Brian's Time doesn't look flashy by anybody's standards. A Darby Dan Farm homebred out of the Graustark mare Kelly's Day, the diminutive colt was named for Gal-breath's great-grandson, Brian Albrecht, another 3-year-old. The four-legged Brian was a late foal, born in mid-May, and Veitch took his time bringing him along. The colt broke his maiden on Nov. 28 at Aqueduct but didn't win again until Jan. 16, when he won an allowance race at Gulfstream. Then he had a bad trip in the Fountain of Youth, finishing fourth. The Florida Derby was only his third career victory and his first in a stakes race. No wonder the bettors overlooked him.
Saturday's surprising result places this year's 3-year-old crop in a different light. Forty Niner can't be disregarded, but there's now doubt that he can go the Kentucky Derby distance of a mile and a quarter. Never one to be caught short, Stephens is preparing three other colts for Churchill Downs, including Cefis, whom he compares with Swale, his 1984 Kentucky Derby winner.
Excuses can be made for Cherokee Colony, a hard-to-handle colt who washed out badly in the paddock and in the post parade at Gulfstream. He will get another chance to prove himself in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 23. "He's a big kid," says Campo. "This horse hasn't really come to himself. He ain't really interested yet."
Notebook showed for the third time that he can't beat Forty Niner. But don't weep for Lukas; he has two Derby contenders—Tejano and Success Express—in California. Also waiting out West is Charlie Whittingham's Lively One. Another contender is the late-blooming Seeking the Gold, who on Saturday won the seven-furlong Swale Stakes at Gulfstream in a speedy 1:21 3/5.
But Saturday afternoon was Brian's time. After the feature race, owner Phillips savored the victory and looked to the future. "He's just a baby, so I figure he's going to get better and better," he said. "He's a very honest performer. He's only 950 pounds, and 900 of that has to be heart."