All of the Case garden tractors that I have seen are equipped with a foot brake. When the brake pedal is depressed, the travel control lever is set to neutral and a band brake is applied to the rear differential Drive. I'm not sure why anyone would ride a tractor downhill into a lake without using the brake.
I have owned many makes of garden tractors and I think the case hydraulic drive system is awesome. I have a hydraulic drive tiller for my 444 and just used it this week to till up a new 1/2 acre front yard. It does a great job and unlike many other garden tractor tillers is not Limited in power by a belt drive. I also have a 54 inch front Dozer blade which does a great job. I do believe that the High rear wheels that case used apply more power to the ground than any other garden tractor of comparable size that I have used. I can push out and level a single axle dump truck load of fill dirt in about 10 minutes. I don't use my case tractor to mow with anymore as I have a zero turn but for driveway, Garden, and material moving tasks I have not seen a garden tractor in the size range that could keep up with case.