06/05/2008 9:59PM

Showdown at Suffolk?


Suffolk Downs has thrown down the gauntlet in the budding race to land a Curlin-Big Brown prizefight this fall by announcing a $5 million package of purses and payments if the two colts stay unbeaten this year and meet in the Mass 'Cap Sept. 20:

[Suffolk Downs press release:]
EAST BOSTON, MA - Suffolk Downs has announced that the purse for this year’s Massachusetts Handicap will be $5 million if Big Brown wins the Triple Crown and both he and 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin remain unbeaten in 2008 and go on to start in the MassCap against one another. The $5 million would include a $1 million participation bonus for each.

The 66th MassCap, scheduled for Saturday, September 20, and contested at 1-1/8 miles, currently carries a purse of $500,000 and is one of five races in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” Classic Division. The additional purse money would be funded by Coastal Development, LLC, a company controlled by Richard T. Fields, the largest shareholder of Suffolk Downs.

“Big Brown and Curlin are regarded as the two best thoroughbreds in the world and racing fans would like nothing more than to see them go head to head,” said Fields. “If they are to square off, we feel that a $5 million purse is a great incentive and what better place than at Suffolk Downs in the city of Boston, the sports capital of the world.”

The purse would be $3 million if Big Brown wins the Triple Crown and both he and Curlin start the race but with one or both horses having suffered a defeat in 2008. The $3 million would include a $500,000 participation bonus for each.

The three other possible venues for such a matchup are the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Sept. 27. the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Oct. 25 and the Clark Handicap at Churchill Nov. 22. Big Brown's connections have said they are pointing for two more races after the Belmont -- the Travers at Saratoga Aug. 23 and the Classic -- but that they are open to other possibilities to meet Curlin, since that colt may skip the Classic because of Santa Anita's synthetic racing surface.

Now that Suffolk has made the first bid, offering as rich a package as the $5 million BC Classic, it will be interesting to see if Belmont or Churchill try to up the ante for their six-digit races. Everything else being equal, a mile and a quarter showdown at Belmont might be the most appealing on purely sporting grounds: it's the distance at which Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby and Curlin won the BC Classic and World Cup, and the track where Curlin won last year's Gold Cup and where Big Brown might win something kind of major on Saturday.

spectacularbid More than 1 year ago
if i remember correctly i can fly into logan and take the blue line directly to the track.
jcp More than 1 year ago
BB 1-9 if Casino doesn't go?
PP More than 1 year ago
If anyone needs a reason to play Tale of Ekati in the Belmont, please consult the G1 Futurity of last year. Please tell me at any point in the stretch if you think this horse was going to get up to win.... Prado's best chance is to hold the rail at all costs. Big Brown will make his wide sweeping move on this wide sweeping Belmont far turn. If the rail is anything but dead on Saturday, this horse has a shot against the Derby and Preakness winner. He might be able to do what his maternal grandfather couldn't do in 1989... He's also 2 for 2 over the Belmont oval. And he's not running with a patched quarter crack...
Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
As much as I enjoy Arlington (will be there tommorrow) I just can't see that happening. (And while both horses are probably able to handle the turf, this is a match up that needs to be held on good old fashioned DIRT!) What wouldn't totally suprise me though, if Curlin is seriously considering the Arc, is a possible start for him in the Million to make sure that he's a superstar on the grass. I'm guessing that the last thing the connections want to do is fly all the way to Paris to get embarassed that late in his career.
hz hackenbush More than 1 year ago
Re: The Woodbine race Friday. I bet a favorite in the south or southwest a year or two ago - Lone Star, perhaps? The jockey dismounted JUST as the gates opened. No refund. Not fun. (Unless you have some other horse, of course.)
Clinton More than 1 year ago
I'm sure everyone here has already heard the news that the connections have discovered something amiss with Casino Drive's rear left hoof. Hopefully all is well...
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Yuwipi: I could not agree more. The Brooklyn today was an amazing display of unanimous ineptitude by multiple jockeys. I was dismayed by Prado's inexplicable insistence on trying to split two horses - on the first turn, with a MILE remaining in the race. Then he added a 1/16th of a mile to the distance racing wide - in a small field. Yikes! But I'm glad I saw your comment. It was then that I realized he was just one of a trio in that race that should file for a copyright and use the video as a training tool on how not to try to win a $200,000 purse. But I'd much rather be able to respect a rider's character than go to a window to back a clown, just to be able to cash a ticket. By that standard, my confidence in Prado's future judgement remains unshaken. Mike: Thanks for the compliment! I don't write professionally. It boiled down to me and Andy Rooney, and he got the nod - which I never did understand, because I'm twice the crank he is. Steve: Good luck w/your Belmont picks; venture confidently. And NO hot dogs.
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Great publicity for Suffolk but never going to happen. Brown will be giving sperm samples by next week, win, or especially, lose.
bochalls More than 1 year ago
Steve, do you think Brown must go from the rail? I am convinced that Da Tara is in here purely to push Brown into a duel. Otherwise, Brown may lead at every pole. Zito has another in the race (Anak Nakal) and he must be trying to ambush Brown early in order to set it up late. Also, Tale Of Ekati may just fall into a dream trip...but I am still with Denis! Ide Rejoice (Bel R7 today) is on my list but doesn't look good in this spot...thoughts?
SamG More than 1 year ago
I`ve been thinking Denis of Cork for a while now but there may not be much pace and if CD is out he`ll take more money.Everybody else is just too slow.BB will likely be overbet and may get beat but by which one of these plodders I have no idea.I`m going to bet the undercard watch BB win and hope Suffolk or someone else pulls off the big match up.