09/02/2008 11:00PM

Big Brown works on Aqueduct turf


On the first anniversary of his smashing career debut on turf, Big Brown was back on the grass again Wednesday, working six furlongs in 1:15.68 over a firm Aqueduct turf course. Big Brown, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell Invitational winner, is scheduled to make his next start in the $500,000 Monmouth Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Monmouth Park’s turf course on Sept. 13.

Regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin was up for Wednesday’s drill around the dogs, meaning Big Brown had to work well out in the middle of the course. Aqueduct clockers timed him in fractions of 13.61 seconds, 24.93, 37.01, 51.05, and 1:02.91, meaning he went his last quarter in 24.63 seconds.

“I loved it,” trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said of the move. “It was as good as you’d ever want to see; exactly what I was hoping for, every inch of it. It’s all very, very good with him. We’re all very, very excited to watch him run.”

Big Brown has not raced on the turf since he won his career debut over a firm Saratoga course on Sept. 3, 2007. The connections are using the Monmouth Stakes as a way for Big Brown to transition from dirt to the synthetic surface at Santa Anita, where the Breeders’ Cup Classic will be run on Oct. 25. It is a widely held belief that synthetic tracks suit horses who like the grass.

Dutrow plans one more work for Big Brown next week before shipping to Monmouth right on top of the race. It is unclear who will face Big Brown in the Monmouth Stakes, though trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Wednesday that he is pointing two-time Bernard Baruch winner Shakis to that race. Trainer Bobby Frankel is also planning on running Proudinsky, winner of the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial at Fair Grounds.