Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Horse pucky ...

It's a damn shame that Big Brown wasn't able to seal the deal at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Lord knows that the horse racing industry could have used the pick-me-up that the first Triple Crown winner in three decades could have supplied. But one reason why most of the sport's fans and insiders aren't rending their garments over Big Brown's defeat is the fact that his butthead of a trainer also lost. And Rick Dutrow keeps finding more and more ways to make the world hate his ever-loving guts.

First it was Dutrow's shady record, both as a horse trainer and as a human being. He brazenly administered steroids to his horses, Big Brown included, even though the practice is banned in several states and frowned upon in others. Then, during the days leading up to the Belmont, Dutrow put Joe Namath to shame by calling the Triple Crown a "foregone conclusion". And now, as the bad taste of Big Brown's Belmont run remains bitter in many people's mouths, Dutrow has taken the always-popular tack of throwing his jockey, Kent Desormeaux, under the bus:

"I don't want to hurt anyone, especially Kent," Dutrow told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning in his barn at Aqueduct. "But I still don't understand what happened. I don't see the horse with a problem, so I have to direct my attention toward the ride. That's all I can come up with."

Desormeaux - the jockey who rode Big Brown to convincing victories at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, by the way - is pretty much universally hailed as acting in the best interests of his horse by easing him up at the end of the Belmont. That gesture, done for a horse that Desormeaux thought may have been injured, potentially could have saved Big Brown's life had he been hurt - not to mention protect the millions the bay colt will generate as the most popular stud since John Holmes. So for Dutrow to blame the jockey for the horse's defeat is, well, pretty dumb.

After slamming Desormeaux, Dutrow magnanimously went on to say that he would have no objection to the jockey taking the mount for Big Brown's next race. One would hope that Desormeaux would do the honorable thing - and tell Dutrow what he can do with his job. Something that involves matter that emerges from the other end of the horse.

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