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Friday, April 24, 2009

Better Than Big Brown??

Joe Drape writes on The Rail that Michael Iavarone told him, shortly after his IEAH purchased half of I Want Revenge, and in the context of having acknowledged that Big Brown might not have beaten a stellar bunch in the Derby and Preakness: “I think we have a better horse this year."

I'm pretty shocked that he would say such a thing. For one thing, at the time he did, after IEAH desperately bought into I Want Revenge (after the Gotham and before his impressive Wood), the colt was nothing more than a horse with two wins in seven starts, including his Big A freakout, which came after a perfect trip in an extremely weak Grade 3 field behind the perfect foil in Mr. Fantasy. Big Brown was a Derby and Preakness winner who was undefeated in races when actually ridden out to the wire. And, while his opponents may not have been all that much, I'd like to see any of the horses in this year's edition go five wide into the first turn and win easily with a 109 Beyer.

Besides, even if he does really believe that I Want Revenge is a better horse, why would he say anything at this stage to tarnish the reputation of Big Brown at a time when the horse is still very much in the process of being marketed as a stallion with a hefty first-year stud fee?

Perhaps this is going too far, but I also find it rather disrespectful to the sport. Big Brown wasn't just any Derby winner. His was a sensational victory of historic proportions, not only coming in only his 4th career start, but making him the first horse to win from the 20 post since the First Great Depression. Big Brown affirmed that accomplishment with his laughably easy Preakness win. And even if you don't believe that his two post-Belmont wins punctuated his spring campaign with a bold exclamation point, they at least showed class and style worthy of a Derby winner. He had charisma too, attracting crowds and attention. And, as we all know, if healthy, he would have kicked Whats-his-name's butt. I believe he was a great horse, and that he has fascinating potential at stud given his pedigree. I Want Revenge hasn't accomplished even a tiny fraction of what Big Brown did, and it just seems tacky and self-serving at the least to have made such a comparison at that point in time.

- This is the page where you'll find Mike Welsch's workout reports. As in the past, I'm really more interested in who he thinks is not working well than those he finds impressive since the latter generally pertains to most of the field. And Welsch did not at all like the work by General Quarters on Thursday.

Unfortunately, he never really leveled off through the final furlong, coming home his final eighth in a lackluster 13.13 seconds, especially considering the rapid nature of the course. He also shut down a bit quickly during the gallop-out, pulling up six furlongs in 1:16.09.
Also on Thursday, I got a photo of the colt's work from Churchill publicity with permission to use it as long as I credit Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs. So....

Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs

- A reader writes: No mention of those extremely dirty and stupid Avery penalties? Fair enough. Not that I don't have anything to say about that; but people don't come here to read about hockey so I try to keep those comments perfunctory. But as long as you brought it up, those were indeed extremely dirty and, especially, stupid penalties. Sean Avery is not a stupid guy, but he has some severe problems to say the least. While I'm really glad that this commenter watched and otherwise enjoyed the game on the recommendation of this site, I'm sorry he/she had to see that. It's embarrassing. But Avery is also a very talented hockey player; an excellent skater with a good shot, adept in traffic along the boards, and with surprisingly good vision of the ice.....and his return was one of the reasons that the team is in the playoffs at all. So I imagine that you'll see him on the ice again tonight for Game 5. One of these days, maybe he'll chill and learn to manage his anger before he gets his team eliminated or hurts someone and gets thrown out of the sport for a really legitimate reason other than crude comments between games.

I could also go on about the unrelated matter of the unprofessional manner that he's been singled out for penalties by the officials, but.....I know you're not here to read about hockey...


Anonymous said...

Hey Alan, it's about time you started talking Derby. I think this is potentially the deepest Derby field in terms of talent since 1973. As for Sean Avery, hockey is not a nice guy's game, but yes that uppercut elbow he threw was cheap. He's a scumbag no doubt. Bruins will kill the Rangers anyhow, so thanks in advance for knocking off the only team that played the B's tough in the reg season. -JP from SD.

steve in nc said...

