Belmont too much for Big Brown
The Triple Crown title has once again eluded another hopeful, as it seems that Big Brown was fighting too many struggles at once, which had become too much for this magnificent horse to bear. There are speculations as to the cause of the gentle giant’s inability to pull another major victory out the bag, and unfortunately Saturday was just not Big Brown’s day. The unexpected victory by Da’ Tara, who was followed home by Denis of Cork, Anak Nakal and Ready’s Echo, took everyone by storm.
The mood was extremely festive on Saturday, with everyone hoping that there would be a Triple Crown celebration later in the day. And as spectators got settled and racing teams went through their last checks, many thought that the biggest upset of the day would be the scratching of Casino Drive. Casino Drive, thought to be the biggest challenge for Big Brown in the Belmont Stakes, was scratched early on Saturday morning. The trainer and owner of Casino Drive made the decision after Casino Drive injured a hoof on Friday and he did not want to take the chance of risking further injury. Although being shipped back to Japan, Casino Drive will be back for the Breeder’s Cup.
As the starting gates for the 2008 Belmont Stakes filled, the tension in the air was almost touchable. Spectators were nervously waiting and jockeys gathered around the televisions in the changing rooms for the starting gates to swing open. Almost instantly, the jockeys knew that there was something wrong with Big Brown, but spectators had to wait until Kent Desormeaux pulled him up in the stretch and the massive horse started to lose ground, ending up in last position. The crowd, as well as everyone in the racing industry, felt their hearts break as the Triple Crown title slipped away once more.
Many are of the opinion that Desormeaux should be praised for his actions. He felt that his horse was not running as he usually does, and he knew that he was just too tired and that there was nothing left, leaving him unable to ask more of Big Brown. Speculation is also rife regarding the fact that his hoof injury caused him to lose valuable training days, as well as being taken off certain drugs and running two major races on top of one another, was just too much for the mighty horse to bear. And then there was also the heat to take into account, as it was scorching, with many horses having to be hosed down immediately after racing to cool their body temperatures down. But for now, the reason behind Big Brown fading remains a mystery. Even though trainer Rick Dutrow was nowhere to be found after the racing event, co-owner Michael Lavarone was ready and waiting to shower Big Brown with attention. When asked about the pictures capturing this intimate moment, Lavarone responded: “I love this horse. I’ve grown tremendously attached to this horse, emotionally. And I wanted him to know he can run dead last and he can run first and we would still love him. I just wanted him to know.”