05/18/2008 12:00AM

Dutrow all smiles on Sunday morning


BALTIMORE - The smile on trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.'s face Sunday morning at the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course said it all. Dutrow had pulled up well from a celebratory party on Saturday night, and Big Brown had also pulled up well following his romp in Saturday's 133rd Preakness Stakes.

"He's bouncing around the shed row. His legs are good and tight. He ate everything," Dutrow said. He then shook his head in wonderment. "Jesus Christ. Oh my God," Dutrow said.

Dutrow was sitting on a chair only yards from the stall Big Brown occupied. It was a quiet morning, with a handful of well wishers coming by. At one point, a family with two small children happened by, and Dutrow told them to let the smallest child, a boy about age 2, give Big Brown a carrot.

As Big Brown carefully took the carrot, and the child stood in wonderment, and the parents marveled at their good fortune, Dutrow just starting laughing. He is clearly having the time of his life.

Big Brown is now 5 for 5 following his 5 1/4-length victory under Kent Desormeaux in the Preakness. In his next start, the June 7 Belmont Stakes, he will attempt to become the sport's 12th Triple Crown winner, and the first since Affirmed in 1978.

"I'm sitting in a good spot right now," Dutrow said. "Every time he's run he's just amazed everyone. In the Kentucky Derby, post 20, five-wide around the first turn, four-wide around the far turn. Yesterday, when Kent let him go, he opened up six lengths in five strides."

After a day to relax at Pimlico on Sunday, Big Brown was scheduled to be sent by van on Monday morning from Pimlico to Belmont Park, where he will reside in preparation for the Belmont Stakes. Dutrow said Big Brown would leave Pimlico at 10 a.m., and would have escorts from state police in Maryland, New Jersey, and, finally, New York en route to Belmont Park.

"We've got it all lined up," he said.

Only a handful of horses are expected to face Big Brown in the Belmont, most notably Casino Drive, who won the Peter Pan Stakes and, most significantly, is out of the mare Better Than Honour, who produced the last two Belmont winners, Jazil and Rags to Riches.

Others expected for the Belmont are Anak Nakal, Denis of Cork, Macho Again, Tale of Ekati, and Tomcito.