Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. sent Big Brown for an easy work over the Churchill Downs surface May 1, and the imposing colt looked every bit the favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as he took to the track under regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin. Big Brown, installed as the 3-1 morning line choice following the April 30 post position draw, went three-eighths in :35 2/5.
"It looked good to me," Dutrow said. "I watched from the frontside and I'm as happy as I could be. I could see when he turned around with the pony right away he was a little too agressive, which you could expect, I think. It just went as good as it could have possibly went; it didn't look like he did too much and he was well within himself."
The unbeaten son of Boundary walked from Barn 22 accompanied by a pony, accompanied by a swarm of media, cameramen, and fans with mild curiousity. His ears were up and his stride was relaxed, but once he broke off from the pony he was clearly ready to go, tossing his head against Nevin's hold. The pair warmed up with a brief gallop and moved over to the rail to work the distance, with Nevin merely dropping down in the saddle to move her mount into a breeze.
The colt trained professionally, ears pricked the entire time, and could have done much more as he reluctantly eased back to a gallop following the work. Coming off the gap, he was still keen, jogging and tossing his head against his rider's hold.
"He cooled out good at the barn; looks like he’s happy as he could be," said Dutrow. "Maybe the track was a little bit fast, (but) so is our horse. You can’t get everything perfect all the time, but it looked like a very good move to me. I was very happy with it, so I’m sitting on go here, we’re ready."
Big Brown, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I) in his last start for IEAH Stable and Paul Pompa Jr., seeks to become just the second horse in history to win the Derby from post position number 20.