Saturday, June 7, 2008

Once Again, a Dream Denied

There's a reason it's a dream. There's a reason it's called the Test of Champions. There's a reason it's one of the most sought after, and most elusive, titles in sports.

Big Brown--the "sure thing," the dominant athlete who many felt was entitled to and deserved the Triple Crown win, fell short of the goal. Jockey Kent Desormeaux simply did not have the horse he had in the Derby and Preakness. After Big Brown tried to run over the horse ahead of him early in the race, he was eased when he failed to respond in the early stretch run. In the Derby and Preakness, this is the point where the horse exploded in a power drive that left the field in his dust. Not today. Today he sputtered and lagged. Desormeaux is a professional and he knew something was wrong. So Big Brown's jock saved him for another day, another race...or maybe another career.

The good news is Big Brown is apparently uninjured. We'll know more in the next 48 hours about what went wrong physically...or not. My gut feeling is the extreme heat was a factor. Horses are like people, some handle intense heat and humidity better than others, and the temperatures set at Belmont Park today broke records. Other think his quarter crack might have contributed to his downfall, or his being taken off steroids in April to prove that he was superior even without them backfired in a big way. A lot of questions are being asked. They may never be answered. The point has been driven home once again; there is no sure thing in horseracing. And there will be no Triple Crown winner again this year.

So what's next for Big Brown? Hard to say. It depends a lot on any findings in the next day or so. If it appears it was just "one of those things" then the owners and trainer may huddle and decide whether to campaign their horse to prove this race was a fluke, and that he deserves to be recognized as a stallion who can command a six figure stud fee. If there's any indication of a health problem or injury, at an estimated worth of $50-$75 million and a lucrative stud career on the horizon, Big Brown will most likely be retired.

That's horseracing.

Thanks for your attention while I deviated from my usual Science Fiction Romance theme. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

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