06/03/2008 4:22PM

Belmont Press Conference


It ain't bragging if you got the muscle to back it up.  With two-thirds of the Triple Crown tucked safely away in the record books, and Big Brown on the cusp of racing immortality, Richard Dutrow Jr.'s boasts have thus far proven prophetic.  At today's Belmont Stakes Media Luncheon at the ESPN Zone in Times Square, Dutrow remained true to himself. 
When asked about Casino Drive, the probable second choice in the Belmont wagering, Dutrow didn't miss a beat.

"There's no way Casino Drive can beat Big Brown." 

Clad in a red baseball cap, yellow polo shirt, and jeans, Dutrow continued to exude the Muhammad Ali-like confidence that has public opinion of the trainer split right down the middle.  When asked by Master of Ceremonies Randy Moss if the Belmont was still a "foregone conclusion," Dutrow replied instantaneously and with supreme confidence. 


Big Brown, plagued by a quarter-crack since winning the Preakness in effortless fashion, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.03 this morning over the Belmont main track, a move that pleased Dutrow. 

"He's doing good, very good. I couldn't be happier with this horse right now.  I see a perfect horse.  He looks better than when he went to the Derby.  He's on top of his game."

When asked about the quarter crack, Dutrow mentioned that the missed track time the injury caused "might have helped."

"He was able to take a couple of days off," said Dutrow, who also noted that Big Brown burned his heels in the Preakness.  Big Brown, on the other hand, wasn't so happy about the break.

"He was pissed off," said Dutrow.

While Big Brown may not have scared away all comers for the Belmont, only one other horse was represented at the press conference.  Terry Finley, founder and President of West Point Thoroughbreds, made a case for his Macho Again, the Preakness runner-up. 

"We're a little concerned about three races in six weeks.  I think we have a shot.  They don't give the trophy out until after the race.  I'd love to win it, but if I don't, I'd love to run second, and we'll have a Triple Crown winner."

Big Brown's jockey, Kent Desormeaux, has been in this position before.  Ten years ago, Real Quiet and Desormeaux were heading for the Triple Crown only to be denied by the dirtiest of noses.  Throughout the afternoon, the restaurant replayed past runnings of the "Test of the Champion," and Desormeaux looked up from his chicken finger lunch to watch the 1998 renewal.  As Real Quiet opened up a huge lead in upper stretch, Desormeaux looked down at his plate only to raise his eyes back to the screen as Victory Gallop drove alongside Real Quiet in the shadow of the wire.

Turning to Dutrow, Desormeaux exclaimed, "That was the only time he was in front of me."

At the dais, Desormeaux admitted he learned something from Real Quiet's narrow defeat.  "I learned a valuable lesson.  Asking Real Quiet for his speed that soon was unnecessary." 

Getting back to Big Brown, Desormeaux talked about his mount's strongest assets.  "He's so attentive to my needs.  He has a great mind.  He has so many different gears."

Unlike Dutrow, Desormeaux feels that Casino Drive is the horse to beat.

"I know we're going to be together turning for home."

Now, the time for talking is done.  In four days time, we'll find out if Big Brown is the chosen one, the first horse in thirty years, since the great Affirmed in 1978, to win the elusive Triple Crown.  We'll find out if the quarter crack negatively affects his performance, or if the distance is too demanding, or if he is able to sustain his good form throughout the grueling grind of the Triple Crown series, or if he can withstand multiple challenges from different opponents.  In short, we'll find out if he can overcome adversity the way all the great champions of the past shooed away their obstacles.  In four days time, there will either be a coronation or a deflation.

Dutrow doesn't feel his statements will jinx his horse.

"The horse has such good karma around him."


Swamped for now so will keep today's blog short.  Be back tomorrow with more.



