It sure would be great if the recently returned Brass Hat catches another brass ring this year somewhere along the way. The handicap division could badly use this extraordinary horse.

The injury to Invasor, which rang true and didnt seem like a ploy meant to whisk away the Horse of the Year on two continents to the breeding shed, left a huge void.

It would be great if the popular Lava Man could fill that void, but he never will as long as he remains ineffective outside his home state of California.

Although his connections said theyd keep the rags to riches gelding in California, they seemed to leave the door to Monmouth Park's Breeders Cup Classic slightly ajar.

Maybe the speed favoring nature of the Jersey Shore surface will allow him to perform closer to his best. That would be a good thing.

Brass Hat seems to be a truly remarkable animal, and gave indications right from the start. While he stayed out of the Triple Crown limelight, he did win Derbies in Ohio and Indiana three years ago.

Sidelined with a condylar fracture of the right cannon bone for a year, he returned to win the New Orleans Handicap and Grade 1 Donn last year, winning in 1:47 1/5, a Gulfstream Park track record.

Following a second-place finish in the Dubai World Cup, a second serious injury, a sesamoid fracture, sent him to the sidelines again until last weekend, when he returned with yet another remarkable performance.

Trained by owner Fred Bradleys son, Buff, the six-year-old has indicated to his connections that hes ready for more.

Good for the horse and good for us. Given what hes been through, he's easy to cheer for.