For many of us, a good day constitutes a smooth day at the office, perhaps an afternoon of golf or a romantic dinner with your significant other. For trainer Rick Dutrow, his good day began by winning two million dollar races in Dubai's version of our Breeders' Cup program before the sun even came up over America. Later on Saturday, he saddled a relatively obscure (yet favored) Big Brown in the Florida Derby, who had only raced twice previously. However, the bettors thought enough of this strapping son of Boundary by a Nuryev mare to install him as a 3-2 favorite in spite of starting in the 12 post, an assumed kiss of death at the newly configured Gulfstream. Instead, Kent "squeeky" Desormeaux broke his charge alertly and used energy to only be forced 3 wide on the first turn, then continued on top through torrent fractions to pull away in the stretch for an easy win. The winning time just over 1:48 for the 9 furlongs was the fastest time in more than a decade (including Barbaro's '06 romp) even though Big Brown was lugging all through the stretch, assumably Kent trying to prompt the green colt to change his lead. The result was a near effortless remarkable victory. A month ago, a race of this type would be no surprise from another horse, War Pass. My how quickly things can change on the Derby trail! I will have more comments on this performance in the future, as this was probably the last start for Big Brown prior to the KY Derby -- just 5 weeks away!
In other events Saturday, last year's Horse of Year and Preakness victor Curlin set a record for margin of victory (7 3/4) at the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race which was inaugurally won by champion Cigar in 1996. The winner's share of the $6 million purse boosted Curlin's lifetime earnings just under $9 million, meaning he is about $1 million (or 2 victories away) from breaking Cigar's North American record. The amazing part is that this was only Curlin's second start as a 4 year-0ld. Cigar's record streak happened during his 4-6 year old seasons, when purse money is typically the highest.