6/10/08

Zito delivers with Da’Tara when Big Brown fails to « Tuesday’s Horse

Big Brown fails to deliver

It is reported everywhere by sports writers, broadcasters and racing pundits that the connections have no idea what went wrong with the horse.

Well, I saw the race, quiet unexpectedly, and there are several explanations, but here is the simplest and most likely:

Big Brown came out of the gate hard. Drawn from the number 1 position on the inside he experienced a lot of crowding as the other horses raced for the rail to get a good position. Several strides in Big Brown was bumped badly, knocked off his stride and had to be snatched up. Big Brown then had to navigate quite a bit of traffic to get the position he would hold for the rest of the race, on the outside third from the raile.

With his head high in the air, Big Brown pulled hard and jockey Kent Desmoreaux seemed never to be able to settle him into a comfortable stride. Although it was not a fast run race, those extra exertions to me is where Big Brown lost the race.

Add the hot weather, longer distance and that he also may have not liked the ground, and Big Brown’s poor performance can be explained. Only because Big Brown was going for the Triple Crown and has an admitted doper for a trainer who ran Big Brown on a badly cracked hoof has it all been so highly scrutinized.

There is the factor so often overlooked. Big Brown is a living,breathing, thinking, feeling creature. What he was experiencing mentally on the day we may never know, but it does matter. The blessing is that the jockey took care of the horse, and when he realized Big Brown had nothing left in the tank, pulled him up, thereby protecting the horse from injury, and possibly much worse.

Big Brown pulled up

Jockey Kent J. Desormeaux reins in Big Brown during the
140th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race at Belmont Park in
Elmont, New York, June 7, 2008.

Big Brown failed in his bid to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown
winner when he finished in last place to the winner Da’ Tara.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Big Brown finished last.

Sunday, the papers say, Big Brown was all alone except for the staff who handle and care for him.

No one knows what Big Brown’s fate is now. More racing perhaps, with a match up against Horse of the Year Curlin in the Breeder’s Cup, and then off to the breeding shed. Another big win would help plump up the price for Big Brown’s services at stud. The experts say his stallion fees began falling before he left the racecourse.

Jun 10, 2008

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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra