The son of Deputy Minister, making his 52nd lifetime start, tracked the pacesetters from third in his position along the hedge, then edged to the fore as the field straightened for home. Under jockey Harry Vega, Brickell completed the one mile distance in 1:39.80, beating late closing Independent George by 1-1/4 lengths. Midwatch, the pacesetter, finished third.
Brickell raced for a $10,000 claiming tag as recently as last August, where he was claimed by trainer Ted Maher. He raced twice at the allowance level during the Laurel Park fall meet then had the winter off. This was his first start since October 23, 2008.
“I really didn’t want to run him in this spot,” Maher said. “I thought he needed a race but he had never really had a layoff during his career and he could use the freshening. He is a really well bred horse and he is a classy animal. We are very excited. I am shocked. I didn’t think we were even going to place.”
Brickell paid $102.40 and topped a $310 exacta and a $2,079.40 triple. He has 11 lifetime wins and 30 in the money finishes for earnings of $342,782. He had started in only two other stakes over the years, off-the-board finishes in both the Elkhorn at Keeneland and the John Henry at Arlington Park.
Maher said he would likely nominate Brickell to the Grade II Dixie on Preakness day, May 16. Last year the trainer finished third in the Dixie with Ra Der Dean at odds of 41-1.