Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown shipped into Churchill Downs April 28, exhibiting the same ease with which he earned his latest five-length victory. Now, with just five days remaining until the running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Rick Dutrow’s main concern is keeping the unbeaten son of Boundary out of trouble and in good condition heading into the May 3 event.
Although Dutrow declined to hold court with the media early on, he eventually emerged from his office to give a brief statement on the condition of his trainee.
“He’s good,” Dutrow said. “Everything went good, he’s down in his stall, and he’s happy and everything went according to plan.”
Dutrow planned to hold a more detailed media conference at 10:00 a.m. EDT on April 29.
Owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., Big Brown galloped at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida the morning of April 28, then boarded a flight accompanied by Dutrow and arrived at Churchill shortly before 5:00 p.m. He was followed by an entourage of IEAH representatives, including co-president and co-CEO Michael Iavarone and co-president and co-CEO Richard Schiavo.
“We’re confident he’s training well, and it’s exciting to hear Rick talk the way he does,” Schiavo said. “There’s a lot of things he’ll experience for the first time Saturday, as will everybody else – be it the crowd or the distance – so we’ll just have to see. In this business, you have your ups and downs, so when you’re on a roll you enjoy it while you can.”
Big Brown, named after UPS, is undefeated in three starts. He broke his maiden by 11 ¼ lengths in a turf race at Saratoga last September. He was scheduled to make his 2008 debut in a turf race at Gulfstream March 5, but wet conditions forced the race to be moved to the main track, where he drew away to a 12 ¾-length victory. Dutrow elected to try Big Brown in the Florida Derby March 29, and he rolled to a five-length win.
“He’s a dream,” Schiavo said. “He’s got a great temperament. Nothing seems to bother him; he goes about his business.”
According to Schiavo, the party of Derbygoers connected to the horse now numbers 102, with a tent in the infield and 10 boxes set up for the giant group.
“Hopefully, we’ll be having a big party Saturday evening,” he said.