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Belmont GDT: Big Brown's Quest for History

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  • Belmont GDT: Big Brown's Quest for History

    And his trainer starts things off by bad mouthing the connections of Smarty Jones and Casino Drive.....

    Trainer Rick Dutrow opens mouth, sounds like Hillary Clinton

    BY JERRY BOSSERT
    DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

    Friday, May 30th 2008, 1:07 AM

    With Big Brown returning to prime form, Rick Dutrow Jr.'s mouth is back in high gear.

    On a conference call Thursday, the trainer was asked if he felt other jockeys might work together to deny Big Brown the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, as some believed happened to Stewart Elliott and Smarty Jones in 2004.

    In his response, Dutrow sounded a bit like a noted presidential candidate who recently had to apologize after putting her foot in her mouth.

    "This is such a huge race," said the 48-year-old trainer. "If someone did something like that they might get assassinated after the race. I can't imagine that anyone would go do something stupid just to keep us from winning the race. I don't think anyone is going to go out of their way to do something to Big Brown during the race. I can't imagine it."

    Dutrow also wasn't kind to Elliott and Smarty Jones' trainer John Servis.

    "I think maybe the way they trained that horse (Smarty Jones) going up to the Belmont had a lot with him getting beat," Dutrow said. "I was at my house and they showed a flash where Smarty Jones was breezing for the Belmont and he did it at Philadelphia Park on a sloppy, sealed track. It just blew my mind away. I could not imagine anyone would do that with a horse, especially going for the Triple Crown."

    Smarty Jones never had an official work for the Belmont Stakes over such a track, according to his past performances, but the colt may have galloped over one leading up to the race.

    "If it wasn't to what Rick wanted, I did the best that I could do," Servis said yesterday. "Rick has got a lot on his mind these days. Especially with the quarter crack and all. He's under a lot of pressure, and a lot of times we say things we don't mean. I'm taking it with a grain of salt."

    Dutrow was also critical of Elliott's ride in the Preakness. Smarty Jones won the second leg of the Triple Crown by a record 111/2 lengths.

    "I also feel he (Elliott) did not need to win the way he did in the Preakness to get to the Belmont," Dutrow continued. "Our jockey (Kent Desormeaux) grabbed a hold (of Big Brown) at the eighth-pole to have something left.

    "The connections of Smarty Jones were not smart in order to get the job done," Dutrow said. "They should have played it a lot safer."

    Longshot Birdstone caught Smarty Jones in deep stretch and went on to post a one-length win in the Belmont Stakes, preventing a 12th Triple Crown winner.

    Big Brown galloped a mile-and-a-half Thursday at Belmont under exercise rider Michelle Nevin and continues to progress since being treated for a quarter crack on Monday morning.

    "Today is the best we have seen him," said hoof specialist Ian McKinlay. "We're very delighted with the way everything is going. I don't think the jockeys and trainers would care if we won the Triple Crown. Why would they go out of their way to look not so good in the racing game? I just don't see it happening."

    McKinlay hasn't patched the affected area yet, but said he probably will do it by Monday.

    "We'll continue to let it heal naturally," Dutrow said. "We've got time."

    The never bashful Dutrow also changed his mind about the cold exacta he predicted of Big Brown over Casino Drive.

    "If I were you guys, I would put others underneath," Dutrow said. "This Japanese horse (Casino Drive) has so much to prove and I don't know if he is on top of his game training here. I would not depend on that horse being second."

    When asked for his personal report on Casino Drive, Dutrow knocked the colt, who comes from the dam (Better Than Honour) of the last two Belmont winners - Jazil and Rags to Riches.

    "I got a chance to see him coming on the track when we were going off. Someone pointed out the horse to me and I watched him run and saw him in person. He can't beat Big Brown," Dutrow said. "There's no way in the world he can beat Big Brown. I'm not worried about that horse anymore. I heard the clockers didn't understand what the hell they were trying to do with the horse. He is another horse in the race. Big Brown is going to have to school him like he has every other horse he has ever run against. It's going to be simple."

    Nobutaka Tada, the racing manager for Casino Drive, said, "Well that is his idea. I have no comment on what he thinks. My job is to keep my horse happy every day.

    "It sounds like he knows our horse better than we do."
    Last edited by tallahassee blues fan; 06-01-2008, 09:53 PM.
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

  • #2
    Dutrow's got it all figured out.

    Couple more shots of roids, and he should be all set.
    From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.

    For more than 20 years I have endeavored-indeed, I have struggled-along with a majority of this Court, to develop procedural & substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor.


    I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.

    The path the Court has chosen lessens us all. I dissent.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ppg shg View Post
      Dutrow's got it all figured out.

      Couple more shots of roids, and he should be all set.
      I think he's giving them to himself, as fast as his mouth is going.

      What the hell. I kind of like it when a sports guy shoots his mouth off. No matter what happens, it'll be entertaining to watch his reaction Saturday.
      "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
      --Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by kennyboyerfan View Post
        I think he's giving them to himself, as fast as his mouth is going.
        I'm pretty sure that's the coke.
        From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.

