Ever since his poor showing in the Belmont Stakes, people have been speculating about the cause. Some attribute it to steroid withdrawal (although, I can’t for a minute believe that Dutrow would have made such a major change to Big Brown’s regime before the Triple Crown, given that steroid use for horses is legal in New York), some to the quarter crack in his hoof, others to the heat and humidity. According to the Daily Racing Form, Mr. Dutrow is now blaming jockey Kent Desormeaux:
“It was a huge race, biggest race I’ve ever been in. I feel like a loser right now and I don’t know why. Usually when I get beat I can handle it the right way, and I’ve handled this the right way, but I just feel like something’s not right. I know it’s not the combination that our stable has with the horse, me, [exercise rider] Michelle [Nevin], the groom. I know he went into this race unbelievable, so the rest Kent’s got to answer.”
Who better than to get the straight story from than Big Brown himself. This amusing “interview” was published on Fox Sports online.
(Reporter) Big, tough race out there today, disappointed?
(Big Brown) Let’s see, I win the race and I get a bunch of carnations around my neck and a picture with a short guy on my back. Afterwards I go back, have a nice meal, and sleep in a barn. Then I end up getting put out to stud. If I have this figured right, all I’m out is the photo.
(Reporter) So you weren’t trying?
(Big Brown) You saw the race.
(Reporter) Did you give it your all?
(Big Brown) Which part of “you saw the race” is escaping you, Einstein? Tell, you what, stamp on the ground three times if you can hear me. Next question.
(Reporter) Did your trainer guaranteeing a Triple Crown put any pressure on you?
(Big Brown) Oh, no (rolls eyes). You’re out there with eleven other great athletes and your trainer is in the press saying they’re all on their way to becoming dog food. When we were loading up you could cut the tension with a knife.
(Reporter) Did that affect the outcome?
(Big Brown) I’m on the rail to start, always a tough spot. The bell goes off and I’m boxed in. It just so happens the horse in front of me slows and “accidentally” kicks me. I blame Dutrow.
(Reporter) You come back from that and are in third on the far turn. Desormeaux says he asked you for a move and, I am quoting here, realized “I had no horse.”
(Big Brown) He said what?
(Reporter) “I had no horse”.
(Big Brown) Why that little (bleep). I drag his dead (bleep) around these (bleep) tracks and he says “I had no horse”. What did he think he was riding, a (bleep) big (bleep) red dog?
(Reporter) You were lightly excercised between the Preakness and the Belmont. Did that have any effect on you?
(Big Brown) It ain’t about that at all. It’s easy to sum it up if you’re just talking about practice. We’re standing here, and I’m supposed to be the the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years, and we’re talking about practice. I mean listen, we’re here talking about practice, not a race, not a race, not a race, but we’re talking about practice. Not the race that I go out there and die for and run every race as if it’s my last but we’re talking about practice man. How silly is that?
Now I know that I’m supposed to lead by example and all that but I’m not shoving that aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important, I honestly do but we’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice man. (laughter from the media crowd) We’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice. We’re not talking about the race. We’re talking about practice. When you come to the track, and you see me run, you’ve seen me run right, you’ve seen me give everything I’ve got, but we’re talking about practice right now. (more laughter).
(Reporter) Big Allen Iverson fan?
(Big Brown) Why do you ask?
(Reporter) What about the quarter crack in the front hoof that wasn’t patched until yesterday?
(Big Brown) Talk to Dutrow about that. I just show up and run the race. I’m not here to make excuses.
(Reporter) What did you think when Desormeaux pulled you up?
(Big Brown) “I had no jockey”.
(Big Brown) I can see I’m not the only one in this room with a brain the size of a walnut.
(Reporter) Several people track side said your manners weren’t good on the way to the gate and the heat appeared to be affecting you?
(Big Brown) My manners now is it? Well, excuse me for not prancing all the way out in 88 degree heat with darn near 100% humdity. You people think this is so easy, give it try. My gear is in the barn and I’m sure we can get Kenny boy to hop on your back and beat with a whip for two minutes while you’re running as fast as you can.
(Reporter) What about the future?
(Big Brown) I’m outta here, man, I’m outta here. Talk to Dutrow.