Tag Archives: Big Brown

NO DUEL in CLASSIC: BIG BROWN INJURED/RETIRED

Big Brown suffered this career-ending hoof injury Monday morning during a workout.  Photo from DRF.com

The Crack Heard 'Round the Track: Big Brown suffered this career-ending hoof injury Monday morning during a workout. Photo from DRF.com

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?

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Filed under Big Brown, Breeders' Cup, Kentucky Derby, retirements

BIG BROWN VICTORIOUS! + MUSIC NOTE & PROUD SPELL!!

By now most Infield readers know that Big Brown won on Saturday, holding off Proudinsky in a thriller stretch drive (I think that must be my favorite phrase, seriously).  The Derby Winner has passed the “beat older” test with winning colors…now on to synthetic and CURLIN! 

There is no way now for Curlin to repeat as HOTY without running in the Classic. Brown has done everything except win the Belmont (and how many others have that blemish on their resume).  Brown draws record crowds to see him run in non-graded stakes.  Brown has a major corporate sponsor (almost like NASCAR).  Curlin has the hardware (’07 HOTY), the earnings (over $9mil) and the key to Saratoga.  But unless his owner (who has been a tremendous sportsman so far just by running the Golden Warrior at 4) gives in and enters the defending BCC winner on SA’s poly, his chances for a repeat HOTY are slim and none.  If he enters and Brown beats him, he’s out, but the questions will be answered.  If he runs and wins, he’ll go down as one of our greatest champions.  There have only been a handful of 2-time HOTY champs in history, an enormous achievement.  The last back-to-back HOTY was Cigar in ’95/’96.  Even he couldn’t capture 2 Classics. 

If neither Brown or Curlin win the Classic, then things get more tricky.  It’s safe to say Go Between, love him as I do, will not be HOTY if he springs the big-ass upset.  I say Curlin would still be HOTY if both colts run up the track.  Curlin deserves the honor, after racing around the world in Dubai, and in all Gr1 events here in the states.  He has beaten a host of Gr1 winners and millionaires.  He’s also run faster than Brown (112 BSF in the Woodward).  It could also be a wake-up call to owners who retire their 3yos.  Curlin has run an (sort-of) old-fashioned campaign this year, hitting all the top Gr1s and taking on all comers.  I like Curlin better than Brown because of this-he is the last big name from the legendary 2007 Triple Crown Class.  All of those colts (and filly) were amazing athletes, game, fast and turned up every time.  To get to see even one of them for another year is a privlege that we won’t have next year.  Big Brown will be at Three Chimneys swapping TC war stories with Point Given (though PG will always win with his *I* won the Belmont by 11…). 

OTHER Stuff:  MUSIC NOTE waltzed away with the Gazelle after Country Star flipped in the gate and had to scratch.  The daughter of AP Indy is a tremendous runner in a year of Top Class Fillies.  Aside from Brown, 2008 has been the YEAR OF THE FILLY — The Distaff is the headliner race for the BC this year with Zenyatta, Ginger Punch, Hystericaladay, Music Note, Tough Tiz’s Sis, and now Proud SPell is back on the BC list.  Then Indian Blessing, Intangaroo, and Dearest Trickski have the F/M Sprint locked down.  Too bad Rags got hurt. 

Thursday I leave for an InfieldTrip to the heart of horse country.  Complete blogging and photos and such will be forthcoming…

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Filed under Big Brown, Breeders' Cup, curlin, Graded Stakes, results, Santa Anita

BIG BROWN vs OLDER HORSES & and OFF TRACK

Big Brown is such a star that Monmouth Park has carded a race just for him, the Monmouth Stakes at 11/8 miles on turf.  I suppose the idea was to get an easy prep in for the BCClassic, but this has turned out to be anything but for the presumptive 3yo champ.  The half-million dollar purse has attracted a full field of Graded stakes winners, older turf specialists itching for the chance to take down the Derby winner. 

SHakis, trained by Keiran Mclaughlin for Darley, just won the Baruch at Saratoga.  11/8 miles is his bitch. 

Proudinsky was 6th by only 2lengths in a blanket finish to Shakis in the Baruch, and Frankel has him tuned up for a victory this time.  He may get it, too, because along with the older horses and the grass, Big Brown may also have to overcome turf less-than-firm.  Weather predictions are calling for rain saturday, which could even pull the race off the grass and onto the main track. 

Silver Tree has a win over the Monmouth turf course already, and was game in his last narrow win in the Oceanport. 

How sweet would the stretch call be if Fugeddaboudit Sal won? 

