Saturday, May 31, 2008

Will it be the best thing in the Sport for Big Brown to win?

I have been talking with many serious and casual race fans about Big Brown and his quest for the Triple Crown. The question is, will winning the Triple Crown be good for the sport? I ask this because when I talk to people it seems to be a 60/40 split that it will be good for the sport. The 60% in favor think it is great, can't wait for the Belmont, and believe racing needs a Triple Crown winner. The 40% who don't seem to base this on a dislike for Big Brown's Trainer Rich Dutrow and his often cocky comments as well as a dislike for his ownership IEAH. These people are actively rooting for Big Brown to lose because of his handlers. As the race approaches, I find myself torn. I do not care for Dutrow or IEAH, but I also realize that the Triple Crown would be great for the Sport. I was living in New York City as a child and became interested in the sport when Secretariat, Affirmed and Seattle Slew whon the Triple Crown in 73, 77 and 78. The excitement was electric and it drew me in.

I think the Triple Crown can do that again, draw more casual fans into the sport. Of course, I believe Big Brown will race only 2 more times, (The Travers and the Breeders Cup) and then he will be gone. Where will the casual fans go then? With so many great 3 year olds, like Bernardini, Street Sense, Smarty Jones, retiring early , how do we keep the casual fan in the game. Hard to answer, but the Triple Crown is a start and if it gets people talking about the sport, it will only help this sport. I am in it for life, so for me I am a fan whether Big Brown wins or not. Part of me, because of my feelings on Dutrow and IEAH will be rooting for Big Brown to lose, but as I stand in the Big Grandstand at Belmont this coming Saturday I will be probably rooting for Big Brown to win. My home county, Saratoga, is already buzzing about Big Brown running up at the Spa, and someone who spends all 36 racing days at the Spa, I can tell you there will be a uptick in attendance not only on Travers day but other days if Big Brown wins. Big Brown, with his NY connections will help the NY racing scene and the NYRA tracks will have an up year. As for the long term effect, I really think seeing our great 3 year olds running as 4 and 5 year olds will have a greater long term effect than any one horse winning the Triple Crown.

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