Sunday, June 8, 2008
Running on Empty? Big Brown Washed Out
Did you see the race? With all the hoopla about Big Brown's Triple Crown prospects, with trainer Rick Dutrow saying those 2 words he would probably like to call back now "foregone conclusion", with media swarming and interviewing everyone including the jockey's wife, I could hardly stand the suspense once the gates clanged open.
What a disappointment; as jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "There was no flat tire; he was just out of gas". Watching big Brown struggle at the back of the pack and come in last was saddening. Was it a case of "no hoof, no horse"? Was it the heat, the length of the race, was it his horoscope? Nobody knows as yet.
But the one idea that makes a depressing kind of sense is this: Dutrow openly admitted that he had Big Brown on a monthly steroid injection for the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and in the media furor that followed (especially in light of Eight Belles' untimely death) he vowed to take him off the steroids for the Belmont. So we saw a natural organic Big Brown, and we saw him flail away miserably at the back of the field, behind every other horse's beautiful backside.
Why steroids are a legal substance in racing when so many other things are illegal, I do not know. But DaTara, who sailed to victory yesterday much to his own surprise, was almost certainly not steroid-free.
How fast will UPS distance itself from its sponsorship of Big Brown? Do you think there were some anguished phone calls last night?
Well here's one good thing: All the horses survived. They probably all think they won; after all, they went out and did their job, then they got rinsed off and brushed, and got their suppers. Even Big Brown.