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Sunday, March 30, 2008

What Can Big Brown Do For Us?

- Well, for one thing, he adds some sizzle to what was becoming a dull Derby picture. As they went around the turn, and Big Brown wasn't all that wide as he glided his way towards the lead, the race was effectively over. Post 12? No problem at all.

Kent Desormeaux, interviewed immediately afterwards on ESPN, appeared to be genuinely stunned by the performance, despite the confidence he'd shown prior. "45? It felt like we went in 50!" It was actually closer to 46, but no matter. (The splits were 22.76, 23.07, 24.25, 25.10, final eighth in 12.98.) Fierce Wind and Elysium Fields chased early but were finished shortly thereafter and finished far back in the pack, 10th and 11th respectively. Both colts had been consistent performers and had wins over the track; I think it's too much of a coincidence that they both just had off days. They had just never encountered anything like this before. Their prior races went to the half in around 48.

Of course, many racing fans aren't too thrilled about the emergence of this colt due to his trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., who had a pretty good day to say the least. Dutrow has flaunted defiance in the face of multiple suspensions, bragging that he vacationed in Brazil during a ban he received last year for violating the terms of a 60 day suspension in 2005, when he was caught having contact with his barn. When he returned from that 2005 suspension, the Albany Times Union asked him flat out whether he'd had such communication, and he replied: "I have to say no….The rules of me taking my suspension say you can't be involved in any part of the business. I have to leave it at that." In retrospect, Dutrow was being flippant in his deceitfulness.

Anyone who doesn't want to see him standing in the winner's circle at Churchill five weeks hence should be paying close attention next Saturday when War Pass runs in the Wood. He was once the Big Brown of this Derby (before Big Brown became the Big Brown of the race), and now he's the main hope of those who don't want to see Dutrow's colt galloping alone on the lead. A resounding comeback by the juvenile champ would inspire visions of a potentially ruinous speed duel, and drastically change the complexion of the Derby just one week after it turned Big Brown.

And it's interesting that the Florida Derby came on the same day as Curlin's World Cup win, as it brings up an interesting comparison. Curlin was equally if not even more impressive than Big Brown in his first three starts, and went into the Derby in start #4. I think we all realized what kind of potential Curlin had, but many of us felt that he just wasn't ready for such a big challenge so early in his career. But while Big Brown will also make just his 4th start in the Derby, I don't think there are many people out there at this particular moment in time who don't think he has a very large shot. Of course, last year we had a deep field of contenders. This year, we've been waiting for someone to come and wow us. So consider us wowed.

9 Comments:

Rackon said...

I don't consider it a given WP and BB will lock up in a speed duel in the Derby - if, in fact, they both make it that far.

BB showed in his last allowance start that he can sit off the pace. Desormeaux can stalk with him if he needs to. That's obviously not an option for WP

Rackon said...

I don't think a speed duel is a given between WP & BB in the Derby, assuming they both make the race. BB rated just off the pace in his allowance win prior to the FD. If Desomeaux want to stalk in the KD I believe BB has showm that he can do it.

Harl said...

I agree. The outside post forced Desormeaux to rocket out of the gate and once BIG BROWN got going, he didn't stop. In a different post scenario, Kent could have let others roll to the front, stalk the pace, and pounce.

In a matter of minutes, the Derby went from lackluster to intriguing with three top candidates all with different running styles. The need-the-lead WAR PASS (who probably won't want any part of BIG BROWN), the aforementioned BIG BROWN who can race off the lead, and the suddenly forgotten PYRO who you know will bring his game late.

Next week we'll see if DENIS THE CORK or any of the West Coast contingent can throw their proverbial hat into the proverbial ring.

alan said...

I dunno guys. That allowance race was a one turn mile with an aberrantly fast second quarter of 22 2/5. You might be right of course, but at a mile and a quarter, I think I'd be surprised if he's rating behind anyone, even War Pass.

davidrex said...

Check the head-on from mid-stretch to finish.(Cal Racing)
Either hes' green(maybe),or hes' sore(they alotted to his feet),or maybe he got very weary.
The Kid pulled him back all the way to the rail,and when he knew the race was his,he relinquished his hold and Brown instantly bore out again.
Sadly ,it reminds of another colt...Bellamy Rd.

Anonymous said...

davidrex,

The head-on is not available at Calracing.com. The tape stops right as BB turns into the stretch.

Anonymous said...

Really douting War Pass will be in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. Unfortunately there is something going on that has yet to be discovered, a la Daaher.

davidrex said...

Damned if they didn't cut the stretch drive of Brown bearing out badly not once, but twice.
First time ,Kent was hitting him right handed but that just made it worse.Then he stopped w/the whip and reined him in all the way to the rail.
Close to finish line the colt vears out strongly and jock looks back to make sure hes' clear of any trouble.
Consipacy Theorists may have the answer, or another re-run company we could verify with...I just don't know of any other free spots.
Curious!!!

alan said...

David - I was able to watch the complete head-on on Cal Racing last night. It was exactly as you describe. The colt definitely has some issues that hopefully relate more to his being green than unsound.

I also wholeheartedly agree with your comparison to Bellamy Road...and the memory of that one's Derby makes me wary of jumping too hard onto the Big Brown bandwagon at this time.