Dutrow is proving exactly why the pulse of the racing public was against this Triple Crown bid. Missed press conferences, finger pointing and excuses have emerged from "Camp Big Brown", now being led by IEAH co-President, Michael Iavarone. Here's a guy who's lied about a degree and phantom employment at Goldman Sachs, instead working at three penny stock pushing investment firms I've never heard of. He's been fined and censured by the NASD, sued by an Atlantic City casino and the Kenneland Association horse sales for not paying for horses bid at auctions... talk about a scumbag!! Even Big Brown wants nothing to do with this dude -- see picture at left.
For all the sports journalists out there who were on record as saying they didn't want this horse to sweep the Triple Crown, there is a collective sigh of relief. I must admit, on the far turn I was giddy with joy myself as I knew Big Brown was running out of steam, although I didn't care for Kent easing him with two furlongs remaining. Many bettors are demanding a refund (no chance), but more likely what may happen is jockey Kent Desormeaux being fined by the NYRA stewards for "competition infractions" by pulling up a non-injured horse prior to the race order being determined.
"I'm sure he didn't have any idea what the hell was going on going into the first turn the way (Desormeaux) was switching him all over the damn track," Dutrow told the Daily Racing Form. "I don't know what he was doing." He went on to say, "I feel like a loser right now, and I don't know why. Usually when I get beat I can handle it the right way, and I've handled this the right way, but I just feel like something's not right." What world is this guy living in? The only thing I've seen him do "right" is soil a shirt more than Bruce Pearl could on his best day!
So what did happen to Big Brown, people keep asking. Theories abound about the quarter crack, missed training and especially the steroids he didn't take prior to the Belmont. That may be reaching a bit since he hadn't taken his Winstrol (allegedly) dose since mid-April and performed fine in crushing his opponents in The Derby and Preakness. I conclude that a number of factors (3rd race in 5 weeks, scorching heat, apparent rankness fighting Kent's positioning early in race, breaking a step slow) threw Big Brown off his game and resulted in a bad day at the office. These do occasionally happen to all of us, you know?!
Kudos to Nick Zito, the new "giant killer" (with apologies to Allen Jerkens) of the Triple Crown. Nick, of course, conditioned another $70+ horse in Birdstone to knock off Smarty Jones in 2004's Belmont Stakes. But that one already had a Grade 1 win over the track as a two year-old. This Da'Tara came as quite a shock, being eligible for a non-winners of two lifetime race and going off as the longest shot on the board. Dennis of Cork rallied for second behind this soft pace to prove his worth as a sophomore. The Travers at Saratoga may be an interesting race with the top 3 year-olds all pointing for the late August "midsummer's Derby".
For now, the focus in deservedly back on the #1 rated thoroughbred in the world -- Curlin, as he prepares for his U.S. comeback in the Stephen Foster Handicap this Saturday at Churchill Downs. Let's hope this superstar can keep to his winning days.