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Big Brown

31 years and counting. When the Kentucky Derby kicks off on May 2, 2009, there will be 31 years between Triple Crown winners in the world of horse racing. There was an opportunity to have such a winner last Saturday at the Belmont Stakes, but alas, Big Brown just didn’t have it in him. Instead of finishing first and rejuvenating the horse industry — not to mention keeping the memory of Eight Belles alive — Big Brown finished dead last while the long shot Da’ Tara (33-1) won the race, leading it wire-to-wire.

Granted, jockey Kent Desormeaux pulled Big Brown up towards the end, but nevertheless, for some reason, the horse didn’t have it in him on Saturday. Was it the heat? Was it the fact that Brown got kicked after the start? Was it the lack of the steroid Winstrol in his system? Or could it be the chickens came home to roost after Rick Dutrow’s bombastic bragging about Big Brown? ESPN’s Pat Forde expands on that thought:

No, talking trash didn’t get Big Brown beat. But it came back to smack Dutrow in his fresh mouth when the foregone conclusion fell apart.

Forde goes on to say:

Problem is, Dutrow never entertained the possibility of a problem during this Triple Crown run. Even after watching all the Triple Crown near-misses of recent years — Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in ’98, Charismatic in ’99, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in ’03 and Smarty Jones in ’04 — he failed to absorb the singular truth of this three-race series:

It’s incredibly hard to win. That’s why it’s been done just 11 times in the history of the sport. That’s why great horses like Spectacular Bid and Point Given didn’t get it done.

As it stands, there appears to be nothing wrong with Big Brown which led some folks with ties to horse-racing industry to believe simply this — Big Brown didn’t want to run on Saturday and there’s nothing anyone could’ve done about it.

Whatever the case, the horse that looked so dominant in May was not the same one that ran on Saturday. In case you didn’t see it, here’s YouTube to the rescue:

And with that, the horse racing season comes to a close (for those of us that only follow the Triple Crown). See you next year when the Kentucky Derby gets ready for action.