Big Brown Arrives at Pimlico
Shortly after 8 p.m., the police escort which had guided the van carrying Big Brown from the airport dispersed and the horse calmly took up residence amid a host of TV cameras and reporters.
Trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr., who rode in the van, said there were "no problems" with the transport from Kentucky. "This was clockwork."
Dutrow, who grew up in the racing business around Pimlico while learning from his father, the late Dick Dutrow, said "We used to be stalled just a few barns away from here and I used to come over (to the stakes barn) when all the big horses came in. I dreamed a lot about having one here."
He expressed no dissatisfaction with post seven for the Preakness run and reported, weather permitting, Big Brown will gallop after the break May 15 and May 16 and will undergo a short "blowout" the day of the race.
Dutrow will visit with some old friends and family while in Maryland, and he labeled "cool" the police escort. "There were people waving at him on the way. He's a big-shot now."
Two other Preakness contenders, Tres Borrachos and Racecar Rhapsody, arrived by separate vans and were unloaded at the same time without incident.
Nick Zito-trained Stevil came in by van several hours earlier and Zito said "the story is Big Brown, but I think my horse should run good. At least I hope we’ll do okay." He was accompanied by three horses in other stakes as was Riley Tucker, the Preakness horse who led in the Bill Mott-trained contingent.
Three of Big Brown's challengers arrived earlier in the day at 2:50 p.m. after a flight that originated in Los Angeles including Macho Again, the Derby Trial winner, who got on the plane in Kentucky.
"He looks like he came in good," said trainer Dallas Stewart. "He didn't break a sweat."
Another van pulled into Pimlico at 3 p.m. with Arkansas Derby winner Gayego, who has shipped three times in five weeks from his California base, and Yankee Bravo, who boarded the flight in California at 5 a.m.
"He's bucking and playing," said Jody Pieper, assistant to Gayego's trainer, Paulo Lobo. "Shipping doesn't seem to bother him at all."
Yankee Bravo walked off the van calmly, then was spirited while walking around the shedrow by trainer Paddy Gallagher. "He was walking me," Gallagher said with a chuckle. "He knows he's here for a reason."
Ten of the 13 starters for the $1-million race are now in the Pimlico stakes barn. Giant Moon is scheduled to arrive May 15. Behindathebar and Icabad Crane will ship the morning of the race.
Kentucky Bear has been at Pimlico for one week, while Hey Byrn arrived May 13.
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