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.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More reasons to root against Big Brown

The horse may be great, but Big Brown's ownership and trainer just are not all that "cuddly and fuzzy" and easy to love. Unlike past ownership groups like the Sackatoga guys that owned Funny Cide, it is just really hard to warm up to Michael Ivarone, co-president of IEAH, the principal owners of Big Brown. Now we read more news from the Joe Drape of the NY Times on the past troubles of Michael Ivarone. I personally find it real hard to root for a large syndicate that comes in, picks up the horse after his maiden win at Saratoga last September, runs him in the Derby, than sells his stud rights before the Preakness, and then announces he will not run as a 4 year old. As a fan, I wish I could see these great horses continue to run as 4 year olds, much like Curlin is doing this year. Look at the excitement Curlin has generated with his Dubai Cup win, and speculation about his campaign for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, horses like Street Sense are off to Stud , and the casual fan has long forgotten about him.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Edgar Prado to ride Casino Drive

The Japanese management team for Casino Drive announced today that Jockey Edgar Prado will ride Casino Drive.
As detailed in my prior posts, this was the Jockey I was looking for to ride Prado. Big Brown is a beast but if any Jockey knows how to ride over the Belmont track it is Prado. So with 11 days to go the table appears to be set.

Monday, May 26, 2008

2 weeks before Belmont- the field as it looks so far.

As of May 26, New York Racing Association Stakes Coordination Andrew Byrnes expects the Belmont Stakes field to be: Big Brown, Anak Nakal, Casino Drive, Denis of Cork, Icabad Crane, Macho Again, Tale of Ekati, and Tomcito. has latest workout information here. The quarter crack to Big Browns hoof appears to be healing well and I don't think it will be a factor. One odd thing I find is that Casino Drive handlers have still not named a jockey. Are they possibly hoping that Big Brown's injury is worse than feared and they can then grab Kent Desormeaux??? Stay tuned for more info.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More talk of Big Brown vs. Curlin

With most people assuming Big Brown will win the Triple Crown, the talks are heating up of a Big Brown vs. Curlin matchup. I think it would be great for the sport. This sport needs great 3 year olds running against great 4 year olds. As I have previously voiced on this blog, it is my opinion that Big Brown will not retire after the Belmont. I think his handlers will point him to the The Travers at Saratoga and then the monster matchup vs. Curlin in the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Big Brown Trainer continues to talk up the Travers

Enough people think Big Brown will not run again after the Belmont Stakes, but I believe we will see him run again, and I think it will be the Travers and then the Breeders Cup Classic. Big Brown Trainer, never one to shy away from talking, continues to talk up the Travers as well as the Breeders Cup Classic. Dutrow wants to win the Belmont then race in the Travers, then go up against Curlin in the Breeders Cup Classic.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Looking ahead-Big Brown to run in the Travers?

I know the Belmont Stakes has not arrived yet, but I am already looking ahead to the possibility of Big Brown running in the Travers should he get the Triple Crown. According to the Times Union, Trainer Rick Dutrow was quoted as saying The Travers at Saratoga Aug. 23 and the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Oct. 25 would be the logical races for Big Brown to end his career. Lets hope the owners of Big Brown agree with Dutrow. The Spa will be rocking should Big Brown Barrell into town to run the Travers

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Big Brown wins the Preakness

Big Brown was mighty impressive and is the real deal. His turn of foot and acceleration are visually impressive.

We now go on to the Belmont in 3 weeks. I will venture downstate from my home track of Saratoga to my 2nd favorite track-Belmont Park. It is a beautiful track and I invite all of you to come out and witness the attempt for a Triple Crown.

The Belmont is the true "Test of Champions". I think Big Brown will be tested with the likes of Casino Drive, Denis of Cork, Tale of Ekati. That long final stretch has doomed alot of horses seeking the Triple Crown. I was there when Smarty Jones was in the lead only to be taken down by Birdstone in the stretch, and Funny Cide and War Emblem failed at the Belmont also. You have to get all 3 races to win the Triple Crown and that is what makes it so tough. It will be a fun 3 weeks leading up to the hype to Belmont.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Picks for the Preakness

It has been all about Big Brown since the Derby win, either about the horse himself or his majority owners, IEAH . After reviewing the Past Performances of the other 12 entrants, I just don't see how Big Brown can lose. I think the Belmont will be a different story as I see potential entrants of Casino Drive, Denis of Cork, and Tale of Ekati all to be very dangerous in the Belmont.

