Sunday, June 8, 2008

Big Brown: His Connections, So Eager to Celebrate, Forgot their Horse

In "And Justice for All," Al Pacino plays Arthur Kirkland, a criminal defense attorney. In the climatic scene, he explains to the jury that the prosecutor "wants a win so badly today, it means so much to him, he is so carried away with the prospect of winning, that he forgot something absolutely essential to today's proceeding. He forgot his case. He forgot to bring it."

And so it was with Richard Dutrow and Michael Iavarone, trainer and principal owner of Big Brown.

When Funny Cide and Smarty Jones were preparing for their tries at history in the Belmont, their trainers spoke with cautious, pensive optimism, mixed with respectful concern. Not so with Dutrow. As soon as the Preakness was over, a triumph in the Belmont was a foregone conclusion.

Cracked hoof ? No problem.

Four days of missed training? Won't hurt him a bit.

A new, clearly talented opponent ? Has no chance.

 Thirty years since a Triple Crown ? The other trainers didn't know how to train their horses.

Iavarone held discussions with NYC officials about a ticker tape parade, mused about how hefty sales of Big Brown merchandise might be, planned a $100 million horse hedge fund and signed a sponsorship with Hooters.

Since I thought about betting Casino Drive heavily to win the Belmont, I read their comments, looking for any foundation to justify their confidence. And I found none. As I wrote on Friday, Big Brown faced some serious obstacles in this Belmont, and most of them remained obstacles even after Casino Drive was scratched. Dutrow had no plan to overcome them, and his owner was on the same joy ride.

When the gates opened up on Saturday, it was revealed that Dutrow and Iavarone wanted a win so badly they had forgotten something absolutely essential to the day's proceeding: they forgot their horse.

From my vantage point, I knew the race was over before they entered the first turn. The horse, so placidly professional in the Derby and Preakness, was very rank and his head was not in the game; after settling down a little bit, he again began to get rank as soon as the serious running started, and his rider wisely eased him. There was Dutrow in the stands, wearing a Trump hat and preparing his acceptance speech. Pressed to explain the loss, he blamed his rider for pulling the horse up. As Arthur Kirkland would say, Dutrow was out of order.

Read more about what happened to Big Brown.

16 comments:

clovlan said...

wHY WHEN EVERYTHING IS RUNNING GOOD why IN THE NAME OF GOD DO YOU change anything like the stirod shot the horse wanted to lead from the start you should let him do his thing and go for the ride i cant figure it out why change even his water dont make sence RICHARD

Anonymous said...

should the jockey have just let the horse run? it seemed to me, a novice at best, that big brown wanted to take off from the get go, but the jockey was holding him back. did the horse wear himself out from fighting the bit? those horses love to run, the jockeys should just let 'em rip.

conclave said...

The trainer and owner,two giant braggarts deserved to lose. They were touting Big Brown like he was the second coming of Secretariat.
The trainer boasting that he was into drugs, sex and rock n roll; some role model !

Big Brown beat no real horses of consequence in the Derby and Preakness and his finishing times were at best ordinary.

At Belmont the track was too dry, the track was too deep or soft, it was too humid or hot,the jockey gave a bad ride.Give me a break !!!

Champions can overcome all. Look at horses like Kelso,Forego,John Henry.

Casino Drive, if entered, would have trounced him even if Big Brown wasn't pulled up and ran a true race.

I didn't bet Big Brown, but bet all bombs except the longest shot on the board...Boo Hoo........

Richard said...

One of the first things my grandpa ever taught me ......was don't ever, ever underestimate the opposition. Mr. Dumbdrow (I mean Dutrow) didn't even know there were any other horses in the horse. Too bad. I am not a Desormeaux fan, but after Mr. Dumb Dumb (I mean Mr. Dutrow) tried to blame him for losing the race, I hope Dutrow never wins another race. Your true colors come out when you are faced with adversity, and we have seen Mr. Dutrows true colors. He blames everybody but himself. Big Brown is an above average horse who has been beating up on mediocre horses. He is nothing special. This is a bad year for 3 year olds.....lets hope next year brings us better.

Gidkid said...

There's an old saying - "No hoof, no horse". Big Brown's history of hoof problems caught up with him - and I bet Desormeaux knows this better than the public does. The bad part is that the horse will pass down the genetic deficiency (bad hooves) and the problem will increase exponentially. I would be surprised if Big Brown races again. It's a sad truth - but strength and substance is being bred out of thoroughbreds in lue of the dollar.

clovlan said...

