DEL MAR, California — You can’t get more Long Island than Chester Broman. The 82-year-old Babylon resident grew up on his grandmother’s farm on the land that became Pinelawn Cemetery, across the street from where Newsday would be built many years later.
Broman and his wife, Mary, were about as far from Suffolk County as you can get Saturday, a few hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean at Del Mar. That’s where the longtime owner-breeders enjoyed their greatest victory, when 66-1 shot Bar of Gold rallied from 13th to beat Ami’s Mesa by a nose in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. shook his right fist in triumph one stride past the wire, and the Bromans were over the moon. “We’ve had a lot of horses,” Mary said, “but to win something like this is unbelievable, really.”
Those who made Unique Bella the even-money favorite agreed. She finished seventh.
Making it even more shocking is that Bar of Gold was 0-for-11 on fast tracks. She’s an absolute killer (5-for-7) on wet ones, but she was sixth Oct. 8 in the slop at Keeneland. Trainer John Kimmel was asked about the amazing switcheroo.
“That’s a very good question,” Kimmel said, smiling, because the 5-year-old New York-bred mare had run well on dry dirt — three seconds, two thirds, $319,500 in earnings. “I always wondered why. She always trained well on fast tracks, yet never won on one.”
Chester Broman anted up $30,000 to enter Bar of Gold and $30,000 for Highway Star, who ran 11th. “We thought Highway Star had a better chance,” he said.
Bar of Gold paid an astounding $135.40 after 7 furlongs in 1:22.63. She made $550,000, raising her total to $1,551,000.
Nowhere is “you never can tell” truer than in racing, and sometimes you just have to take a shot. Kimmel asked the retired operator of a trucking, contracting and paving business if he wanted to risk the entry fee.
“I thought Bar of Gold was capable of this kind of quality racing,” Broman said, “so I said let’s give it a try. You can breed any kind of horse in New York. You don’t have to be in Kentucky to breed a winner.’’