Juno Dat Timber is ready for his next race around the turn.

Quarter Racing Journal

Juno Dat Timber with David Brown and his daughter, Gracie. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

David Brown rode Grade 1 winners as a jockey and now has a chance for a Grade 1 win as a trainer.

The 50-year-old horseman will send out Juno Dat Timber in Saturday’s $105,000-guaranteed AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

“Juno Dat Timber is a good horse to be around,” Brown said. “I’ve ponied him and galloped him myself, and he’s the kind of horse who accepts everything you do with him. He pulls enough to let you know he’s ready to run, goes out there and does his business, all professional about it.”

Brown retired last year after riding for 31 years. In his career as a jockey, he took 11,382 mounts to the gate, returning with 1,576 wins; 2,897 seconds and thirds; and earnings of more than $9 million. Brown scored aboard Special Jelly Roll in the 1990 Heritage Place Derby (RG1) and followed with five Grade 1 victories, in the 1995 and ’98 runnings of the Oklahoma Futurity with First Easy Dash and Six Feathers, the ’95 Remington Park Futurity on Game Streaker, and the 2010 Refrigerator Handicap and Merial Distaff Challenge Championship on the track-record-setting champion Spit Curl Diva ($829,353).

“Probably the best horse I ever rode was Spit Curl Diva,” he declared. “We won eight out of 10 races that year and she was the champion horse. And we had a horse called Real Visions, a real nice horse who won seven out of 12 and won the Remington Park Derby (G2). Special Jelly Roll was a real nice horse, and I rode Shazoom when he won the Speedhorse (Sprint Futurity (RG3)) at Trinity Meadows.”

Like any good jockey, he loved riding.

“The adrenaline rush was a big part of it,” Brown said. “I was raised around horses and a jockey is what I always wanted to be. I was raised in North Carolina and rode match races in the bush tracks before I took out my license. I really enjoyed it for all the years I rode. I never had a lot of real bad spills – had some spills, just like any rider, but riding was something that was fun to get up and go do. But it was time – I was getting older and I could walk away in one piece. I still like to gallop my horses and still work a few, so I know my horses. My wife and I had a nice stable with some good horses to train, so she and I put our heads together and decided it was time to quit.”

David and wife Jody have been married 29 years, and have two children. Daughter Gracie, 18, is a barrel racer who is her father’s No. 1 groom and likes to start 2-year-olds under the trophy saddle she won last year. Son Cole is 17 and will graduate from high school next spring. The family has a training facility near Oklahoma City.

A lifetime of experience has made Brown a horseman, rather than merely someone who rides horses.

“You have to be around horses to know horses, to know their attitude and how they change in their everyday life, just like we do,” he said. “If you’re going to be successful, you have to get inside their mind. You’ve got to think like the horse thinks, because you can’t expect him to think like you do. You’ve got to think like he thinks and figure out what are the ways he likes to do things.”

So now the horseman is figuring out Juno Dat Timber, a 5-year-old gray gelding by First Timber out of the unraced Snowbound (TB) mare Dashing Snowbound. A homebred racing for Wesley Oulton of Olds, Alberta, Juno Dat Timber is a two-time stakes winner, with a career record of 21-4(2)-4(1)-1 and earnings of $64,983. Les Adams conditioned him to win the 2014 Alberta Bred Futurity (RG3) at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge, Alberta. The gelding then shipped to Oklahoma, where he started once in 2015. As a 4-year-old last year, Durk Perry sent him out to finish back in the Remington Distance Challenge (G3) in Oklahoma City and then run second in the Will Rogers Distance Challenge at Claremore. From there, Juno Dat Timber went to California, where he finished sixth in Rare Ed’s AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1).

In six races this season, Juno Dat Timber has won once, with one second and one third for earnings of $17,046. The gelding wrapped up his time in the Sooner State with a fifth-place run in the May 14 Remington Distance Challenge (G2) and then returned to Canada, where owner Oulton saddled him to score in the July 30 Evergreen Park Distance Challenge at Grande Prairie, Alberta. After a second-place finish in allowance company on August 20, Juno Dat Timber returned to Oklahoma and now awaits  his next trip up the track in Iowa.

“I’ve had Juno Dat Timber for about two weeks,” Brown said. “Durk wasn’t coming to the Challenge, so he sent him to me. So we’ll see how it goes. Looking forward to it.”

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.