Brown Almighty, son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, is scheduled for his first start on dirt in Monday's $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park.
Trained by Tim Ice, Brown Almighty raced exclusively on turf during his initial five starts, posting wins in the first two, including the Sunny's Halo at Louisiana Downs.
Remaining at Louisiana Downs, the chestnut colt was second in the Sunday Silence Stakes and third in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. Sent off at 18-1 under Kent Desormeaux, Brown Almighty finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita in November after taking the lead in the race coming out of the turn.
"You kind of put the pressure on yourself," explained Ice who won the 2009 Belmont Stakes with Summer Bird. "As far as everybody is concerned, if we've done our job, he's going to go out and do his. The expectations are high, but there's no pressure."
Thursday morning at Oaklawn the colt had a four-furlong workout that pleased his trainer.
"He breezed 3/8s and I had him around 36 and change. The Clockers had him 36 & 2 galloped out in 49, so it all went really well," Ice noted. "He actually ended up getting behind horses and getting more dirt kicked in his face. Overall, I thought it was a great work, and it gave him a little more experience with the dirt hitting him in the face. All systems are a go. I think it's very important, especially for young horses and for him more so because he's been racing on the turf and hasn't had that kickback. So, for him to get that in his face in the mornings, I think it's going to help him more in the afternoon just to be used to it, where he'll run through it and it doesn't bother him."
Brown Almighty comes into the one-mile Smarty Jones with earnings of $114,000.
Coming up at Oaklawn for 3-year-olds will be the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 18 followed by the Rebel on March 16 with the Arkansas Derby on April 13.