- I found these comments by Dutrow, made to Bill Finley in the NY Times, to be quite interesting:
Dutrow had a similar experience in 2005 with the Kentucky Oaks starter Sis City, who ran a dull fourth as the favorite in the Oaks and had no apparent excuses. After the Oaks, she continued to train and act like a horse who was on top of her game, yet she lost her remaining five starts. Sis City has been in the back of Dutrow’s mind while preparing Big Brown for the Haskell.There are of course many examples of horses going off form and staying there, for reasons physical, mental, or both. I'm sure Dutrow has had his fair share, and I can't help but get the feeling that something about Big Brown seems uneasily familiar to him. This is certainly a far, far cry from the brash confidence he displayed during the Triple Crown.
“When we had Sis City and ran a sub-par race in the Oaks, she never ran another step again, even though she trained great,” Dutrow said. “I pointed her toward big races and she never showed up in any of them again. When something like that happens where horses just doesn’t run their race, and you don’t know why, then you’re concerned that it might happen again.” [NY Times]
The horse seems to be doing just fine. I like the way he's progressed steadily in his AM drills, and Dutrow called the last one "probably the best breeze that he’s had for us." Desormeaux has been instructed to just let the horse run from the start - hallelujah! - and, I would presume, to ride him out to the finish no matter what, under no circumstances stopping to chat with Handride in the picnic area.
Still, I just feel as if something has gone awry. The karma is bad, the tension amongst owner, trainer, and jockey is palpable. If the horse is sensing that, he might not want to leave the paddock. I don't know that this is going to be as easy as his 1-2 morning line odds would suggest. Not making any predictions at this time, but I would not be shocked if he loses.
Could be worth a wheel with the others in the Hambo-Haskell double. Doesn't seem to be much doubt about Deweycheatemnhowe, the first half of that wager, though I guess we thought that about Somebeachsomewhere a couple of weeks ago. Check out Donna Barton Brothers going for a trot on the Hambo favorite, while preparing for NBC's coverage which starts at 2PM Eastern.