Of course this is Horse Racing and anything can happen in the Preakness but Big Brown just seems so much better than the other entrants. My advice is to put him on top of your bets over various others in exacta Bets and Tri's and see what happens. I will go with Big Brown over Icabad Crane, BehindattheBar, Kentucky Bear, Giant Moon, Gayego, and Hey Bryn. Predicted order of finish: 1. Big Brown 2. Icabad Crane 3. Kentucky Bear 4. Gayego

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Preakness Post Positions-Big Brown #7

The Post Positions are drawn with heavy favorite Big Brown getting Post # 7.

Look for my picks on Friday.

In other news, the syndicate that owns Big Brown, IEAH Stables, announced that Big Brown will not run as a 4 year old.

I predict after the Belmont we will never see him run again. If he should lose the Preakness, his owners say he will not run in the Belmont Stakes.

IEAH are strictly businessmen, not horsemen. I look up to the Jacksons, owner of Curlin. They are horsemen in every sense of the word. But where are the others? This will really hurt the sport in the long run.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Harlem Rocker is out of the Preakness

Harlem Rocker, a Canadian Bred Horse, who won impressively at Aqueduct in the Withers Stakes is out of the Preakness. His owners have decided to point him to the Queens Plate at Woodbine on June 22, 2008. I thought he would have a good shot in the Preakness and would have like to see him run.

The good news for all those who want a competitive field in the Preakness is that it looks like we will have a full field in the Preakness. According to the Daily Racing Forum, Gayego might run. I think he would be a better fit for the Belmont , but if he does run, at least one Derby runner will be back to give it a go. He did win the Arkansas Derby and it would not surprise me if he ran well. I just don't know if he can beet Big Brown at the Preakness Distance.


Harlem Rocker out of the Preakness

Harlem Rocker will not run in the preakness.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Looking ahead to the Belmont Stakes

If you have not already seen the clip, watch the Peter Pan Stakes, a Grade 11 race which took place today, 5/10/08 @ Belmont. Casino Drive, a Japenese owned and trained colt, was impressive in winning this race. He is now 2-0 , winning impressively in both starts. He will run in the Belmont. Casino Drive is the half brother to Last years Belmont Stakes winner, Rags to Riches, and also Half brother to 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil. The Horse will have no problem in my opinion getting the 1.5 mile Belmont distance.

Big Brown will have his hands full if he gets by the Preakness.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who will run in the Preakness?

Will anyone give Big Brown a run for his money?
Let me throw out a candidate.
Harlem Rocker

He will work out this Friday and then a decision will be made on the Preakness.
He ran a 103 beyer in the Withers Stakes at the Big A.

He is Canadian Bred and owned.

Is there anyone else out there you like?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Derby Day Aftermath-Triumph and Tragedy

A review of the news and blogs shows more attention to Eight Belles than Big Brown. This is understandable. When a horse dies just after the Kentucky Derby , this is a major story. I just wish the people giving an opinion would know something about racing. I really disagree with William Rhoden's article in the NY Times (May 4th, 2008) portraying horse racing as a brutal sport.

I also believe Eight Belles could have just as easily broke her ankles running in the Oaks with fellow fillies. She was a competitor and would have been running just as hard the day before.

Fillies routinely run against the boys in Europe and years ago horse ran much more than they do now. Lets focus on track surfaces, training schedules, medications, illegal doping, etc and eliminate the nonsense about this sport being brutal.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Big Brown wins the Derby

Big Brown won the 2008 Kentucky Derby in impressive fashion, with super smooth cruising speed and a easy acceleration down the strech. A gallant Eight Belles was second before collapsing after her finish with 2 broken ankles resulting in her being put down. Triumph and Tragedy on the same day.

I did not have Big Brown to win and had him in multiple exotics with Colonel John, Pyro and others. I will have to watch the replay to see what happened in the also rans to see what happened and where we go from here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Derby Selections

Well the post positions are picked and here are my selections.
First, here is who I don't like to finish in the money: Cool Coal Man, Anak Nakal, Big Truck, Z Humor, Bob Black Jack, Recapture the Glory.

Everyone else has a chance. Put we must pick someone so here it goes.

I like Colonel John to win. I like his breeding (sire is Tiznow) , he can run the distance and his workouts this week on dirt have been fine.

I will put him in an Exacta wheel with Big Brown, Adriano, Monba, Pyro and Denis of Cork.
Then I will play side bets on Court Vision, Eight Belles, Z fortune and Visionaire.

My order of finish :
Colonel John
Denis of Cork
Big Brown