Has Chad Brown turned the tide in the race to be world number two?

Girvin (left) just gets up to win the Haskell in a driving finish with McCraken (right) and Practical Joke (centre). Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Chad Brown may not see it quite that way, but he’s on something of a hot streak right now. Witness his performance in the TRC Global Rankings last week: a whopping five-point gain (whopping if you’re in the top five) means he’s beginning to close up on Bob Baffert in the race to be world #2.

That second slot (behind Aidan O’Brien) has swapped and changed since the rankings went public last October, with Brown, Baffert, Todd Pletcher, Darren Weir and Chris Waller all laying claim at some stage, but Baffert has pretty much made it his own over the past few months.

Last week Brown gave notice that the silver-haired one may not have it all his own way much longer.

True, he may have been more focussed on the disappointments going on at Saratoga (his Preakness winner Cloud Computing finished an admittedly close-up last of five in the Jim Dandy on Saturday) and Monmouth Park (favorite Timeline was a well-beaten fifth in the Haskell on Sunday), but there were massive compensations.

Practical Joke was a star, for a start. The colt had to give way to Girvin and McCraken in the end, but he gave his all and was just half a length behind them at the line after a real thriller. And then there is the small matter of four Graded victories (two G2s, two G3s) with two of them on turf and two on dirt, just in case you still think Brown is mainly a turf man.

World #3 Brown is now nine points behind Baffert (he was 15 back just seven days ago) and has a ten-point lead over Aussie Weir, who is fourth.

He wasn’t the biggest climber among U.S. trainers last week, however. Girvin’s trainer, Joe Sharp, gained six points week on week to rise 65 places to #181, while Jorge Navarro, responsible for G1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap scorer El Deal at Saratoga and runaway G3 Monmouth Cup winner Sharp Azteca, was up eight points, taking him from #84 to #72.

Click here for a list of last week’s biggest TRC Global Rankings points gainers.

Click here for a list of the week’s Group and Graded winners.

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