With his huge Preakness Stakes (gr. I) win in his rear-view mirror, Big Brown left Baltimore Monday morning right at 10 a.m. to head to New York and his date with destiny in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Big Brown was the last horse remaining in the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course the morning of May 19 following the departure earlier in the day of a pair of Reade Baker runners Kentucky Bear and Bear Now. Kentucky Bear finished sixth behind Big Brown on Saturday.
At 9:50 a.m., Big Brown exited stall 34 in the stakes barn and was led to a waiting Brook Ledge horse transportation van that will take the dual classic winner on an expected four-hour journey to Belmont Park on Long Island, New York. Showing class and charisma, Big Brown stopped just outside the van to allow a handful of photographers and videographers get one last shot of him at Old Hilltop.
“I never have to worry about this horse,” said trainer Rick Dutrow, minutes before loading. “He’s going to be in good hands in Bobby Frankel’s barn.”
Dutrow, who is based at Aqueduct in New York, will have Big Brown bedded down in Frankel’s Barn 2 at Belmont Park. Dutrow followed the van as it left Pimlico in his car that was driven by exercise rider Michelle Nevin.
Big Brown will attempt to become the 12th winner of the Triple Crown in the Belmont, having easily won the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and then crushing his rivals by 5 ¼ lengths May 17 in the Preakness.
The son of Boundary, owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., is unbeaten, and untested in five starts. Three other undefeated horses have tried for the Triple Crown in the 1 ½-mile Belmont: Majestic Prince (1969), Seattle Slew (1977), and Smarty Jones (2004). Seattle Slew is the only one to pull off the trifecta.