I too take issue with Iavarone's comments on Big Brown. Seems like he & Dutrow had the same media training classes: "Say anything as long as it's extreme."

Probably even Iavarone doesn't believe what he says. But to be fair, he might, and he wouldn't be the first Derby owner to be blinded by hope. He also wouldn't be the first horse-owner hailed as a great judge of equine potential, only to be revealed as a temporarily lucky, well-heeled fool in hindsight.

Superfecta said...

Actually, I think it's refreshing that he admitted Big Brown basically beat nothing at any point in his career (although I also wonder what that means as far as marketing the horse as a stallion) - I think I Want Revenge proved a lot more in the Wood Memorial than Big Brown's 20-hole in the Derby.

Alan Mann said...

>>I think I Want Revenge proved a lot more in the Wood Memorial than Big Brown's 20-hole in the Derby.

Lisa, I love your blog, I think you're knowledgeable and articulate and do a great job. But with all due respect and in my own humble opinion, I think that's just absolutely ridiculous!!

SaratogaSpa said...

Big Brown was a great horse-end of story. Any negative comments I hear I attribute to people's dislike of IEAH and Dutrow, and not the horse himself.

Big Brown's record speaks for itself and anyone who saw him in person can clearly recognize the horse was one damm competitive athlete. I Want Revenge is a nice looking horse with tons of upside but any comparison is way, way too premature.

El Angelo said...

Has IWR proven more than Big Brown's entire career? No.

Has IWR done as of today than Big Brown did at this point last year? That's actually debatable. Prior to the Derby, Big Brown had won 3 races (same as IWR), won one G1 stakes (same as IWR), and had looked convincingly dominant in all his races (similar to IWR's dirt efforts).

So yeah, their careers aren't worth comparing yet, but let's discuss this again in a couple of months. I also disagree that Big Brown was this once-in-a-lifetime talent. Yeah he was very good, but c'mon, last year's crop of 3yos was the worst we've seen in 10 years.

Alan Mann said...

New quarter crack for Quality Road.

Anonymous said...

After the Rangers beat the Caps they will beat the Bruins in 5 or 6games.

Rangers and Ducks in finals.

Blue Seats 4 Ever

Oh yeah, Belmont opens next week :)

Alan Mann said...

hey theiman - nice to hear from you. we're actually in the process of trying to book a place to stay in solana for Del Mar the last week in July. Surprised to see that it's slim pickens already, are you guys not having a recession out there? :-)

Anonymous said...

Since both Rags and TG have Big Brown running the fastest Derby in history (Yes, even faster than THAT one), that's quite a statement from Iavarone.

AJ Kreider

Anonymous said...


First off disregard the results of the Friday night game in DC.
Sunday we finish the job. Then we move onto the Orrless Bruins.

Recession definetly is on out here. Everytime I walk thru a mall or shopping center there are more stores out of business than the previous visit. I stopped by the supermarket tonite around 7pm and it is normally jammed, it was empty. Home prices definetly dropped all over the place, and big.

I am not sure why your bookings are hard to get in the DM area. I guess the recession hasnt hit the people who stay in that area during the summer.
I dont normally see ads for rentals down there but if I see anything I will let you know. By the way I am not sure when you are going to be at DM but I am out of the area the first two weeks of DM.


Anonymous said...

Same old delusion. BB would have beat What's His Name ? Time to let it go. I believe that's whats called "opinion," not "fact." Since BB couldn't stay healthy enough to get to the BC Classic for the "big match-up," we'll never know whether on that particular day, on that particular surface, he could have finished ahead of Curlin, but in MY opinion, BB would not have finished ahead of the winner that day. Unlike Curlin, BB only ever beat 2nd level older horses. Beat the best in the world? Nope. Oh, by the way, "What's His Name" was a two time Eclipse HOTY, but I guess he didn't deserve it either time.