08/21/2008 11:00PM

Turf denied, Big Brown breezes on Big A dirt


Trainer Rick Dutrow was hoping to bring Big Brown back from his victory earlier this month in the Grade 1 Haskell the same way he went into the race - by working on the turf. But New York Racing Association officials would not cooperate, leaving Dutrow little option but to breeze Big Brown four furlongs in 50.40 seconds over Aqueduct's main track on Friday morning.

With regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin aboard, Big Brown posted fractions of 12.60, 25.00, and 37.40 seconds before galloping out five-eighths in 1:03.60 according to track clockers, who said the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner went easily throughout. The drill was the first official workout for Big Brown since his 1 3/4-length victory over Coal Play in the Haskell.

"He went good," said Dutrow. "I'm happy with what he's doing. I called this morning seeking permission for him to work on the grass and they said no. I'd prefer to keep him on grass every day if I could, to gallop and work. He's all done with dirt racing, and in my opinion he's a better grass horse anyway."

The final two starts of Big Brown's career are tentatively scheduled to come in the Monmouth Park Stakes on turf on Sept. 13, and over the Pro-Ride in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Dutrow said Big Brown would work "every six days" up to his next start.

The New York Racing Association's racing secretary, P.J. Campo, confirmed that Dutrow called his office at Saratoga early Friday seeking permission to work Big Brown over the Aqueduct turf course.

"The grass course at Aqueduct is normally open for training on Thursdays at this time of year, and we need time to plan ahead to accommodate special requests," said Campo. "We're not a training center, and he should have given us a little more notice to plan ahead. Cones have to be put up, and there are lots of things to take care of to open the course. He needs to take care of his business properly and give us some advance notice. Rick's got 40 stalls at Monmouth Park. I'm sure they could accommodate him on their turf course."

Dutrow also said that Benny the Bull, the number one ranked sprinter in the world, remains on target for the Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 30.

"He's doing good," said Dutrow, who worked Benny the Bull five furlongs in 1:00.40 at Aqueduct on Monday. "This will be the most important race for him thus far because if he wins, it will take an unbelievable job by somebody else to beat him out for sprinter of the year."

Dutrow remained uncommitted regarding whether Benny the Bull would compete in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"I'm not crazy about the idea of him running over Polytrack, but he does show up everywhere he runs," said Dutrow.