Thursday, August 21, 2008

Big Brown Skips Town (Saratoga)

It's hard to keep up with the news of where Big Brown will next be seen. First Philadelphia Park offers to up the ante in the PTHA President's Cup (1-1/8 T) to $1 million if BB runs and it looks like the Brown team have gotten their wish. Then Monmouth creates a new race, The Monmouth Cup (1-1/8T), with a $200k purse that will be augmented to $500k if BB runs. And NYRA decided to create a 9 furlong turf race for $100k, bumped to $200k should Big Brown run. All of these are scheduled for September 13th. There has also been mention of the $400k Clement L. Hirsch (gr.I 1-1/2T) at Santa Anita on Sept.27 but the talk does not appear as serious for that appearance.

As of late Wednesday Monmouth appears to be the winner in the BB derby. The love's flying. IEAH loves how they were treated for the Haskell, Monmouth loved the turnout for BB. And I don't like any of it. I know races have been created for horses before, particularly match races -that are not good for man nor horse, just drama - but I just don't like to see the industry bend to the whims of a horses owners. It sets bad precedents. No horse should be bigger than the sport. It makes one wonder what the sport is. Is it racing or just printing money? I suppose the saving grace here is that none of the races, aside from the Clement L. Hirsch, is graded. If it was and BB won, the inevitable tirade from Dutrow would undoubtedly contain 'we're better than Curlin, we won a stake on the grass, he didn't'. Of course if they ran in the Hirsch, they could make that claim. But they won't run in the Hirsch. They're not looking to take on classy horses, especially older ones. As a matter of fact the only running they have been doing is running away from the classier 3 year-olds.

How great would it be for racing for BB to be running in the Travers Saturday? If IEAH really wanted to do something good for racing they would be running Big Brown in The Mid Summer's Derby. IF NYRA really wanted to lure BB and do something good for racing they would extend the olive branch to team BB and allow him to enter until Friday (of course PP's would be problematic now) but IEAH would get their desired bow, NYRA would get the best race of the summer (okay, they already had it in the Alabama) and the fans would get to see what they should get to see; the best line up against the best and decide who is best! Alas, that won't happen. Team BB has tucked tail and ran. What they do want, is, in the words of Iavorone, "This is a race we're looking to make as easy on Big Brown as it could possibly be." Maybe if they hold out a little longer someone will schedule a walk over for them! Iavorone also said that they wanted to use a grass race to get BB ready to run on the synthetic track at S.A. in the B.C. Classic. Alright, there may be some validity to that thinking but as of yet no one knows how the S.A. track will run. Also they can just try training him on synthetics to see how he'll take to it. To my mind the decisions that are being made by owner and management are just plain wrong and bad for racing. For all the posturing by team Big Brown about how BB is the best horse running their actions tell me what the truly think; that he's not.

Well, the best laid plans... Perhaps, BB will get his easy race. That may backfire on them. Maybe he'll get his easy race and not win. That would be a devastating blow. Better to face the fire, win, lose or draw, as then there is nothing to be ashamed of or regret. As for what is going on now, it makes me, quite frankly, ashamed for the sport.

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