Sunday, February 22, 2009

2008 in Review

Pt. 2
What Did Brown Do For You?

The Preakness was the last race I discussed for him so Ill backtrack a little.

While some can attribute the bust that was Big Brown in the Belmont to the racing gods frowning on the connections and handlers the fact of the matter is the Triple Crown exposes weakness is a variety of ways. A questionable horse can win a big race, a poor trainer can get lucky, but in the quest for the Triple Crown everyone eventually gets found out.

Big Brown was a good horse and Dutrow knows how to train. Neither were built to complete the Triple Crown though. The pairing was a actually a match made in heaven. Dutrow likes to give his horses plenty of time between races and slowly bring them along. Big Brown had bad feet. The fact that they ended up together was a blessing and as a result both were able to achieve the highest honor in racing. Under ideal conditions they didn't lose a race.

Many beleive the Belmont was the result of a horse without the ability, heart or necessary "supplements" to win a grueling race of that magnitude. The truth is Big Brown just wasn't sound enough to hold up to that type of schedule and Dutrow is out of his element running horses back in that time frame. Big Brown's feet cost him 5 days of training and Dutrow didnt take advantage of the other 15 days he had to get him ready. Look at the profile of a TC winner, they all maintained a heavy workload, most of which worked 2 to 3 times between the 2nd and 3rd jewels. Dutrow has never been that type of trainer and he was never going to risk bottoming his charge out doing what was best to win the race. Of course we can argue whether Brown would have held up to make it to the race but there is no doubt that the kid gloves have to come off for a horse facing the Test of Champions and Dutrow is not that guy and Brown wasn't that horse.

The horses ability or pedigree had nothing to do with it. Big Brown could destroy that field 9 times out of 10 and Dutrow could train a horse up to winning a race of that caliber, but under those conditions neither could play their best hand.

I was quite happy Big Brown came back to win his final two races. The horse had taken such a beating in the press and amongst the internet warriors after the Belmont that I really started to to root for the horse to quiet them down. Whats interesting to me is that fans cant seem to distance the horse from his handlers. They hate the loud moth trainer, they hate the horse. They hate the shady owners (which is questionable at best) then they pass that hate on to the horse. Of course never mind the fact that the horse has no control over what spews from a trainers mouth, how he is trained, who owns him or what gets injected into his backside. The real loser in the fiasco that was Big Brown mania was the horse.

He deserved better.

He showed heart in his final two races when he could have easily collapsed. He showed a will to dominate his opposition leading up to the Triple Crown. He overcame the worst post position in Derby history. What did he get for it? A rabid bias against him because his trainer couldnt keep his mouth shut.

He might be the poster child for racing's steroid era in the same way Big Mac and Sammy Sosa (and now A-Rod) were for baseball, but unlike those creeps he was an innocent party in the matter and all he did when the gates swung open was leave it all on track. (for better and worse)

Im a fan, and I wish him the best at stud.

1 comment:

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