Heres the way i see it. my hats off to the owners,trainer and jocky they are at the top of there field or they wouldnt be where they are.When you got a winning horse do not and i mean do not change annything not even your shorts the trainer should have keep his shots going. but i not sure thats all the problem.The jockey had his mind made up from the start how he wanted to run the race. He did not lissen to his horse. Right from the start brown wanted the lead maby not normal but he knew what he had to do to out run the 6 horse he was telling kent right from the start he almost ran over the 6 horse at the start so kent took him to the out side and brown keep on shaking his head he should of taking the lead right there not a big one but a lead and going down the back streach brown wanted the lead and thats when the throttle broke then in the home streach kent ask for it and brown said no Theses horses know what to do and when the jocky blew that race. Those horses did not out run BIG BROWM The jocky and the hose beat them self. I would put big money on it that right now thers not a horse can out run big brown. If you rember brown never has run his fullest kent keep him back in both the durby and the preakness. So we havent seen him at his best. Ithink he is as good as SECRETARIAT if not better. Bad hoof so what show me a horse that is perfect. Every horse you have something to get around As far as the trainer having a bad back ground so what dont judge a man for what he did its what hes doing thats counts.Looks like to me his mistakes made him a better man. So the jocky made a mastake lets see what he does next time. RICHARD

Barbara said...

Big Brown is a good horse but he deserves better people around him. I have not liked the trainer or the owner, bragging on themselves when there is so much that the horse needs. There is a lot of difference between running a mile and a half and a mile and a sixteenth and then he blames Desormeaux when he could not ride a horse if his life depended on it. I train and ride horses, there is a difference.

Brooklyn Backstretch said...

For the record, it's Michael Iavarone, not Mark.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting to hear what the pros had to say about what went wrong with BB. I had my own suspicions, having grown up around West Va. race tracks and listening to my father who was a handicapper for the Washington Star newspaper. I was concerned about BB's post position (1st) having seen what he could do coming from way off the rail (20 in the KD). I was very interested to hear what Jerry Bailey said he thought Kent Desormeaux would do and sure enough that's exactly what Kent did. He obviously did not want to get pinched on the rail, but he didn't trust his horse enough to let him find his spot. He obviously over handled the horse and forced him off the rail way too early. I kept hearing that BB is a thinking horse and Kent just didn't let that happen. I also think taking the shots away could have been contributory. You don't just quit cold on these kinds of drugs. A gradual withdrawal would have been better.

Anonymous said...

On that 7th day of June 2008 when the Earth turned the wrong way on it's axsis and Big Brown was denied his place in history by the rabbit in the race, not much the best horse, but the spoiler Zito once again stole the moment of glory away from a champion. To be there in the paddock amongst the Majesty that is the Thorobred horse,I was so close to the entire field of horses that I could touch Big Brown's whithers and would have tried to comfort him as his ears were flat and tail was twitching, he was so bothered. When he stepped on the track and the NY fans roared, he was not happy, nor was the 2 horse, the 20 thousand dollar ringer, Guaducanal-who was in absolute terror at the sights and sounds of the NY crowd, the massive media presence,he made Big Brown even more bothered by his intense fear, horses sense every emotion. Horses do not remember tracks or trips -they feel and remember other horses and their scent and vibes. Big Brown was bumped by Anak Nakal and that knocked the wind out of him. The jockey was never comfortable in the irons the whole trip nor did he hand ride this horse as he should have. The Earth has to turn a whole year again to find another such royal horse as Big Brown. He is and always will be a champion.

Anonymous said...

I THINK THAT THE TRACK DID NOT WANT BIG BROWN TO WIN THERE WAS TOO MUCH MONEY INVOLBED

Anonymous said...

No one has mentioned that Big Brown had terrible run downs after the Preakness and there is no way they were healed in three weeks. The Thoroughbred Times showed pictures of blood running from his bandages after the Preakness. That could stop any horse.

cshrtcrct said...

clovlan-you are right on a few points but on one you are dead wrong! He isn't as good as Secretariat, let alone better!!! Let me remind you of one important thing-Secretariat got the job done!!! that's why his name will live forever with the other "Eternal Eleven" and Big Brown's won't!!! Nuff Said!!

Richard said...

Cshrcrct,Big Browns performas was wraped around people. Secretariats performas, was wraped around the horse.In the derby and the preckness, like i said before BB never ran as hard as he could on the other hand Secretariat ran his guts out they let him do that. Thats what he was bred to do and thats run.Kent never let BB do that ill bet big money that BB could brake all records on all three tracks. BB is a grate horse too bad people got in his way, OH yea hes just a horse, Right Who cares. some day it will all come out.Belive me i know a good horse when i see one.And BB is the best so far in the throughbred racing, You know im glad that is trainer got his life stratin out and its to bad about the jockys son but what does that have to do with throughbred racing. Everbodys eyes went on that instead of the horse, Why didnt thay show the races he was in before, where he was born show his mother and dad his family His training time sorry folks but this is a horse race not a pitty party for people. Kent never road BB to his full potional. Yes i feal sorry for thoes people But this is not about them.If you want to hear a sad storry I GOT ONE. At a race track i want to hear about horses.Ant that why were here for He can never get over this. Its really sad about Big Brown. He does stand right up there with SECARTARIAT.

Anonymous said...

This was a horse race. Not a pitty party or animal rights contests. The horse BB should of been ran as hard as he could NOT pulled becaused the jocky thoudg that something was wrong, A jocky job was to ride the race as fast as he could and to win. If there was something wrong the horse would let you know. Stop trying to be as smart as the horse. clovlan

ed said...
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