Winning the $1.2 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile last year with Town Cruise was a tough act for Woodbine trainer Brandon Greer to follow this year — especially since he has just four horses in his barn. But he did so in show-stopping fashion two weeks ago when two colts he bred — full brothers to each other — won their first lifetime starts just two days apart. The sire of the brothers, Frac Daddy, is one of the hottest studs in Ontario this year. Half of his eight starters won their debut race. Some stat!
The Frac Daddy brothers, 4-year-old Quiet Intent and 3-year-old Quiet Sunday, sons of Extra Quiet, produced their debut victories in 7 ½ furlong races on the turf in impressive fashion under Daisuke Fukumoto, especially the 3-year-old who “circled the field easily” to win going away. He paid $9.70. But it was the older brother, Quiet Intent, racing two days before him, who lit up the toteboard with a $50 price.
That was likely because of the gelding’s reputation as a difficult horse to manage. “He has the attention span of a goldfish,” Greer, 44, told this writer in a telephone interview. “It took half the backstretch to get him to the races.” But the Frac Daddy offspring behaved himself when it counted and he won his first start by almost two lengths despite being fanned six wide.
Frac Daddy’s two other debut winners this year came earlier in the season for other stables: 2-year-old filly Anam Cara won for trainer Sarah Ritchie ($9.70) and 3-year-old colt Poseidon Steel notched a debut victory for the Gordon Colbourne barn ($12).
And Brandon Greer isn’t done with Frac Daddy yet. He and his father, Terry, 74, also bred him to Candy Cruise to produce the 4-year-old filly Blueberry Fields, who’s had six 5-furlong workouts and may be ready for her debut.
So the obvious question is: What prompted the Greers to believe Frac Daddy was a good match for their mare, Extra Quiet (whose racing record was 19-3-1-3) and Candy Cruise? “It’s all on my dad,” Brandon said. “He’s the specialist in breeding.” He said he visited Frac Daddy several times but it was his dad who has the keen eye and breeding instincts.
Brandon said he thought the younger brother, Quiet Sunday, was going to make the best showing and was pleasantly surprised when Quiet Intent beat him to it. It also put pressure on him. Could he actually notch two debut victories in two days? “I had to fight it from my brain constantly,” Brandon said.
And how did he celebrate the double victories? “Nothing special,” he said. “Oh yes, I went to see their mom (Extra Quiet) and hugged her.” And maybe whispered a big thanks in her ear?
Although wins are always special, he said, “What gives me greater joy is watching to see whether they have the idea of what racing is about.” Each brother made moves suggesting they knew. That felt good.
Brandon collected $53,000 in purse money for their wins. But perhaps better than the purse money are the hopes that accompany two horses that win their first start and have a limitless future.
But nothing will match, at this point at least, what the star of the stable, Town Cruise, did last September in winning the $1.2 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile, gate to wire. “I was numb to the whole spectacle,” Brandon recalls. “I was staring at the horse, seeing how beautiful he looked coming down the stretch. I was living the moment.”
He had earned it. He had been plodding along since 2004, just making do with a stable of several horses in each of those years and no wins in five of those years including 2020 when he earned a paltry $20,172—his worst year since 2005–with a record of 8-0-0-2. Then suddenly last year, $720,000 from the Woodbine Mile came his way.
“How did you feel winning all that money?” he was asked. “You want to know the truth? I thought ‘what in hell am I supposed to do with this?’” Old budget restraints die hard.
“But what it did do was give my father a chance to go to Kentucky and buy a couple of horses.” He spent $125,000 buying a Catholic Boy yearling and a broodmare, Lemon Squeeze by Gio Ponti. Given his father’s reputation for spotting talent, this catapults the tiny stable to a new level.
Before Brandon got into racing in 2004, his father was managing a breeding operation for owners who sold horses in the U.S. and his father and grandfather, Reg, had been involved in show jumping at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. He and his father —who still feels the effects of having been crushed by a horse who flipped over on him some years ago — are the only ones caring for their horses.
But surely there must be a bounce in their step these days, tending a sophomore who “circled the field easily” and having a Catholic Boy yearling in the bank. (The versatile Catholic Boy who won the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in 2018 was one of my favourites.) “Greer” is obviously a trainer name to be looking for in race programs, as are Frac Daddy debut starters.
You don’t want to miss another $50 opportunity.