Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How Now, Brown?

Even I must admit Big Brown looked quite commanding at the Preakness Stakes. So am I on board with this Knox Delivery Truck of a horse? The Big Brown Bandwagon? Perhaps. As noted earlier, I can't hold his handlers against him.

Here's some interesting info from AP's racing writer, Richard Rosenblatt: Big Brown has won all five of his races by a combined 39 lengths, including the Derby by 4 3/4 lengths and the Preakness by 5 1/4 lengths. Big Brown was so dominant, both margins could have been wider but jockey Kent Desormeaux didn't need to ask his horse to run any harder than necessary in the stretch.

"That was by design," Dutrow said. "If you have the overwhelming horse, why go out there and show everybody? Get the job done and let's get them next time. You got to save horse."

And what about the Belmont, which could be the final race of Big Brown's career? Will Dutrow allow Desormeaux to let Big Brown pour it on if he's got the race locked up? "There's no reason to put on a show. What's the reason?" Dutrow said. "Big Brown is a fragile horse. He's already had major issues with his feet, and we're dealing with another one now. And the more pressure you put on your horse in the afternoon, the more things are going to come apart."

Why, Mr. Riddle, why? Because it's all about money. He's entered a rumored $50 million dollar syndication deal and it has already been declared he will not race as a four-year-old. If the horse is injured to the point he won't make it to stud, there's lost dollars! Don't think for a minute it's about the safety of the horse. I wish he could be pushed to the maximum, just to see what he's made of! How will we ever know our greats if they are coddled? Do ball players not want to set records? Just the opposite! They knowingly jeopardize their health (see: steroids) in pursuit of the next record-breaking feat. Couldn't we somehow balance safety with performance? The sport needs heroes. Not more mediocre stud horses. He's already fragile? Well, there's that whole breeding/pushing too much too soon issue.

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