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Brown Arrested on 'Obstruction of Breathing' Charge

Trainer went before judge Francine Vero Aug. 18 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Chad Brown (far right) in court Aug. 18 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Chad Brown (far right) in court Aug. 18 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Skip Dickstein

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown was arrested Aug. 17 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on a Class A misdemeanor charge of criminal obstruction of breathing, the Saratoga Springs Police Department told BloodHorse Aug. 18.

According to the police department, a complaint was taken at 11 p.m. ET Wednesday regarding an incident that occurred involving Brown, 43, and an acquaintance known to him. 

According to local reports from Brown's Thursday morning arraignment in Saratoga Springs City Court, assistant district attorney Kayla Potter told Judge Francine Vero that Brown pushed a woman down a flight of stairs at his home, pinned her to the ground, and tried to choke her before throwing her out of the house.

Brown's attorney, Joseph Gerstenzang, told the judge the woman who was attacked broke into Brown’s house in the middle of the night and Brown was defending himself. Gerstenzang, who entered a not guilty plea on Brown's behalf, did not return a call from BloodHorse seeking comment.

Brown was released Thursday morning on a $2,500 cash bail. He will be required to appear before Judge Vero at 9 a.m., Sept. 2, according to Saratoga Springs City Court. 

Local reports said Judge Vero issued an order of protection for the alleged victim, permitting only "incidental contact" between herself and Brown, since both work at Saratoga Race Course

New York state penal code 121.11 defines criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation as applying pressure on the throat or neck of an individual with the intent to impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person, or blocking the nose or mouth of such person with the same intent. A Class A misdemeanor conviction in New York carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail or three years of probation. 

A native of Mechanicville, N.Y., and a resident of Saratoga Springs, Brown took out his license in 2007 and was honored as outstanding trainer each year from 2016-19. Through racing Wednesday, he is the leading trainer at the Saratoga meet with 27 wins, and he tops the 2022 North American standings by earnings with $19,833,835 and 168 wins from 569 starts.

He had two horses entered on the Thursday card at Saratoga: Peter Brant's Nabokov in race 8, a $115,000 allowance, and Robyn and Eli in race 9, the $150,000 New York Stallion Series Stakes for Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Michael Caruso.

"I have to hear what the real story is first and then I can determine what I think," Brant said in the paddock Thursday at Saratoga. "I think the thing with Chad is not true. I think there is something that we are not hearing and I am totally supportive of him. I have texted with him. It is what it is. I think he is not a person who would do something like that unless he was provoked. 

"Of course it was upsetting, but I knew what somebody told me, not Chad, but somebody else, told me exactly what happened. I wasn't concerned at all because I think he was just protecting himself. 

"I don't think he would do something like that. He is a smart guy with a lot of sense. I was told that he was woken up by this person and (she) started to hit him. I think he was obviously just protecting himself. Whatever it is, it is, and I think he has to have the right to have his day in court. Total support for him."

New York Racing Association spokesperson Pat McKenna issued the following statement Thursday: "NYRA is aware of the charge brought against trainer Chad Brown today and will defer additional comment on this matter to the Saratoga Springs Police Department."

The New York State Gaming Commission, which oversees racing licensees in the state, did not respond to a request for comment.

Brown has 17 starters entered through Aug. 20, 14 of them at Saratoga and three at Monmouth Park. His Saratoga runners include Aug. 20 Alabama Stakes (G1) contender Gerrymander for Klaravich Stables and a quartet of runners in the Lake Placid Stakes (G2T) on the same card. He has three potential starters for the Aug. 27 Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga: Klaravich's Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Early Voting, Jeff Drown's grade 1 winner Zandon, and Juddmonte homebred Artorius, winner of the July 29 Curlin Stakes at Saratoga.