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Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Big Brushoff

- That's what Big Brown gave to older graded stakes winners Silver Tree, Shakis and Proudinsky, the latter universally tipped it seems by Bobby Frankel and bet down to 2-1. Faced down late by quality horses for the first time in his career, Big Brown repelled his challengers with disdain and aplomb, never letting Frankel's horse quite draw alongside, and holding him safe while never feeling the whip from Kent Desormeaux. "For me, as a rider, it just felt like he had that horse tow-roped. He was just dragging him home." [USA Today]

The Derby winner was electric in the post parade before a crowd of over 17,000, and raging as he burst straight to the lead and passed the stands with Get Serious to his outside. Good thing for Desormeaux that the challenger blew the turn, allowing him to get Big Brown to relax a bit. It may have been the third quarter of 24.38 seconds, coming after opening frames of 23.46 and 23.37, that allowed him to win with something to spare as he did. Big Brown quickened from that point, going 24.18 and the last furlong in a controlled 12.02. It was in my opinion the most impressive display of raw talent we've seen on a North American racetrack this year.

It seemed clear from the moment he made his majestic appearance in the post parade that the horse has been handled brilliantly, and I think that it's time for any criticism of the connections for skipping the Woodward to stop. If Dutrow was able to get him to flourish so since the Haskell, it's scary to think what any further improvement may bring us on October 25. On that day, I believe that Big Brown will control his own fate in the race for Horse of the Year, whether Curlin shows up or not. So Jess Jackson may want to reconsider his reluctance to do so if he wants another title.


forego is my witness said...

Wow, Alan! Are you kinda gushing here? :D It was a nice win, sure, but made less so impressive by the company BB found in the gate. I will say Kent's nonexistent whipwork down the stretch was great to see. But Proudinsky and Shakis aren't exactly candidates for Turf Horse of the Year.

But I give BB credit for fightin' tough. Still must face Curlin to appease us nonbelievers!

Anonymous said...

Even if they both show up, and the Classic is won by a synthetics specialist, what gets proven? If they don't meet on dirt, then we'll never really know who's better this year.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to bet against Big Brown in the classic.

Anonymous said...

Please explain how barely beating mediocrities like Proudjinsky and Shakis is the "most impressive display of raw talent we've seen on a North American racetrack this year."

El Angelo said...

I thought it was an impressive win, roughly the equivalent of winning a Grade 2 turf race. I do think that given the way the year's panned out that Curlin has to run in the Classic now if he wants HOTY consideration. Sorry.

Wind Gatherer said...

I think the ease with which he dispatched the field is what makes it so impressive. I was willing to forget the horse because of his connections but now I'm in.

If Curlin doesn't show then shame on Jess.

I say bring them both back next year.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a nice win, although your language in describing it is a little amusingly over the top. xD

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a diehard Curlin fan, I loved this race! It was exciting and Big Brown has a vote from me for holding on like he did (what a heart) against darn good horses. I will not say his competitors were not good because I bet against Big Brown with Proudinsky. Great Race!
Big Brown seemed to love grass, i am happy for him. Curlin vs Big Brown? At this point if that actually should happen I would have to take valium to watch the race.

Alan Mann said...

>>Please explain how barely beating mediocrities like Proudjinsky and Shakis is the "most impressive display of raw talent we've seen on a North American racetrack this year."

Just please read what I said: "display of raw talent." I didn't say that it was the best performance or the fastest race. You can still disagree with that and deem it "a little amusingly over the top," but I just wanna be clear (and be sure that you've watched the race and not just looking at the chart). I think that anyone who did see the race has to agree that this was not a mature, seasoned racehorse out there. Why should he be, he's just three and has only raced a relative handful of times. He looked like he was ready to sprint down the stretch quarter horse style the first time around, and seemed plainly green at times in the stretch. Maybe Kent D. didn't whip him because he was just trying to get him striaght? And still, he beat these very nice, though by no means outstanding, horses with relative ease. Older horses, keep in mind, graded stakes winners. He just toyed with them really; Frankel's horse was never getting by. It's no mean feat for any three year old to beat even Grade 2 level older horses at this time of the year. The way he did it - with a touch of arrogance even - hinted to me that there is potential for an unfathomable amount more if he was ever allowed to really mature and learn what it is to be a professional racehorse. Which of course he won't. That's what I meant by "most impressive display of raw talent," and I totally stand by that remark (even though I admit to being a little giddy writing it soon I after I watched the race).

