- Any racetrack interested in hosting Big Brown - at least one which has a turf course - listen up to owner Michael Iavarone, who told the Form exactly what he's looking for.
"We're pretty adamant on getting that race in or around the 13th [of September]. We're hoping somebody will create a grass race for us, and I bet you somebody does. There'll be offers to get this horse. You saw yesterday the electricity in that place was awesome yesterday." [DRF]I'm sure that Iavarone would also be happy to suggest a name for the race - maybe the IEAH Invitational will do - a purse amount, the time of day it's run, and who should televise it. Look, he's got the goods and he knows it. Monmouth was indeed electric on Sunday, and his horse was the reason why. The fact is that Big Brown is thoroughbred racing right now. That's certainly not to say that he's the best horse in training, no matter what Dutrow has to say. But the buzz is all about Big Brown.
Maybe it's because he's the Derby winner, or all the controversy and conflict within his camp, or the fact that he lost the Belmont so spectacularly (reminded me of the keen interest in Niatross' Meadowlands Pace appearance in 1980, which came after he fell over the rail at Saratoga for his first loss). But for whatever reason, Big Brown is The Big News. Jess Jackson tried to steal the show a bit with his "big" announcement on Curlin's next race; but it was comparatively minor news (though a nice consolation for NYRA for the final weekend for which it struggles to generate interest). And, as was the case when Curlin ran in the Man O'War, I don't really expect that his presence at Saratoga will attract more than a few thousand more fans to the track.
With the announcement, Jess Jackson made his "screw you" to all the fans who voted on his website to keep Curlin on the grass official. What exactly the point of the exercise really was I can't say for sure. However, instead of being seen as a genuine attempt to involve his adoring public, it will go down as yet another reason for racing fans to be cynical.
Dutrow's assertion that Big Brown is "way better" than Curlin is just nonsense of course. But it did show that the trainer may be qualified to work on political campaigns. As with the ubiquitous negative campaign ads, his catchy sound bytes all had an element of truth to them, but would require the kind of nuanced and detailed responses that don't go over well in a 60 second commercial.
"Curlin couldn't win the Derby, we could."
Yeah but....Curlin had to face the likes of Street Sense and Hard Spun, and it was only his 4th start, and his physicality and pedigree are such which are more conducive to later development....
"Curlin couldn't win [the Haskell], we could."
Yeah but....again, Curlin faced better horses, and the tight turns and speed favoring nature of the track don't play in his favor....
"Our horse is undefeated on the grass."
Yeah but....that was a freaking maiden race, and Curlin ran in a Grade 1 stakes for crying out loud....
"Curlin got beat [by] a filly. We haven't."
Yeah but....that was in a mile and a half race against a filly specially bred for the distance, AND WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO TALK CONSIDERING THAT BIG BROWN DIDN'T EVEN FINISH....
Yeah, it gets pretty frustrating, as I'm sure the presumptive Democratic nominee will discover as he has to answer to that kind of crap in the next few months too!
- I had Thou Swell, and picked him here when he graduated in his third attempt at 21-1 last month. But no, even if I had been playing the races at Saratoga on Monday, I don't believe I would have had him even for the minor awards in a G2 stakes! I guess one has to consider nearly any horse that George Weaver sends out here these days. Pace makes the race, and Jean-Luc Samyn almost stole the Nat Mus HoF on the front end with splits of 24.17, 25.21, and 25.39 - 1:14.77 to the three quarters. From there it was a sprint home - 23.89 for the next quarter and 11.56 home. So Wesley (El Prado) had to close in 23.13 and 11.31 (this all according to the Web-based Formulator) to get the half length win over Weaver's 26-1 shot. Deal Making may have been best for Graham Motion, missing the place spot by a nose after being bottled up badly mid-stretch. I wonder sometimes if a horse "liking or not liking the turf" has more to do with its genetic ability to handle the surface (whether manifested physically [i.e. 'turf foot'] or not), or the ability to handle the pace scenario, which differs so dramatically from dirt racing nowadays.
Another horse I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have had was Adriano, who went off at even money! He's another of those horses that people seemed to have a misplaced fascination with around Derby time, even though his own trainer, Graham Motion, acknowledged that he was better suited for the turf. Now, he's 0 for 2 for Mott.
Pletcher had the proverbial 'fastest horse in the world' with first-time starter Paradise Playgirl, a winner on Monday in her debut at 7-10....and guess who's suddenly leading the trainer standings? That's the Toddster's third two-year old debut winner of the meeting, and his seventh winner, from 27 starters, overall. This is a daughter of the hot rookie sire Speightstown, and that's his 5th winner, according to the Stallion Register. Pletcher also had two stakes winners on the grass Sunday, with J'Ray, who'd disappointed in her last two, taking the Matchmaker at Monmouth, and Red Giant winning the Fourstardave at Saratoga. Watch out for Todd!