Winning the 2016 Saratoga trainer’s title, the 2016 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer, and the 2017 Preakness Stakes are just a few of the accolades that trainer Chad Brown has compiled in the past year.
On Tuesday night, July 18, Brown will achieve an even rarer feat for a horse trainer when minor league baseball’s Tri-City ValleyCats honor him with his own bobblehead night.
Brown is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the ValleyCats game, taking some time away from his barn as he prepares his stable for the Saratoga meet starting on Friday, July 21.
The Tri-City ValleyCats are a minor league baseball team based in Troy, New York, and are the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Brown was born and raised in nearby Mechanicville, only 20 miles from where the ValleyCats play ball, so the fit was just right to honor Brown, who has now gained worldwide notoriety as a top trainer.
“We always look to hometown people who we can pay tribute to,” said ValleyCats Media Manager Chris Chenes. “With Chad Brown being from Mechanicville (New York) and all his achievements becoming a nationally-award winning trainer, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to honor him with a bobblehead night.”
Brown has won over 1,150 races in his relatively short training career including eight Breeders Cup races since 2008. Only 38 years old, Brown is on a trajectory to become one of the most successful trainers of all time at the rate that he’s winning races. It’s the prototypical story of the local kid who’s made it big.
“Horse racing is really big in this area, with the track and Saratoga so close by,” said Chenes. “Every year, we have a ‘track night,’ and this year, we’ll honor Chad as part of that night. Chad was onboard with the idea and we got his blessing to do the bobblehead, so we jumped on it.”
As part of their “Dark Tuesday” Track Night, the ValleyCats will have horse racing-themed contests and giveaways, including photos of Brown’s top female turf horse, Lady Eli, provided by Capital OTB. To keep with racetrack tradition, the ValleyCats will have a bugler who’s worked at Saratoga play throughout the night to add to the racing authenticity. Chenes expects the “track night” to be popular, with an estimated attendance of 4,000. Only the first 1,500 fans entering the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium will receive the Chad Brown bobblehead, so an early-arriving crowd is expected.
For many years in the early 2000s, Saratoga Race Course would honor jockeys, trainers and beloved horses like Fourstardave with bobblehead giveaway days. Many racetracks across the country have held bobblehead giveaways, too, but in recent recollection, this may be the first time that a baseball team has done a horse racing-themed bobblehead.
“We’re always looking for unique bobbleheads to do every year, and this is the first time we’ve done a horse racing bobblehead,” said Chenes. “It will be a fun night.”