Despite his record thus far, Big Brown does not have me wholly convinced of his greatness.  He has been beating a questionable crop all year.  His peers, whom he so thoroughly wolloped, have been barely beating each other (sloowly) .  What will happen when he gets in with the senior class? 

I like Proudinsky and Silver Tree, or Shakis on top if the course is dry.  Drum Major may be a dangerous upset play, after a year layoff and a 7th place finish in the Baruch.  Get Serious, BAllonenostrikes and Kiss the Kid are local Monmouth horses looking for some big-time cred.

If Brown can pull off a win here, it will go a loooong way in convincing me — like Curlin last year.  I was not on the Golden Warrior’s bandwagon until he beat my buddy LAwyer Ron in the JCGC. 

At least Brown is attracting positive attention to the sport.  Memphis is the dead zone of racing coverage, and even people here are talking about him.  They may even flip over from the Southern Heritage CLassic to catch the race on TVG (3:30pm Central).  Who am I kidding?  Memphians skipping a football game?  LOL…

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Filed under Graded Stakes, Handicapping, Monmouth Park, Turf racing

Haskell Heartstopper + SAUHBR Results Week2 BT 47, The Infield 39

Big Brown squeezes between Atoned (left) and Magical Forest (right) around the first turn in the Haskell. photo by mel evans/AP/bostonglobe.com

Big Brown squeezes between Atoned (left) and Magical Forest (right) around the first turn in the Haskell. photo by mel evans/AP/bostonglobe.com

What a race!  Big Brown nipped Coal Play at the wire in a thriller Haskell, despite every effort by jockey Desormeaux to lose the race.   I’m not saying Kent was trying to lose, but it just seemed like he wasn’t riding with any confidence in his horse.  After shooting out to the lead at the break, he immediately reined Brown back as Coal Play ran up to challenge.  The Big Horse followed Zito’s rabbit around the track in second, but when the time came to blow past for the win, he didn’t respond.  Coal Play opened up 2 lengths on him and Cool Coal Man and looked very much the winner.  It was more than halfway into the stretch before Big Brown responded to any of Kent’s urging, right-handed whip action.  He raced somewhat greenly, drifting far out to the middle of the track.  Still Coal Play lead, and Cool Coal Man was advancing (albeit sloowly).  Finally, in the last few yards, Big Brown’s mystical “energy button” kicked on, an he somehow managed to pass the pacesetter with enough momentum to carry him across the line 1.5 in front.  In the gallop-out, Brown fought Kent every step of the way, throwing his head up with his mouth hanging open.  It wasn’t pretty. 

For Brown’s next race, they should put Prado back on and see what a difference it would make.  Jock changes aren’t uncommon even with the Big Horses.  Jean Cruget got taken off of Seattle SLew.  Steve Cauthen didn’t always ride Affirmed.  Jerry Bailey didn’t always ride Cigar.  

The partnership between horse and rider was severely shaken up in the Belmont and in SUnday’s Haskell, it seems the ties finally broke.  If we’re only going to enjoy Big Brown 2 more times on the track, the connections would do well to consider the jockey switch.  The horse deserves the best chance he can get for optimal performance.  Especially if it’s up against Curlin, who he must beat for any Horse of the Year honors.

Of course, all of this will be moot if ZENYATTA goes in the Classic instead of the distaff.  That filly is the queen of the Cali condomtrack!   

SAUHBR WEEK 2 RESULTS!!

HASKELL: 1)BIG BROWN (4) 2)COAL PLAY 3)COOL COAL MAN (1)

OCEANPORT: 1)SILVER TREE (1) 2)GIANT WRECKER 3)HOTSTUFANTHENSOME

MATCHMAKER: 1)J’RAY 2)DYNA’S LASSIE 3)COZZI CAPITAL — NO POINTS!!  TOTAL SUCKAGE RACE…

WEST VIRGINIA DERBY: 1)READY SET 2)WEB GEM 3)REAL APPEAL — NO POINTS!  MAJOR BOMB RACE…

WV GOVERNOR’S STAKES: 1)ZANJERO (4) 2)BETTER THAN BONDS(1) 3)BARBICAN  EX BONUS 5

ROYAL NORTH: 1)AKRONISM (4) 2)BECKY SHARP 3)MARINA BALLERINA

TOTAL SCORE after 2 weekends: 39 POINTS!

This race is just gettin’ started!  I have PICK POWER this week, and there just happens to be a few grass races at Arlington that usually draw a crowd up there in Illinois…

Sunday’s races are proving more difficult, though — I’ll figure something out before Wednesday.

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Filed under Brag sheet, Graded Stakes, Handicapping, results, SAUHBR