by Dick Jerardi
Donny Brown loves Speightstown mares. A few years ago, he found a mare, Ida Clark, in foal to Not This Time, runner-up in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and a half brother to BC Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map.
“So I bought her,’’ Brown said. “I called (partner) Tom (McClay). He said: `are you out of your mind paying I think $45,000 for a mare because we weren’t spending that kind of money at that time.’’
Brown explained he couldn’t say no. McClay said he was in for half.
Ida Clark did not have a similar race record to Not This Time. In fact, she had just two wins, both at Charles Town, one in a maiden claiming $10,000 and the other for $12,500 claiming. Brown was not deterred. He wanted a Speightstown mare and Ida Clark was by Speightstown.
The resulting foal was born on April Fools Day 2018 which also happened to be Easter Sunday. Hempt Farms where the filly was born has since been sold and is under development. It is not far from Brown’s Mechanicsburg, Pa. restaurant Black n Bleu.
“When you put them on the ground, you always wonder what they are going to be like,’’ Brown said.
That foal, now a 4-year-old filly named Just One Time, was in post 4 in the seventh race last Saturday at Keeneland. That race, the Grade I Madison, had a $500,000 purse. Just One Time was 4-1 in the gate, but a flood of very late money made her 2-1 as the horses began their run down the backstretch in the 7-furlong race.
In her five Pennsylvania races, Just One Time had raced up with the pace. But, in her first race for trainer Brad Cox, the Grade II Inside Information on Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park, she had gate issues and broke poorly. No matter. She raced in seventh early, inhaled the field on the turn and kept going in the stretch to win convincingly.
This looked more ominous when Just One Time was even farther back against a more accomplished field. In fact, when she was passed on the turn by the division’s best closer, Bells the One, she was last as the field turned into the stretch.
So what happened? Jockey Flavien Prat eventually swung Just One Time outside Bell’s the One; let her see the sky in the distance and here she came, passing all the horses in front of her until only one remained. Could Just One Time pass Bell’s the One too? She could and she did, winning The Madison, setting off a wild celebration from all the Just One Time connections that include Brown and Todd Mostoller. McClay was not at Keeneland, but he was no doubt celebrating as well.
Just One Time ran the 7 furlongs in 1.22.79, just .32 seconds slower than the talented older male Prevalence had run in winning The Commonwealth 70 minutes earlier. And the filly did it the hard way.
“It’s just magic how it worked out,’’ said Mostoller, who bought into the filly last year and suggested sending her out of town to race in a graded stakes company.
Just One Time has now run seven times, with six wins and earnings of $525,195. They love the filly at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky. where Not This Time stands at stud. When Brown called the farm to say he wanted to come and visit Not This Time, he was told: “you get over here right now, Donny.’’
Not This Time stands for $45.000. The demand and stud fee will be going up. The only Not This Time offspring to earn more money than Just One Time is Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter. Next on the list is Fountain of Youth winner Simplification. Those two colts are scheduled to run in the May 7 Kentucky Derby.
According to Brown, while Ida Clark was pregnant, she had a brother who set a track record.
“Tom and I talked and I said now that she’s a black-type producer, we couldn’t afford to buy her, now we can’t afford not to sell her,’’ Brown said.
“We sold her for $65,000,’’ Brown said. “We thought we were geniuses. We got a free horse.’’
Who knew? The partners obviously wish they had kept Ida Clark. The good news is they have her daughter, Just One Time. And she will race on, with the ultimate goal being the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint back at Keeneland in November. And her residual value as a broodmare is skyrocketing with every racing success. “I’m very grateful,’’ Donny Brown said.