They are not calling him “Downtown Brown” – not just yet. But if harness racing driverkeeps coming from downtown with long-shot winners at , the nickname just might stick.
Brown was it again last Saturday when he roared off the cones late with Lord Of Winterfell to take the Preferred Handicap Pace at a lush 35-1. His two other winners that day were priced at 5-1 – not extreme outsiders but hardly favorites.
Brown will shoot for another big day this Saturday, first post 1:05 p.m., with eight scheduled drives – TG’s Divine Scene (race 2, post 6), Showing My Hand (race 3, post 6), Lord of Winterfell (race 4, post 8), Junior’s Dew (race 5, post 5), Status Quo (race 6, post 4), Uncle Bud (race 7, post 8), Phi Alpha (race 8, post 8), One Bad Night (race 9, post 4). As usual, the morning line odds for some of Brown’s mounts, including 20-1 for Showing My Hand and Junior’s Dew, are sky high.
As a 24-year-old still trying to establish himself, Brown sometimes must deal with limited driving opportunities. Still, his ability to get the most from lightly regarded horses is uncanny. In addition to his 35-1 victory last week, he has scored recently at 56-1 at The Meadows and 101-1 at Northfield Park. Even when he is not winning, he is live with long shots. Already this year, he has finished second 10 times with horses sent off at 9-1 or longer, to the delight of exotics players who kept the faith. He has also won with three favorites this year, so he is no one-trick pony.
“I know those odds are more or less because of me,” Brown says. “I’m just starting out and trying to get my feet under me. No matter what the odds are, I’ll use my horse the same way.”
Brown, got into harness racing through his father, Terry Brown, and grandfather, Robert Brown, who trained and raced horses from their base at the Butler County Fairgrounds.
As a teenager, he started jogging horses for trainer Steve Schoeffel and, in recent years, has become Schoeffel’s go-to guy on the PA Fairs circuit. The duo attracted considerable attention in 2015 when they guided Royaltyhasarrived to 10 straight victories and a divisional championship at the fairs and turned him into a fine raceway campaigner as well.
Brown knows that if he continues to succeed, more assignments will come his way.
“I sure hope they do,” he says. “If I keep my head on right and don’t get silly, I think I’ll be all right.”
And Downtown Brown doesn’t care how many light bulbs it takes to display his odds.
“When you see the big numbers up there, it shocks you,” he says. “You know people don’t expect you to win. So when it does happen, it makes me smile a little bit.”
Saturday’s card includes a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 5, races 7-11. Also, Mychoice members can compete in the Road to the Triple Crown Thoroughbred Handicapping Contest. More information is available at the retail counter in the track’s Racebook.
On Saturday, March 24, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Tuesday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $4,952.13.
Minimum wager for the Pick 5 (races 7-11) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets.
First post for Saturday’s program is 1:05 p.m..
The Meadows Racetrack & Casino