Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Update on Big Brown's Belmont run

I mentioned before Big Brown ran in the Belmont that he had a quarter crack in one hoof, and that his owner and trainer were running him anyway.

I'm pleased to report that Big Brown made it through the race without breaking down. However, he finished last, and ran considerably less well than in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness (both of which he won).

There is some debate over what caused Big Brown to finish last in the Belmont, particularly since his owner and trainer aren't saying. A lot of people are speculating that it is due to his injured hoof, although he didn't appear to be limping when he was pulled up during the race. There's also the fact that Big Brown was taken off of steroids before the race, though apparently that should create a more gradual decline in performance, rather than a sudden bad race.

This article has an interesting theory: that his trainer didn't work him as hard before the Belmont, out of concern for the quarter crack in his hoof, and as a result Big Brown was out of shape on race day. I think that definitely sounds plausible. If it's true, it means that Big Brown's trainer and owner were more concerned about the quarter crack than they let on — and that perhaps those of us who were outraged that he was racing on the injury were justified in feeling that way.

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