The presence of Big Brown has caused quite a stir on the backside in the days before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), so much so that trainer Richard Dutrow decided the easiest way to handle the media was to host a daily special question and answer session.
On the morning of April 30, the trainer seemed as confident as ever in Big Brown, named after UPS, who will probably enter the Run for the Roses as the favorite.
“We put him in the gate (this morning), and he was very good,” said Dutrow. “He just galloped around one time, and we couldn’t be happier with things at this point.”
Owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., the son of Boundary has completed just three starts, however, the first two were won by a combined 24 lengths and the last, the Florida Derby (gr. I), by five, which makes him among the most consistent horses in the 20-horse Derby field.
“We’ll breeze him three-eighths (of a mile) tomorrow (May 1) after the break,” said Dutrow. “I’d like him to go anywhere between :36 and :37. The track seems pretty fast, and he’s really smooth. So you don’t really know how fast you’re going with him, but I’d like to nail it on the head if we could. I think that’s kind of important for us—I don’t want him to go too fast.”
Dutrow said Big Brown is aware of the fact he’s no longer at Palm Meadows in Florida and knows he’s prepping for an upcoming race.
“He knows we shipped here, he knows we put him in the gate,” said Dutrow. “We’re going to school him in the paddock tomorrow—I don’t know when. But he knows why he came here—he knows he’s headed for a race.”
Dutrow called his horse a “pleasure to be around,” and noted how he could be trusted with children and has an affinity for being around other horses and people in general. “He’s a dream come true—that’s what he is.”
A meticulous planner when it comes to timing, Dutrow said he likes waiting at least 40 days after each of his horses put in an effort, and despite Big Brown being lightly raced due to some quarter cracks, he feels the schedule of the colt’s career thus far has been nothing short of perfect for a Derby setup.
“He’s just taking everything in stride,” said Dutrow. “He hasn’t done one stupid thing inside or outside the barn. It’s just what you really want.”
Looking toward the Derby, Dutrow said, “I’m having as much fun as I can have. I’m with my people—my family’s coming tomorrow, my girlfriend’s coming tomorrow, and all my people are here now, so I’m in a good zone. It just couldn’t be better as far as I can see.”