IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.’s Big Brown, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), jogged a mile under exercise rider Michelle Nevin alongside a pony May 7 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Rick Dutrow liked what he saw and said the son of Boundary would gallop the morning of May 8.
The two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) continue to be the trainer's biggest concern.
“Coming back in two weeks, he is stacked up against it,” Dutrow said. “He’s not a robot. He has run fast races and fast numbers and two weeks is not ideal timing. You need time to regroup, and we haven’t got that kind of time.”
One fast number that particularly intrigued Dutrow was Big Brown’s Kentucky Derby performance.
“I heard that he ran the fastest Ragozin Sheets number of a Kentucky Derby winner,” Dutrow said. “It was a minus one.”
So, what does that portend for the Preakness?
“He’s got to react to it, but he is not going to need to run a minus one again,” Dutrow said. “He’s not going to need it. The other horses going into the race, their numbers don’t match up with his. They don’t even come close. So, I am figuring he can run a five and still win the race.”
The fact Big Brown has scared off practically all of his Derby rivals is fine with Dutrow.
“I hope there is no one over there that is going to run big,” Dutrow said. “I felt that half of them didn’t belong in the Derby anyway. We only have two weeks. There is nothing I can do. I just have to hope that he stays good. There is no serious training involved. There is not a whole lot that depends on me. He has come out of the race good, eaten every oat since he has run. I just have to decide if I am going to give him a little breeze or not before his next race.
“We leave on the 14th, which is three days out, which is beautiful with me. I like that. He would not breeze here.”