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Saturday, August 04, 2012


Brnjas hoping for déjà vuvu with Seen It All Before


TORONTO, August 3 - On Sunday, trainer Ashlee Brnjas will saddle just the 17th stakes starter of her career when she sends out Seen It All Before in the $500,000, Breeders' Stakes, third jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown, at Woodbine.

The 30-year-old conditioner, who in 2012 entered her sixth year as the private trainer for Colebrook Farms of her father, John, admits to being a bit nervous at the prospect of Sunday's Canadian classic.


"I would call it more stressful for Ashlee, than I would call it exciting at this point," she grinned. "It's a big race and I'm still pretty new on the scene and running in big races like that. I thought after the Oaks that would be my big race for the year."

However, Brnjas, who sent out Waitinginthewings to a sixth-place finish in the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, isn't averse to a little drama on big race days.

Just last fall, Brnjas, was in the midst of her wedding day when Reconnect took the La Prevoyante Stakes at 70-1 over the E.P Taylor Turf Course.

While Brnjas and her husband, Jack Boem, were busy having their wedding photos snapped, the happy shouts of her bridesmaids, who cheered home Reconnect to a stunning photo finish win on a television set up in a tent for her racing-friendly guests, alerted the conditioner she'd just won her first added-money event at Woodbine.

The good-humoured Brnjas admits she wouldn't mind a little more drama this Sunday.

"I'm actually planning on a quickie divorce before then, and I'll be getting remarried on Sunday," she laughed.

All kidding aside, Seen It All Before, a chestnut son of Niigon-A Familiar Face, could be just the horse to double-up Brnjas' turf wins in added-money events.

"He loves the grass," she noted. "He's the type of horse, I think, that would run on the pavement if you asked him to. He's just gives it his all every time, but he definitely does improve on the turf."

Seen It All Before raced four times as a juvenile. Following a fourth-place effort in his seven-furlong debut, the gelding broke his maiden in a five and a half length romp when routing a mile and seventy yards.

"Usually, with the Niigon's I've had, we've had a lot of success running them seven-eighths first time out, getting the experience, getting a race under them, and then stretching them out," said Brnjas. "Once they're three-year-olds, it's a different ball game."

Seen It All Before completed his juvenile campaign with a flat effort in the difficult Grade 3 Grey Stakes, and a narrow head loss to eventual Kingarvie Stakes winner, Run In Aruba.

He then wintered with Brnjas at Classic Mile in Florida, before returning to Woodbine to make a sparkling three-year-old debut when a ridden-out winner in his first effort over the E.P Taylor Turf Course, earning a career-best 84 Beyer figure in the process.

"The horse hadn't run in forever and he went a mile and a sixteenth right off the hop like it was nothing. He galloped out real strong," said Brnjas.

Last time out, Seen It All Before made the lead early but was caught in deep stretch by a rallying Pirate's Legend when routing versus older horses on the main track.

"At the last minute, when that horse came up to him, he started to fight back but he just didn't have enough time to do it," she recalled. "He just got nabbed at the wire. I thought it was a good effort."

Brnjas will entrust regular rider Luis Contreras to provide her Colebrook Farms' homebred with a winning trip this weekend.

"Going a mile and a half, you just have to sit off the pace and make one run down that big, long stretch," offered Brnjas. "I'm hoping there will be some speed to run at. Somebody's going to have to go. Hopefully it's not us."

Ultimately, Brnjas is hopeful her lightly-raced charge will find his peak performance in the third start of the form cycle.

"There's a bunch of horses in there that have campaigned and campaigned and I, personally, like that my horse is a bit of a fresh horse," she said. "He's been so consistent. He hasn't done a thing wrong. He's training well and he's done everything right to deserve a shot."

Sunday's first race post-time at Woodbine is 1 pm, with the Breeders' set for 5:12 pm.


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