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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Big Problem

- Big Brown isn't the only horse who got screwed in the Florida Derby post position draw. It's almost like a handicap race at the trotters, where the top horses are placed in the outside posts. Face the Cat (11), Majestic Warrior (10), Hey Byrn (9), and even Elysium Fields (8) all face daunting tasks. Tomcito fared well with number four, and Fierce Wind continued his string of fortuitous post draws by getting the rail. With the latter's perfect record around two turns and with that post, I think he's gotta be prominent on my tickets come Saturday.

I don't know that I would have made Big Brown the morning line favorite from that post; but the oddsmaker is surely considering the hype in addition to the substance. Richard Dutrow was undaunted, and showed no inclination that he would scratch, brashly telling Jay Privman: "We get to play the intimidator from out there, instead of being intimidated. We are ready, babe." [DRF]

Big Brown worked a bullet (of 42) five furlongs in 59 1/5 at Palm Meadows on Tuesday, his second best-of-day drill since his dominating allowance win on the dirt at Gulfstream on March 5 in which he earned a 103 Beyer going a one-turn mile...despite being geared down by Kent Desormeaux. But let's play some devil's advocate if you don't mind.

He ran fast early tracking the pace in that Gulfstream effort, but then slowed down to a second half of 50 1/5. Of course, Desormeaux had him under wraps toward the end. However, the fact that he came home so slowly yet extended to a 12 3/4 length win may say something about the quality of the mere four rivals he defeated that day. Big Brown had a good trip, stalking behind a couple of colts how were each trying winners for the first time - Hedgefund Investor and Crimson Comic, the latter a particularly overbet entry coming off a layoff and stretching out for Pletcher. Those two finished in the last two spots; second place finisher, the 45-1 Heaven's Awesome, had lost his last two by some 48 combined lengths; show horse Deputiformer was a restricted stakes winner at Woodbine last year, but was making his first start since November and had slower Beyers than the others.

So I think it's fair to say that Big Brown beat a field of undetermined quality, and that he'll be facing far, far better in the Florida Derby. And despite what Dutrow says, the post position can't possibly help. I think he's a logical bet-against if things get carried away on the tote, which you might see considering how awesome those two races look on paper.

Big Brown is another Derby contender this year with a somewhat modest pedigree. He's by Boundary, the Danzig sire who stood for $10,000 before being pensioned due to declining fertility; that at the young age of 15 in 2005. He's out of a mare by Nureyev, and there's not much at all to say in terms of relatives on his distaff side. However, he does have some very interesting inbreeding; he's 3x3 to Northern Dancer (his great-grandfather on both his paternal and maternal sides), Damascus 3x4 and Round Table 4x5. Little wonder that this colt likes the grass, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he eventually makes his name on that surface (or synthetics).

17 Comments:

Harl said...

The post draw did not hurt the eventual winner, NISTLE'S CRUNCH.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Put me on the list of folks who aren't buying the Big Brown hype. I heard Jeff Siegel say a few weeks ago that he was the best 3-year-old in training, but I don't buy it.

What I hate is that if he fails on Saturday, we'll hear the post position excuses about "what could have been" with this horse for some time...

I'm an Elysium Fields fan through and through.

Glimmerglass said...

A ML of 12-1 for tested Tomcito in PP 4 yet 3-1 for untested Big Brown out there in no man's land of PP 12. You tell me how that works?! No chance either will ultimately go off as short or as long, but why the odds maker set them as such is beyond me.

I'm by no means trying to say that Tomcito is the next Invasor. Yet he's got a gritty style and his workouts have been damn solid with at least a bullet squeezed out at Gulfstream no less.

Short of a bad trip, there is no reason to think Tomcito won't finish in the money - if not possibly win the Fl Derby.

Big Brown to me is 2008's Showing Up from 2006. Two impressive allowance wins then a victory in the G3 Lexington to get into the Dery. I'd suggest BB's connections do the same and skip the Fl Derby.

Overshadowed by Barbaro, Showing Up in his 4th career start finished a solid 6th and went on to an up and down series of victory then injury. Which seems for BB with his sire/dam's woes not far from what might lay ahead.

I think Showing Up will return for 2008 again at Keeneland's spring meet on the grass. Looking forward to it!

Anyhow I'll turn off my broken record with Tomcito now ;>

Superfecta said...

The last I heard (earlier this week) was that Showing Up is 50/50 as far as returning or heading to the shed; like Big Brown, apparently his feet are not the best.

I think Big Brown could be a very interesting turf horse, but if he's really as fragile as advertised, I don't see a long career on dirt. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but as of now I'm loving the 12-1 on Tomcito!

Lenny said...

I was against Big Brown before the post position draw but now I have no fear of him beating me. Of course the two I liked, Hey Byrn and Elysium Fields, fared no better in the pp draw. I think the winner comes from the trio of Fierce Wind, Smooth Air and Tomcito, with the favorites filling out the place and show spots.

Lenny

Anonymous said...

BIG BROWN reminds me of HALFBRIDLED in the 2005? BC Juvi Fillies. Miles better than the rest of the field, big questions about the outside post. Every reason to go against the horse based on the huge jump in class and the lack of experience.

...Which is why I'm singling him up the whazoo. Yeah, he'll probably be 9-5 and it's a terrible price...or is it? Not when he romps. Big Brown is going to trash this field of allowance horses. Then he's a bet-against in the Derby off three career starts.

Anonymous said...

Big Brown will not be on my ticket, nor will Tomicito. Showing Up is a nice analogy on the former.

While I have a soft spot for the latter, a horse like that will have to beat me, and with all the press will go off well less than 12-1.

Fierce Wind is a must use, but I too am on the Elyssium band wagon here. Loved his last.

Will use both in the top spot with a few to be determined's underneath in a fine wagering event.

Anonymous said...

What's the old addage? Grade One horses win Grade One horseraces.

There's one Grade One horse in the Florida Derby. He's big and he's brown.

Anonymous said...

where is everyone getting odds? they're not on equibase or drf? what am i misssing?

Anonymous said...

What's the old addage? Grade One horses win Grade One horseraces.

Ah, that would be Tomcito--he's already won two G1's.

El Angelo said...

The draws and race setup looks perfect for Fierce Wind, who may even be a square price (~8-1?). Bomb that I like to hit the board: BB Frank.

Anonymous said...

A very, very interesting betting proposition, this race. After the draw, you could make a reasonable case for eight (EIGHT!) winners - which is just incredible for a Grade 1 prep at this time of the year - and I'm not including Nistle's Crunch in that group.

Exotics should pay well.

ajkreider

Glimmerglass said...

Quote: "where is everyone getting odds? they're not on equibase or drf? what am i misssing?"

I had to hunt them down ...

Lex Herald-Leader lists the ML odds here

El Angelo said...

Tomcito should be 12-1. Jorge Chavez may try to go in the wrong direction.c

Anonymous said...

Majestic Warrior: America's forgotten Florida Derby winner . . .

Anonymous said...

Told you guys Big Brown.