06/07/2008 11:00PM

Big Brown pronounced healthy after exam


ELMONT, N.Y. - The day after Big Brown’s stunning last-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, those associated with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner could offer no concrete excuses for the first loss of his career.

Michael Iavarone, the co-president of the IEAH Stables syndicate that is a co-owner of Big Brown, said Big Brown was physically healthy on Sunday morning.

“We went over him good last night after the races and again this morning,” Iavarone said on a telephone conference call Sunday morning. “We’re sitting here as confused as anybody. He’s sound. He’s just angry.”

Iavarone said the quarter crack on Big Brown’s left front foot, which had a patch affixed to it Friday afternoon, “was ice cold.” He said Big Brown’s throat was examined with an endoscope, and that no blood or mucus was found. He theorized that Big Brown might not have cared for the loose, deep track on the hot, sweltering afternoon. Iavarone also said Big Brown had a loose left hind shoe after the race.

“It’s a question mark at this point,” Iavarone said. “We’re perplexed. No one can figure this one out. We’ll watch him carefully the next couple of days to make sure we didn’t miss anything.”

Big Brown has been housed for the past three weeks at Belmont Park’s Barn 2, but Iavarone said he would return to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.’s main barn at Aqueduct “in the next day or so.”

Iavarone said that “unless something shows up in the next couple of days,” Big Brown would continue with his regular training and be pointed to the Travers Stakes on Aug. 23 at Saratoga.

Big Brown walked around the shed row at Barn 2 on Sunday morning with exercise rider Michelle Nevin. Dutrow took the morning off. He was not at Belmont Park nor at Aqueduct.