Anonymous said...

I'm not a BB-camp fan by any means but I was sincerely impressed by his effort yesterday. After thinking he blew the race being so rank at first, he settled and then fought off a very solid charge by both Proudjinsky and Shakis. Each is turf horse of graded win merits.

So this was just BB's 2nd turf start and he looked good going gate to wire and showed guts when asked. Yet I still think he walked away with plenty still in the tank.

I simply cannot fault in any horse at all for an effort like his.

ljk said...

A nice win in a listed stakes over three grade 2 quality horses.

Pull the Pocket said...

I thought the colt raced super. I agree with Kent's assessment, and was amazed at how cool he was riding him. He was in no peril of losing that race, although a couple times in the lane he looked soundly beaten. Class ride and a class horse. Good racing entertainment, imo.

Anonymous said...

I have not seen the race and did not see the chart when I read your account, but from the tone of it presumed he won by ten lengths.

Reading the chart, it seems he inherited an easy lead on a softish turf course with tight turns that often favors speed, and managed to hold of borderline G2 types in the stretch.

Perhaps when i see the video I will be impressed and see the raw talent.

But purely from the chart he appears to be an ok turf horse that I cant wait to bet against at 10f in the classic, assuming there is at least one legit speed type entered to entertain him on the front end.

What I am sure of this race in no way adds to his credentials for horse of the year, or even 3yo of the year.

I will be betting Casino Drive in the Classic, assuming Jackson does not flip flop and decide to run Curlin.

Anonymous said...

Big Brown, the Joe Biden of 3 YO's! Neither gets any respect but is it any wonder why? /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Mr Alan Perfect DOES NOT have any part of Rap Tale it is owned by a friend of his who loves to get the free press. Alan is lucky to be able to make 2$ bets!
sorry but you wanted to have a public Blog. So tell the truth. Vinnie in NJ

SaratogaSpa said...

Show up, Win, end of story, turn out the lights. Champions win, BB won.

El Angelo said...

If Big Brown is the Joe Biden of 3yos, then Court Vision must be the Sarah Palin of 3yos: high on hype and incredibly light on substance, talent and accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

People seem to be interpreting this race in wildly different ways (see Crist's blog). My view was he won against his elders, but didn't dominate them; it's just a win against good second tier stakes turfers. I would very much like to see what this horse could do if he was allowed to mature and continue running, as his skill has yet to catch up to his talent.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if BB raced on steroids yesterday?

Brett said...

Which horse is McCain and Obama?

Obama = Curlin?

McCain = Evening Attire?

Hillary = Zenyatta? Never gets a chance versus the men due to her connections (party)????

Unknown said...

Kent did go to the whip, Alan. There's at least three times in the stretch that he slaps the colt's shoulder with it while "shaking him up"; it isn't obvious since it stays in front of the saddle.

But I agree it was an impressive showing against proven grass runners, and ups his chances of performing well on the SA synth.

Erin said...

I enjoyed this post, it is fitting of the performance. Nice job Alan.

Alan Mann said...

>>Mr Alan Perfect DOES NOT have any part of Rap Tale it is owned by a friend of his who loves to get the free press. Alan is lucky to be able to make 2$ bets!

sorry but you wanted to have a public Blog. So tell the truth. Vinnie in NJ

You can believe whatever the fuck you'd like to.

Alan Mann said...

>>If Big Brown is the Joe Biden of 3yos, then Court Vision must be the Sarah Palin of 3yos: high on hype and incredibly light on substance, talent and accomplishments.