        For more than 20 years I have endeavored-indeed, I have struggled-along with a majority of this Court, to develop procedural & substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor.


        I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.

        The path the Court has chosen lessens us all. I dissent.

        Comment


        • #5
          Just in case of a fatal breakdown, I hope they extracted a few "samples" from Big Brown, although that's a thankless job...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jack Daniels View Post
            Just in case of a fatal breakdown, I hope they extracted a few "samples" from Big Brown, although that's a thankless job...
            Can't race a horse that was born via in vitro. Otherwise Barbaro would've been off to the glue factory within days.

            Comment


            • #7
              Early odds from BoDog -

              Big Brown 1-3
              Casino Drive 7-2
              Denis of Cork 10-1
              Tale of Ekati 20-1
              Behindatthebar 25-1
              Anak Nakal 40-1
              Macho Again 40-1
              Readys Echo 40-1
              Icabad Crane 50-1
              Mint Lane 50-1
              Spark Candle 50-1
              Tomcito 50-1

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jeffro View Post
                Can't race a horse that was born via in vitro. Otherwise Barbaro would've been off to the glue factory within days.

                Why is that?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jeffro View Post
                  Early odds from BoDog -

                  Big Brown 1-3
                  Casino Drive 7-2
                  Denis of Cork 10-1
                  Tale of Ekati 20-1
                  Behindatthebar 25-1
                  Anak Nakal 40-1
                  Macho Again 40-1
                  Readys Echo 40-1
                  Icabad Crane 50-1
                  Mint Lane 50-1
                  Spark Candle 50-1
                  Tomcito 50-1
                  It'll be Big Brown and Behindatthebar for the Alliterative Exacta.
                  "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
                  --Albert Einstein

                  Comment


                  • #10


                    Wise guy talk is that Casino Drive looks like a sore horse.
                    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tallahassee blues fan View Post


                      Wise guy talk is that Casino Drive looks like a sore horse.
                      Great. The one horse that has a hope of testing BB isn't sound. Forget the weight handicap. The only way this race is competitive is if they make Big Brown run backwards.
                      "I am for truth no matter who says it. I am for justice no matter who it is for or against."...Malcom X

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Let me refute my own rumor. Randy says Casino Drive looks great and he's actually seen him on the track.
                        June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jack Daniels View Post
                          Why is that?
                          Hell if I know.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tuesday, June 3, 2008
                            Big Brown's pursuit a sign of the times


                            By Jeremy Plonk
                            Special to ESPN.com

                            A mixed martial arts bruiser adorns the cover of ESPN The Magazine's latest issue, just days prior to Big Brown's run at the Belmont Stakes. And now, as Belmont Week opens, the internet rage focuses on whether or not Kimbo Slice's nationally televised beat-down of James Thompson was rigged.

                            And people wonder why in the world I crave the warm-and-fuzzy stories of horses like Smarty Jones.

                            Four years ago this week, it was Smarty Jones adorning that mag's cover, the very same week Sports Illustrated also emblazoned the super chestnut on its front page with the headline: "Why Everybody Loves Smarty Jones: The Horse from the Wrong Side of the Tracks Looks Fit for a Triple Crown." You may recall, more than 8,500 well-wishers packed into Philadelphia Park to watch Smarty Jones merely exercise before heading off to the Belmont.

                            For the record, SI opted for Josh Hamilton as this week's coverboy, featuring a recovering drug and alcohol abuser in pursuit of baseball's Triple Crown -- four months before the end of the season.

                            So pardon me again for the emptiness felt for Big Brown's pursuit of history -- it looks like there's plenty of company.

                            The difference is, as a racing industry insider and someone who has made most of my adult living in and around the game, I'm not supposed to say it. If you don't believe me, you should see my E-mail in-box. The stack of people who've voiced to me that they can't warm up to Big Brown's attempt includes past and present trainers, owners, ex-riders and spouses of all, not to mention high-ranking industry officials who can't say it aloud and countless fans at varying levels of frustration with a game trying to outrun its own demons.

                            In the spirit of fairness, there certainly is a camp staunchly supporting Big Brown. No doubt, many thirst for historic happenings. The younger fans of the game vociferously have blogged that their day in the Triple Crown sun has finally come. Meanwhile, many others have chosen to separate their opinions of the shady human characters surrounding Big Brown and the immensely talented horse himself. And many others choose to admit racing's drug culture is flawed and Big Brown merely is just part of it -- racing on a jaded, albeit level playing field. (Though I've always had a real problem when "everyone cheats" becomes your best defense in any walk of life.)

                            And, in continuance of the fairness thread and not to pounce solely on Big Brown's connections, even the feel-good Smarty Party had Belmont Week stories of jockey Stewart Elliott's alcohol-induced history. You may recall he nearly beat a man to death with a pool cue before going into rehab. In this era, there's no running from the police blotter when it comes to today's sports society.

                            But there's simply no feel-good story for me surrounding Big Brown, just manufactured manure from the publicity machine.

