Big Brown in First Work Since Belmont
Photo: Rick Samuels
On July 2, Big Brown had his first workout since the Belmont.
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Dual classic winner Big Brown returned to the track July 2 for his first 'breeze' since being pulled up in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The move was extremely slow, but apparently the five-furlong move in a dawdling 1:06 3/5 at Aqueduct did not concern Big Brown’s trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr.

Under exercise rider Michelle Nevin, Big Brown worked over the main track at 5:50 a.m. The track was fast, and the weather was sunny with temperatures in the 70s.

“Nice easy breeze,” Dutrow said about 20 minutes after the work. “Well, I told Michelle I didn’t want him to go too fast. I would rather go slower than faster. So, the horse looks like he is fine. I can’t tell you we got any problems, you know. So far, so good.”

It was Big Brown’s first work since June 3 when he went a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 at Belmont Park, four days before the Belmont Stakes. The son of Boundary began galloping last weekend, after jogging every day since June 11.

After the July 2 work, Dutrow said he had not called the Aqueduct clocker to find out the time. Dutrow watched the work from the backstretch, and did not have a stop watch. When Big Brown returned to the barn, Dutrow and Nevin conferred privately for a few minutes.

The Aqueduct clocker reported that Big Brown’s splits were :14 1/5 for the opening eighth of a mile,:27 3/5 for the first quarter-mile, and :53 3/5 for the half. His gallop-out time for six furlongs was 1:21 1/5. Big Brown drifted out to the middle of the track as he galloped out around the turn.

After the work, Nevin was low-key about the move. When asked if Big Brown felt the same to her as he did during his works for the Triple Crown races, she said, “He was alright. (The work) wasn’t anything special.”

Dutrow said Big Brown was shod in front June 30, and shod behind July 1. His shoes had been pulled following the Belmont Stakes. Two weeks before the Belmont, Big Brown suffered a quarter crack in his left front foot, which was patched one day before the Belmont Stakes.

“All basic stuff,” Dutrow said of the shoeing process. “It’s all good. The (quarter crack) is long gone. You guys knew when that was gone. Maybe remnants of (patch are there). It fades away as they shoe him, and file. It will come to you can’t see it anymore until it comes off; unless another (quarter crack) comes up. But he is good right now. He’s cooling out good, drinking his water, looks like he is happy. So we’re good.”

Big Brown is being pointed to the Haskell (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Aug. 3. When asked what kind of work schedule the colt would be on as the Haskell approaches, Dutrow said, “Will we know when it happens; depending upon the weather. Everybody knows how I do it – breeze, walk, jog, gallop, gallop, breeze, walk, jog, that kind of thing.”

On hand for the work were two reporters, a camera crew from ESPN, and John Lee, the director of communications for the New York Racing Association; a departure from the large throng of media and fans that watched the winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) train during his Triple Crown campaign.

It was Big Brown’s first work at Aqueduct since last fall, after he was moved to Dutrow’s Aqueduct Barn 10 following majority interest in the colt being sold by Paul Pompa Jr. to IEAH Stables. Pompa retained 25% interest in Big Brown. IEAH holds controlling interest of 75%. None of Big Brown’s owners were at Aqueduct for his work July 2.

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