(Edited New York Racing Association press release)
As talented and physically imposing a presence as Triple Crown contender Big Brown is, trainer Rick Dutrow seems just as impressed by the colt’s personality and intelligence.
“He’s just a very cool customer,” said Dutrow May 30 after the colt galloped over Belmont Park‘s main track in preparation for the June 7 Belmont Stakes, the final race of the Triple Crown. “I think he knows things other horses just don’t get. He’s just way ahead. He’s just an absolute pleasure to be around.”
As the colt received a bath following his morning exercise, Dutrow marveled at how picture-perfect Big Brown appeared.
“Look at good he looks,” said the trainer. “He just looks unbelievable. I can’t believe I’m training a horse that looks this good and has done what he’s done. Forget about it. There’s no way in the world there’s any horse that’s doing any better than Big Brown. It’s impossible. He is just shiny, so proud of himself, he’s just everything you want to see in a racehorse. He’s beautiful to watch train, he’s beautiful to pet, beautiful to be around.”
In the $1-million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Big Brown is attempting to become just the 12th horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Preakness (gr. I), and Belmont and the first since Affirmed in 1978. According to New York Stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, challenging him in the 1 ½ mile race, which will be run for the 140th time, will be Anak Nakal, Casino Drive, Denis of Cork, Icabad Crane, Macho Again, Tale of Ekati, and Tomcito, and possibly Ready‘s Echo or Behindatthebar.
Dutrow reiterated he did not think any of those contenders were the equal of Big Brown and predicted nothing could stand in his way.
A wet track?
“He would love it. It would work to our advantage. He would absolutely love it.”
The quarter crack?
“Not an issue.”
“I don’t even care about the post.”
“If they said, “Rick we‘re going to run the Belmont on the grass this year, I‘d say ‘That’d be fine‘,” he said. “We don’t need to worry. He will handle things.”