The Morning After: Big Brown Scare Off

Preakness Stakes will see new shooters take aim at Kentucky Derby winner.

Early indications are that none of the horses that finished behind Big Brown in his impressive 4 3/4-length victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will move on to the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

Interviews with losing trainers and their connections the morning after the Derby revealed deep respect for the winner and no desire to face him again soon.

David Carroll, the Churchill Downs-based trainer whose Denis of Cork ran third, said the colt will be pointed toward the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

“He came out of the race great,” Carroll said of the colt who finished 3 ½ lengths behind the ill-fated runner-up Eight Belles. “We will watch him the next few days, but he will probably run in the Belmont. Big Brown was very impressive.”

On having his first Derby starter, Carroll said it was “a tremendous thrill – the walkover (from the stable area), the paddock, everything.”

Trainer Barclay Tagg, who won the 2003 Derby with Funny Cide, said both fourth-place finisher Tale of Ekati and Big Truck, who was 18th in the 20-horse field, came of out the race with no problems. He said both would return to his base in New York, with Tale of Ekati pointed toward the Belmont. Since Big Truck is a New York-bred, he will be aimed at state-bred grass races.

Recapturetheglory, who acted up in the paddock and the tunnel leading to the track, will rejoin trainer Louie Roussel III’s stable in Chicago and be given some time off. “He had a tough race in the Illinois Derby and a tough race here (in the Kentucky Derby).”

 “He ran most of his race in the paddock,” said Roussel, adding that the colt was upset by noise from the Derby crowd. “Next time, he will wear ear plugs.”

Roussel said winning trainer Dick Dutrow is to be congratulated for the job he performed with Big Brown. “He did a great job. He knows his horse.”

Trainer Eoin Harty said plans for sixth-place finisher Colonel John have not been determined, but that he is “probably not going to Baltimore” for the Preakness. “He (Colonel John) had a pretty rough trip, but that’s the Derby,” Harty said.

Mike McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, told Churchill Downs communications representatives that Cowboy Cal (9th) would go to Stonerside Farm for a break from competition and that Monba (20th) would return to Pletcher’s stable in New York.

Churchill officials also said Smooth Air, the 11th-place finisher who was treated for an infection a week before the Derby, would be given some time off by trainer Bennie Stutts Jr.

Trainer Michael Matz said Visionaire (12th), who came out of the Derby fine, would return to the Fair Hill Training Center “for a little bit of rest.”

Adriano (19th) will also return to Fair Hill, with trainer Graham Motion pointing him toward grass races. He said one possibility is the Virginia Derby.

Considering the lack of Derby starters moving on to the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness will be comprised of new shooters.

On Maryland Jockey Club’s Mike Gathagan short list of Preakness contenders are: Behindatthebar, El Gato Malo, Kentucky Bear, Tres Borrachos, Giant Moon, Stevil, Yankee Victor, and Harlem Rocker a possibility.