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Posts Tagged ‘Triple Crown’

Mine That Bird Longshots To Derby Greatness

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Well, THAT was unexpected. Mine That Bird, a 50-1 long, long shot, won the Kentucky Derby Saturday in dramatic and incredible style. Coming from the dead last position, Bird delivered an incredible run down the stretch, one that saw him overtake the ENTIRE FIELD from the inside position, as jockey Calvin Borel masterfully maneuvered his horse to the front of the pack and into horse racing history. A quote from longtime Louisville-now-ESPN scribe Pat Forde, who has seen his fair share of Derby stories, details just how surprised the horse racing universe is by Mine That Bird’s amazing win, and just how much his win resonates:

More Derby reaction after the jump >>

No Joy In New York: Big Brown Finishes Last

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.

Legging Out A Triple?

Brg Brown

What can Brown do for me? How about winning the Triple Crown for starters. Is that too much of a request, considering just how common of an occurrence it really is? In other words, yep, there’s one more horse race for you to pay attention and then the industry goes back on the shelf until May 2, 2009 — at least in the eyes of the sporting world; unless, of course, you like to play the ponies.

If that’s the case, carry on, sir/ma’am.

For the rest of us, horse racing only means something A. when it’s the Kentucky Derby and B. if there’s a Triple Crown storyline to follow. This year, like the last few years before us, we do, in fact, have another horse with Triple Crown aspirations. So, is this the year the string gets broken or will Brown fail during the 1.5-mile Belmont; a distance that can tire the strongest horses?

If Vegas is your guide, then yes, it does look like we’ll have our first Triple Crown winner in 30 years. It also doesn’t hurt your chances when the horse with the perceived best chance to beat you — Casino Drive — bruises his heel. Because I’m no horse-racing expert, I can only give you my hunch. Considering the time between capturing all three titles, I wouldn’t be surprised if Big Brown actually did lose the Belmont. However, I’m also inclined to agree with trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr:

If Big Brown gets the lead, especially down the stretch, it’s hard to see any of the other horses catching him. The one question I do have has to do with Big Brown’s inside position. He’s drawn the number 1 slot, meaning he’ll be up against the fence. Can the other jockeys box the favorite in and block his path to history? Will they if they can? We’ll find out Saturday.

Anyway, here are the post positions along with the odds related to the horse, compiled by Vegas Watch:

(1) Big Brown, 2/5
(2) Guadalcanal, 40/1
(3) Macho Again, 30/1
(4) Dennis of Cork, 10/1
(5) Casino Drive, 10/3
(6) Da’ Tara, 33/1
(7) Tale Of Ekati, 16/1
(8) Anak Nakal, 33/1
(9) Ready’s Echo, 40/1
(10) Icabad Crane, 35/1

One more thing, does Big Brown’s previous steroid use concern you?

Belmont Stakes: Big Brown Runs and Studs

Big Brown

With the Belmont Stakes coming this Saturday — and a potential Triple Crown winner — the sports world again turns its gaze towards the horse racing industry and this year, all eyes are watching Big Brown. Can the horse with the UPS tie-in complete the Triple Crown, something that hasn’t been done in, well, a freaking long time? Will his cracked left hoof hold up to a 1.5 mile gallop while carrying jockey Kent Desormeaux?

If the reports are from today’s test run are to be believed, it certainly looks like Big Brown will be up to the challenge on Saturday but will he be able to hold off the seemingly made-for-the-Belmont thoroughbred in Casino Drive? Trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. doesn’t seemed concerned:

“There’s not any issues with our horse,” Dutrow said. “He’s right on target. He’s by far the best horse in the race.”

These comments come on the heels of a little horse-racing trash talk from from the Big Brown camp towards Casino Drive and the rest of the field.

Obviously, Dutrow isn’t worried about the safety or ability of his horse (and by safety, I’m referring to whether or not the cracked hoof would give Big Brown problems).

In other Big Brown news, after he retires, the horse has certainly has his future planned out — one of impregnating willing mares. According to reports, Big Brown will receive $100,000 each time he gets a female horse pregnant… and I thought Las Vegas hookers were expensive. Of course, you don’t get to impregnate one either (eww), but I digress.

Finally, it has been revealed the final resting place of Eight Belles will indeed be at Churchill Downs.

Weekly Pwnage: Big Brown Absolutely Smokes The Preakness

I’ve seen a lot of memorable performances and plays in the past year. Things like David Tyree’s catch, Tyson Gay walking Asafa Powell down, Dwight Howard’s Superman and so on. However, what I witnessed from Big Brown at the Preakness equals or surpasses these and other highlight-worthy exhibitions. While the Preakness infield was apparently its normally fun self, watching Big Brown destroy the field as he rounded that last turn was pretty exhilarating as well.

Next up for Big Brown: three weeks worth of “Will he be the first horse since win the Triple Crown since Affirmed?” speculation as he prepares to run the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the coveted Triple Crown. While Big Brown’s chances to finally accomplish the Triple do look great, the fact the Belmont is the longest of the three races — 1.5 miles — may play a part in the outcome.

Will jockey Kent Desormeaux preserve Big Brown’s energy so his horse has enough left for a strong finish or will this be a repeat of Smarty Jones?

What Can Big Brown Do For You?

Big Brown

The Preakness is tomorrow and while you are enjoying all the debauchery, be sure to remember there’s a semi-important horse race going on tomorrow. You know, if going to a horse track to watch horses race is your type of thing — a legitimate question for all the in-field attendees.

If you are actually interested in the race, the other questions surrounding The Preakness are can the horse who launched a million UPS trucks (not really, but he did get his name from the shipping giant) win the second leg of the Triple Crown? If he does, will anyone in attendance be sober enough to appreciate it? Another question, deftly tackled by Pat Forde, is whether or not two-weeks is a sufficient enough lay-off for modern horses to compete the Triple?

I’m not sure Seattle Slew or Affirmed had these issues to worry about, but nevertheless, the concerns are out there. Others tend to stem from the Eight Belles tragedy and while they are legitimate, I’m not sure if they won’t just fall on deaf ears. The horse racing industry is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry (especially if you include the gambling aspect) and while the immediate destruction of one of these beautiful creatures leaves a lasting impact on the general sporting public and generates tons of shock waves, it won’t derail horse racing from moving forward.

We are in the middle of the Triple Crown season and it’s the industry’s time to shine and if the Barbaro saga didn’t dampen their spirit, nothing — not even the destruction of Eight Belles — will.

Anyway, enough op-edding for now; let’s look at the race. Can Big Brown complete and win leg number two of the Triple Crown? Considering the fact he’s a 1-2 favorite (for every $2 spent, you get $1 in return), it’s pretty obvious where Vegas’ feelings lie. When you look at the rest of the field’s odds, you can get the distinct impression Big Brown is the only horse worth paying attention to.

The second lowest odds are for Gayego, who comes in at 8-1. After that, the rest of the entires have double-digit odds. To me, this seems to indicate either Big Brown will destroy the field (in a winning way) or some enterprising gambler is going to make a lot of money off the likes of Macho Again (20-1) and Riley Tucker (30-1). With that in mind, I’m going to go out on a limb here and pick Big Brown to win, place, and show.

In other news, ESPN’s Randy Moss looks really intense. God, I love bad choices in online video freeze-frames.

Randy Moss

Don’t take any crap from that ESPN 2 crew, Randy.