Theodore Gonzalez More than 1 year ago
Know i should be over it by now however, tough to accept how diluted the sport of Kings has become. "Belmont Fakes": Reasons why Jockey and ill prepaired horse fit the bill. Kent Desormeaux got it wrong; no reason to ease Big Brown. The horse was not in distress nor was he lame. He did not suddenly drop out of contention like a horse taking a bad step does, but instead dropped back gradually after being asked to run. Pull up a potential champion because he got tired?; Derby and Preakness winners don’t fold up the tent in the Belmont unless injured. Big Brown resisted being pulled up, he wanted to finish the race as would any horse talented enough to be the leading candidate for three year old champion. He should have been allowed to gallop home after giving it his all and being the sole highlight of what until now has been a dismal three year old crop. It appears as if both jockey and trainer bought in to the illusion of invincibility based on a handful of good races against very ordinary competition. He was not a two year old champion nor was he battle tested. He looked brilliant in a few races in which based on his schooling and running style, played out ideally for him. Post race scoping attest to the fact that he was physically sound. What occured is fairly simple and common place.He faltered in the grips of the grueling final quarter mile of Belmont’s unique mile and a half oval as so many before him have. The stretch at Belmont does one thing. It filters the genuine and unique from pretenders in the Triple Crown game. Mercifully all the comparisons of Big Brown with the likes of Affirmed, Seattle Slew, and heavens forbid Secretariat abruptly end. Comparisons that never should have been made considering that these Triple Crown winners were all two year old champions retaining their form one year to the next. They were experienced, competitively raced, and well tested. The image of Big Brown being pulled up in the jaws of defeat begs for memories of a different era. When Spectacular Bid exhausted from numerous bad trips, having stepped on a safety pin, and the recipient of a horrendous ride by an inexperienced jockey; hopelessly defeated and tired in the stretch held on to finish third. Or when Bold Forbes, essentially a sprinter, out of gas at the top of the stretch held on to win by a nose. Still there are more recent memories of Touch Gold, despite running on two sore feet ran down and ruined Silver Charms Triple Crown bid. Did i mention that Big Brown was not injected with a steroid as was his routine on the 15th of each month. This is a much broader issue bastardizing the royal blood of the "Sport of Kings" What is clear is that a very long time ago, in what has proven to be galaxies away, thoroughbred racing produced true champions. This was done without the “aid” of medications and steroids. It was done by breeding for longevity and not instant results. Restoring this breeding and training ethic will be the supremme manner in which to honor the gallant history of this majestic breed of equines we love to watch compete. C 09 Jun 2008 Theodore Gonzalez RR5 Bx. 5415 Saylorsburg, P.A. 18353 (570) 236-3820 992-7671
StarBucks More than 1 year ago
This will be the weakest most pathetic TC winner in decades, a horse who has not been required to face a single legitimate G1 colt this year because of the weakness of this sad class of sloooooooow horses. If Big Brown wins by 5 or 10 so what???? Any decent G1 horse should be able to beat these other trash horses by 5-10 lengths. Most of these garbage horses have never even run a 100 beyer in any race during their lives. Racing has become a joke in the USA. LOL
Starbucks More than 1 year ago
The pretender was exposed. The 100 fig in the Preakness was very telling. Bigtime hype and bigtime overated beating up on soft fields.
StarBucks More than 1 year ago
Here's a little look into how sad the competition is today and a good measure of how sad it has been to date. These are some of the "accomplishments" of big Brownstains foes today: a) GuadalCanal: career high beyer of 82 in a MSWT tufr race b) Macho Again: never beyered above 100, his highest speed fig of 99 was earned in a sprint, his best route fig is a 92 c) Denis of Cork: never beyered above 97, in any race in his life d_) Casino Drive: scratched e) Da Tara: never beyered above a 92, ever f) Tale of Ektati: never beyered above 95 and that was in a sprint as a 2 year old g) Anal Nakalknocker: never beyered above 87 in any race h) Readys Echo: never beyered above a 92 i) Icibad Crane: never beyered above a 91 Can anyone ever recall such a completely classless and slooooow gorup of 3 year olds at this time of year???? Most of these pretenders shouldn't even be running in g3's let alone a G1. This years class is a joke, and to believe different is to simply live in some fantasy make believe world because you 'need to imagine" that Big Brown is some great horse. Well here's a little newsflash: if this horse actually faces Curlin this year, he will royally have his overated head handed to him on a platter by that one. Most overated TC pursuit in 50 years, beating complete garbage filled fields and perhaps the weakest overall class of 3 yr olds we have witnessed in maybe 100 years.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Larry Thiel... Oh yes, I get IT, and I'll be, well more than 45 this year... We have many Bloggers here that will love to handicap, and discuss any/ and all aspects of racing. But, Some of us watch just for the pleasure of the sport, and to learn a few things along the way. So, I am a Big Brown fan. I have never seen a Triple Crown Winner. I came into this sport just after Affirmed and Alydar... So do I want to see this happen...YES! Johnnyz posted on an earlier thread (in short) that this horse (BB) just has done nothing wrong, and has overcome so much (history/stats) in his five race career. So dispite hoof, etc.. I just want to sit back and enjoy what the day will unfold. And I hope that is a TRIPLE CROWN WINNER. Win, lose , or whatever...we all win! .................... Laura Thank you for the note, and for being the "A" Team for Steve T. (is that Madame A?) Sorry I won't be able to attend...dang! again, I miss out on an evening of Horses and Cocktails! ...This group could be a takeoff of Sex and the City..II, Love at the Racetrack! ............. SR Vegas
Annie More than 1 year ago
