I never thought I’d be able to compare Bill Belichick to a horse’s ass, but here goes: will Big Brown make history and win the Triple Crown for the first time in 30 years, or go down in history like the 18-1 New England Patriots — just another pretender?
As was the case in this year’s Super Bowl, I’ll be rooting for the choke job. It has nothing to do with anything I have against Big Brown personally, even though he did say neigh when I requested a comment for this story.
The thing holding Big Brown back from being embraced and feted by the public is the same thing that held the Patriots back from the same treatment: a pompous asshole running the show. Only Big Brown trainer Rick Dutrow makes Bill Beliprick look like a cuddly teddy bear in comparison.
Dutrow has been talking a lot of smack about his horse lately (I will try to inject another heroin double entendre in this sentence if I can), saying that a Triple Crown victory is a “foregone conclusion” for Big Brown.
Speaking of drug references (and yes, “brown” is also a nickname for heroin), Dutrow has had a lot of experience in that field. As chronicled by nearly everyone, he’s come back from multiple banishments for drug possession, writing bad checks, etc., etc. Fortunately, he’s put all that behind him. Rather than taking drugs himself, he just injects them into the horses.
As reported in yesterday’s Boston Globe: Since 2000, Dutrow has been cited for 18 drug infractions, ranging from comparably benign violations for overages of legal medications Phenylbutazone and Lasix, to more alarming charges of using Mepivacaine, an anesthetic that can be used to make sore horses feel no pain. In addition to $20,000 in drug fines, Dutrow racked up a $5,000 penalty for providing misleading information to authorities about a workout, and was slapped with a $25,000 fine last year for having contact with his stable while he was supposed to be serving a suspension.
The same story quotes former Dutrow partner Dr. Steve Allday (who should consider the porn alter ego Dr. Steve Allnight) as saying, “I left him, and he knows why, because he didn’t play by the rules … I don’t like a guy that will tell the public that he’s a straight shooter and cares about his animals, and basically will do subversive things to them.”
Of course, we already know that Big Brown has been on steroids, though it isn’t that big of a deal since you can do that in 28 of the 38 states that have thoroughbred racing. We do know, however, that Secretariat was never on steroids, which causes some purists to frown a bit when they realize Big Brown can be lumped in the same group. Bet no other sport has had to deal with something as awkward as one of its legends from the ’70s being joined in the record books by a steroid user…
While it is easy to root against Big Brown, the harder question is figuring out who can beat him, since the toughest competition he’s faced thus far is, um, dead.
The best bet would seem to the Japanese-trained Casino Drive. However, Casino (we’re on a first-name basis) bruised a foot this week, which apparently caused some people to gasp. But considering that Big Brown cracked a hoof last week, I would think we can call it a wash.
It should also be noted that Casino Drive is being ridden by Edgar Prado, who broke up the last two Triple Crown threats at the Belmont Stakes — War Emblem in 2002, and Smarty Jones in 2004. If he pulls this one off, the jockey may be able to start a line of Prado designer saddle bags.
If it isn’t Casino Drive, maybe somebody from the seemingly weak field can pull off the upset. As college basketball, college football and now horse racing aficionado Pat Forde pointed out on ESPN.com, it isn’t unheard of to have accusations of jockeys ganging up on a horse to prevent it from taking the Triple Crown (please erase any Catherine the Great type imagery, you sickos).
After all, if Eli Manning won the Super Bowl against the unbeaten Patriots, why can’t Icabad Crane win the Belmont? (I will award bonus points if Icabad’s jockey goes into the race headless).