Breaking news that I am not surprised about but still hoped I wouldn’t hear :
BIG BROWN was injured during a turf workout at Belmont and will not race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Now the big showdown for Horse of the Year is shot and I won’t be surprised if Curlin opts out, too. Of course, I hope J Jackson and S Asmussen go ahead and run the champ, since he is already out there in Cali. Curlin also worked beautifully on the Pro-Ride this afternoon.
With Brown out, the race takes a differnet turn pace-wise. There are no quick early speed ponies definite for the race, except for maybe Casino Drive. CD won his first start in Japan wire-to-wire, but in his subsequent 2 starts has settled off the pace. Bobby Frankel hasn’t committed Mast Track to the classic, but he may change his mind after today. Well Armed, winner of the Goodwood, could go in classic as well and would be a pace setter, and could be a dangerous one if he gets an easy lead. Pace makes the race is what the old fogies like to harp, but it really is important for those deep closing horses like Tiago, who I was liking as a 2nd choice for my exactas.
Go Between will have home track advantage as well and recently posted a nice workout. The pre-entries come out thursday, so I will have a better grasp of who to expect by then. Until then, let’s take a moment to remember the career of BIG BROWN!
I attended this year’s Kentucky Derby, and here is what I wrote back then, on May 4, on myspace:
First Up: BIG BROWN. I said it all month long to anyone who’d listen: He’s either a freak or a flop, and he declared his membership in the FREAK Fraternity with his authoritative victory. He started from the grandstand and took back just off the easy pace set by Bob Black Jack & Cowboy Cal, then unleashed a furious rally off the final turn, streaking by Eight Belles to win by 4.5. From the Infield backstretch, I didn’t see him at all when the field stampeded past. I caught a brief glimpse of the colt when the horses warmed up before the post. They galloped around to the backside for a minute or two, and through my binocs I saw him, Eight Belles, Monba, Colonel John & Adriano. Big Brown was impressive in scope and size even from my horrible vantage point. He has outrun his experience and pedigree this far, so I am excited to see what his fate will be in the rest of the Triple Crown.
Big Brown caused a sensation this spring the likes of which I won’t soon forget, from his trash-talking trainer to the UPS sponsorship. It is only a shame that we won’t be able to see him race as an older horse. If he was sound, he would have been incredible – can you see him at the Dubai World Cup? In the Jockey Club Gold Cup? IEAH thinks big & Brown actually liked the grass- if he was sound, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them get a little closer to the Arc than other horses herewith unnamed;-)
But that is the other side of things. Big Brown will not retire sound & battled hoof problems his entire brief career. Is that really a trait we want passed along?