It’s not often a trial victory can stimulate an emotional reaction, especially for an eight-year-old, but then again Denim Pack is no ordinary horse for Tracey Brown.
Tears were flowing for Brown after Denim Pack, on the comeback from injury and retirement, took out heat seven of Monday’s Belmont trial by five lengths.
Brown, who shares ownership of Denim Pack with partner and trainer, Mike Santich, began the trials with nervous anticipation, but departed on an optimistic high.
“Can you believe it, I was crying,” Brown told The Races WA.
“I was bawling my eyes out and never expected he would win by that much.
“It was crazy and I’m really, really happy.”
Brown’s sentimental attachment and loyalty to Denim Pack, is deeper than most. It goes back to when he was an unraced two-year-old.
The early signs were not encouraging and before he even set foot on a racetrack there were serious concerns the son of Demerit would not make it.
Brown refused to give up on the gelding and persevered. From that point the bond between Brown and Denim Pack was cemented.
“The reason this horse means so much to me is because when he was an unraced two-year-old, riders said he had ‘square heels’ and would not make it,” Brown said.
“Mike (Santich) said to advertise him on rehome a racehorse, he won’t make it.
“I took him to the vets and they discovered he had enflamed coffin joints which is common for horses pushed too early.
“They advised six months in the paddock and Mike agreed to let me spell him for nearly 12-months.
“In his first race, which was a Saturday, he flashed home for fourth.
“The rest is now history.”
Denim Pack progressed to win four races and record 15 placings from 53 starts for prizemoney of $183,875.
As a $5ooo yearling he’s a winner in more ways than one for Brown.
That he can extend that win-loss strike rate is a bonus after he sustained a tendon injury nine months ago.
A change of situation and a change of environment shelved retirement plans.
“He had a small hairline fracture of the pedal bone and we retired him and put him out in the paddock,” Brown said.
“As fate would have it, they decided to widen Stock Road and the paddock he was in had to be demolished.
“We had to bring him back here to our Ascot stable and he just thrived.
“He loved being back and was going great.
“We got our vet, who has looked after him since he was two, to look over him.
“He said everything’s healed up and he’s the best he’s ever seen him.
“As far as he was concerned, he was ready to go back into work.
“Mike has changed his work and mixed it up with swimming, which he loves.
“He’s the best we’ve ever got him and he’s had no issues since.
“He pulled up an absolute treat after the trial, you wouldn’t know he’s been around.
“We didn’t think we would get to a trial, but he wants to do it, he wants to be there.
“While he’s like that we will keep going with him.
“Mike is probably going to start him next Wednesday.”
If Brown cried over a Denim Pack’s trial victory, by her own admission, she’s bound to shed rivers of tears when he launches his return to racing.
He’s a horse that for nearly eight years has tugged at her heartstrings.
“He’s my best friend, my soul mate,” Brown said.
“He is such a gentleman and means the world to me.”