C That's why I threw those Tomlinson ratings out there because I wanted to know people's opinions on them. And, you are right, I have absolutely no idea how they were formulated which is why I wanted to know if they are of any value. I have, however, had some luck with the Tomlinson "Wet" ratings.
johnnyz More than 1 year ago
James Mc, I along with many others will miss Lauren Stich's BLM analysis. I know her feelings on the BLM, but won't post as she writes selections for another racing publication that people pay for. I feel you are absolutely right with your thoughts on Tale Of Ekati. He is a toss for me along with 2/3 other obvious ones. While winning the Wood, he came home in a VERY slow time. Many are still backing him from the pace that War Pass set, well I'm not. The 1/2 went in 46 flat, fast but not off the radar, 6F time was 1:11.2, Big Brown ran 6F @ the slow GP track in the Fla. Derby in 1:10 flat. Worse yet the mile time in the Wood, was 1:38.2, BB's time mile time in the Fla. Derby was 1:35 Flat! Then TOE ran the last 1/8th in 13.9, with raw time for the 9F, of 1:52.1! Doesn't appear to me one that can think of performing at a high level for 12F. Lawduck07, (Dr Duck) maybe I see humor in a differnt light than most, but that 8:43 post still has me laughing. Dr Ho-zure, opps I mean Dr. Hozer, welcome to Dan's blog. I don't think you endeared yourself with that Jr High School statement. I am also high on Big Brown, lets see if I can accomplish what, I think you were trying to state, in a more diplomatic way, Big Brown's Mdn win @ Sar, 1 1/16 T, was ran in a very good time of 1:40.1. He won by 11 1/4L. Very few horse's win Mdn races on turf by 11 lengths, or in that good of time. BB's 2nd was @ GP a 1M 41K ALW. BB won this one by 5L in a raw time of 1:35.3, and a Bris spd of 106. Was his 2nd sign of greatness, as this one was moved off the grass to the main track. Without the act of mother nature, BB may have never been considered for the TC trail. BB's 3rd race The FlaDerby G-1, all BB did her was win from the 12 post, which no horse had been able to accomplish since track reconfiguration in 2005. Just won by 5L, and basically under a hand ride. BB's 4th Race, The KyDerby G-1, all he did her was win America's most prestigious race from post 20, which in the 134 years of running, only one other had done. More impressive was the fact he wasn't even breathing hard after the gallop out. I think BB's biggest concern after the race, was the same as most race fans, Eight Belles was lying on the track that she had just ran the race of her life on! Won by 5L, and made it look EASY! 5th Race, The Preakness-G-1, BB, didn't break well. Had to rate behind and, inside of others, something new for him. Still no problem, put himself in a good position and, turning for home showed an explosive turn of foot that can't be trained, just something some are born with! My point in all this is, if you haven't by now realized BB is a really gifted horse, you probably never will. Will he win Saturday? I don't know. What I do know he by far the most talented horse in the field! Tinky, nice post last night on Casino Drive. Articulate, and well thought out. I agree with many thoughts, just not all of them. One of your thoughts in tonights post that I would like to hear elaboration on is and I will quote, "In fact, I'll go so far as to say that CD's work was more encouraging than BB's "fast" breeze." One, have you seen BB's 5F work? If you haven't here is a link where you can watch most of it: http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/ The direct link to the video wouldn't paste, but just go down the left side and click videos for 6/3. This is how I see it, and by all means if you see it differently than I do, please post. I'll be brief, 1, BB while not breezing for sometime appears to really be running at ease. 2nd'ly Michelle Nevin (watch her hands) really has a hold on Big Brown, he is full of himself! Last, toward the last of the workout, watch when Michelle relaxes her hands so slightly, BB lengthens his stride in such quick motion it IMO is just to good to be true. Also watch him entering the stretch how quick, and almost unoticeable he changes leads. What in the world could make you make the statement that Cd's work(s) was more encouraging? Enquiring minds want to know.
BigEasyBig Chok More than 1 year ago
Chicago Gerry, I agree with Stephen Taylor on the regression a horse makes concerning his second start after his first in this country. Interesting that 1 of the theories I use when handicapping with some of the sheets is the regression or "bounce" most 3 yr olds make after a huge first effort and this was just discussed by one of the authors of the thorographs. Obviously BB did not read that nor subscribe to that particular bit of capping info but I very much believe it will apply to CD in the Belmont. If Tinky's observations are on the money, I also think BB is beatable but that is based on reading our sheets and it has not worked to beat him yet. Looks like I will play DOC on top of several and will save with TOE in some other exotics and if BB wins I get to see a triple crown winner and celebrate for the Louisiana connection in the saddle. BigEasyBigChok
Arazi More than 1 year ago
The Belmont Stakes shall not produce the race between Big Brown and Casino Drive similar to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for democratic nomination. Kent gotta be worried about Casino Drive and Edgar ought to make sure Big Brown doesn't slip away and while both battling each other --- and MIGHT offsetting other's chance --- something crazy is quite possible. While the two big guys fight it out, the small guy shall wait and throw the final punch. Just another way to look at it ;)
Alan More than 1 year ago
C, Are you in a bad mood today?? The work week is almost over and the late Friday BEL card is very interesting!! If I truly had to understand every factor that I use in my everyday life (including handicapping), I too would be locked up in my bedroom...forever! No one really understands why my MS medication, Copaxone, works - should I stop taking it? Perhaps, just perhaps, people use these "pieces of a puzzle" or "TOOL garbage" because it works for them? That is our goal, isn't it...to win money? If a horseplayer happens to have a positive ROI based on numerology, let's say they are combining the post position number with a horse's birthdate, should they stop doing it (and making money) just because they don't understand why it works??