Uh oh El Angelo....sounds like you just called Sarah Palin a horse. Tsk, tsk, how sexist of you!

Anonymous said...

They should run the match race on Turf, Curlin would kick his butt. As Crist puts it, Curlin ran between two proven G1 quality animals, Brown beat a field that is 0-15 lifetime in G1 races by a neck. Both would be no shot outsiders in a race like the ARC.

And for the record, my continued dissing of Brown has nothing to do with his connections, as has been implied.

I believe he is the second best 3yo colt in a bad crop of colts, nothing more, and would have a record like Any Given Saturdays if he had not been so fortunate to have been born a year later.

All of the top horses in this country seem to have connections we can root against, which unfortunately appears to be the current state of the sport.

Anonymous said...

If a match up between Big Brown and Curlin never takes place maybe Big Brown would return for a 4 year old turf/poly campaign. Greed will do strange things and what better way of showing off Big Brown's "greatness" than to have him surpass Cigar's/Curlin's lifetime earning records.

Anonymous said...

If we're comparing the field Curlin faced on the turf with the field Big Brown faced, let's try to be a bit objective.

RED ROCKS, despite his less than stellar lifetime record, probably gets the nod as the best horse either of them faced on the weeds. Note, he absolutely flattened Curlin.

But then who did Curlin beat? BETTER TALK NOW is 9 years old and has done nothing resembling a G1 horse in 2008. He's so clearly done as a top class race horse.

I would submit that a 5 year old PROUDINSKY on a perfect form pattern going 9 panels was much more dangerous than BETTER TALK NOW. So was SHAKIS for that matter, coming off a sharp graded stakes victory.

So Big Brown defeated much more on the turf than Curlin ever did. Advantage: Big Brown.

He's a 4 time G1 winner. He's 7 for 8 lifetime. He's proven on the dirt and the turf. He won the Derby for fun out of the 20 hole. He went sub 46 in the Florida Derby and won easily. He went out very fast in a turf race and held off some good turfers. BIG BROWN SUCKS!!!!!!

-JP from MA.

Anonymous said...

OK I'll bite.

DRF Watchmaker list, Red Rocks, Curlin and Better Talk Now are ranked 1,3, and 6 respectively.

Proudinsky, nowhere.

Better Talk Now would be 6-5 vs. Proudinskly and Shakis at 10f.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, in 2008 there have been 11 Beyer figs recorded over one mile on the dirt that are superior to Big Browns top.

The only male to score higher than Curlin is running this weekend in Mass Cap, Commentator.

All in good fun, but there certainly are arguments both ways.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but bypassing Curlin and older horses he could potentially have been facing in the Classic in favor of a Grade II (if one is generous) field of horses who may, or may not, be worthy of a Breeders Cup Mile entry will never insulate Big Brown from criticism for skipping the Woodward. Did BB win? Yes. Impressively? Tough to say, especially when you consider his turf pedigree versus the possible talent of the horses he faced and the fact that none of them will run back on dirt at a mile and a quarter.

But I don't care about the fact that he won. That's nice for him, and no one denies just how good a 3YO he is. It's racing in a made-for-Monmouth grass race over facing older dirt horses at a distance he's been exceptional at that makes me think he's the one still avoiding a tougher test. We've known all along where Curlin was going to race, and by that I mean on dirt at a classic distance and more than likely in New York (did anyone honestly believe that he'd go elsewhere for, say, the MassCap?). I can understand skipping the Gold Cup to avoid meeting Curlin before the big day, but I refuse to believe he couldn't have come back in the Woodward and truly and definitively tested his mettle. That's on IEAH, and should BB lose the Classic (and BTW, whether or not Curlin shows up there's still going to be a full field of challengers, including Casino Drive, that shouldn't ever be forgotten about) opting for a turf listed stakes over a graded dirt race with a heftier field that could test him honestly will be the specific item people will point at for an explanation.