. To see his son Gary now, working his way up the corporate ladder for Churchill (executive director of racing), we are all very proud.”
As the top dollar 2-1 favorite, Bron and Brown returned $6.80 for the win. He increased his career standing to 10-4-3-1 with a bankroll of $224,670.
“It looks like he stepped up from last year,” Hernandez, Jr. said. “He’s shown it in the past that he can settle and make that run, but today he really had to gut it out from the eighth pole in because David’s (assistant trainer Carroll’s) other horse (Swot Analysis) was really running.