                            Few can vouch if Rick Dutrow parties as hard today as he ever did, but his reputation remains legendary and he admitted Derby Week that the hardest thing still for him to do is make it to the barn every morning because he likes to stay out late with his friends.

                            So, this is not a story of overcoming personal demons. Stop those presses.

                            The violins and mood-music features for Dutrow's former life at the barn at Aqueduct is stomach-turning; Dutrow was never homeless. He had the same roof over his head that thousands of grooms have had throughout horse racing history -- a tack room with a cot. To boot, it was free; the racetrack doesn't charge stall rent. Homeless is a war veteran whose country turns its medical backs on him and he winds up living on a street or in an empty water pipe.

                            Are we supposed to feel sorry for a high-school dropout who had every chance to be a success, raised by one of Maryland's top trainers who basically threw him out on the street and told those around him his son would wind up in the penitentiary or Hall of Fame? To Dutrow's credit, he does not ask for sympathy here and admits he would do it all again to get to where he's at.

                            While Dutrow's lack of respect for the competition can rub you the wrong way, it also can be taken as pure confidence. That's in the eye of the beholder, admittedly. But his lack of respect for fellow horsemen, such as John Servis, and critical comments as to the way they have trained their horses is downright blasphemy. And it's impossible to trust and believe in your heart of hearts that a trainer who spends every working moment around his horses has no idea the therapeutic or detrimental effects anabolic steroids has on his horses, but says he simply uses them because they are legal and his vet gives the thumbs up.

                            Meanwhile, the biggest national news splash leading up to the Belmont has come from Bloomberg, of all places. Big Brown's front man, IEAH Stable co-president Michael Iavarone, became mainstream and tabloid news fodder because of his past troubles in stock trading more than a decade ago.

                            While the penny stock problems sound small and irrelevant on the surface, you have to consider that IEAH is a syndicate stable, which gathers and spends other people's money on the basis of trusted expertise. And things like an inflated biography on a stable's website don't mean much when you're talking about a businessperson who solely owns his or her racehorses. But in the context of a syndicate, which lures new and unknowledgeable owners to a complex business, it raises legitimate questions. Toss in the never-before-done $100 million hedge fund project IEAH is set to roll out, and you have the makings for justified inspection. Maybe there's nothing to the story; but given what they're attempting to do, business-wise, it certainly IS a story.

                            But it's not all negative from this corner. This is not protectionist history for superstars of bygone eras that I somehow feel Big Brown does not deserve equal billing. The horse could very well win by 20 lengths on Saturday and deserve every ounce of credit. I truly respect his talents, both in today's scope and in racing's historical retrospect. He's done things that simply aren't supposed to have been done -- and done them with ease. "All-time great" is a label that definitely could stick with another commanding performance on the track and clock.

                            I rooted vehemently for recent Triple Crown hopefuls like Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Smarty Jones and Funny Cide -- many of which I bet against in the Derby. At times, I've been against the would-be Triple Crown winner, rooting for my favorites Bet Twice over Alysheba and Lemon Drop Kid over Charismatic. In 2002, I simply felt War Emblem was phony and unworthy, and sided with history in protecting the Triple Crown until a more-worthy suitor would reappear.

                            And, bar none, I'd rather see Big Brown's jockey, Kent Desormeaux, ride a Triple Crown winner more so than any other active jock in America. I can truly wrap my arms around him and feel good about my sports psyche, and I certainly enjoy the warm-and-fuzzies associated with his young son, Jacob, who is battling the rare Usher disease. Watching that young man's face light up could probably power a few New York City blocks. A Big Brown victory would make me most happy for deserving family and its talented patriarch.

                            But make no mistake, a Big Brown victory won't be Hollywood's typical racetrack movie material. Someone may try to do it, but that would be on a more fictional than factual basis. Rather, this Triple Crown story will be more like the inevitable pursuit Barry Bonds made toward Hank Aaron's all-time home run mark. Unless you're a die-hard Giants fan or someone capable of embracing statistics with total disregard for the person making them (and the edges they may or may not have gained), I doubt you were too stoked for the historic long-ball chase.

                            If Big Brown wins the Triple Crown, I guess you can say I'll show the same excitement MLB commissioner Bud Selig showed Bonds. Immediately thereafter, we'll all have to sort it out in our minds and souls as to what it means to each of us. No doubt, you'll hear plenty of Bondsian talk. After No. 756, you'll recall he said: "This record is not tainted at all, at all. Period. You guys can say whatever you want."

                            And for those of us who have followed Thoroughbred horse racing for more than the past five weeks, such will be said if, and when, Big Brown stamps himself alongside the game's 11 previous Triple Crown immortals.

                            Now, we'll just have to see who pops up on the sports magazine covers next week. Would I love to see a Triple Crown winner? Absolutely. Just not this one.

                            Jeremy Plonk has been an ESPN.com contributor since 2000. You can E-mail Jeremy about this topic or anything racing-related at [email protected].
                            June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jack Daniels View Post
                              Why is that?
                              It is sexier.
                              If you believe in something sacrifice a hobo to it or don't bother.

                              Comment

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