The Belmont Stakes

Big Brown, ridden by jockey Kent Desormeaux, falls to the last place on the home stretch
in the 140th Belmont Stakes (AP).

What Happened to Big Brown?

June 09, 2008 10:08 AM
by Denis Cummings
The seemingly unbeatable Triple Crown contender was eased up on the final turn and finished dead last in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

30-Second Summary

Before the race, trainer Rick Dutrow called it a “foregone conclusion” that Big Brown would win the Triple Crown.

But the horse never looked like himself and was eased by jockey Kent Desormeaux on the final turn. He finished so far behind the winner Da’ Tara, a 38-1 underdog who won the race wire-to-wire, that the margin of defeat wasn’t charted.

I had no horse,” Desormeaux said after the race.

Dutrow, Desormeaux and co-owner Michael Iavarone are at a loss as to what went wrong. Doctors have examined Big Brown, but have yet to find anything physically wrong.

There are many theories as to why Big Brown flopped. Some believe that Big Brown was fatigued by the grueling Triple Crown schedule, the oppressing heat or the mile and a half distance. Others believe that a quarter crack injury was more serious that originally believed.

Dutrow and several writers have criticized Desormeaux's ride, believing that held Big Brown back too much in the early going and had no reason to ease him.

There is also a belief that Big Brown’s supposed greatness was the result of steroid use. The Belmont was the first race he ran this year without the steroid Winstrol in his system.

Big Brown’s failure illustrates the difficulty of winning the Triple Crown, which hasn’t been won since 1978. Desormeaux, who nearly won the Triple Crown in 1998 aboard Real Quiet, said, “I can’t fathom what kind of freaks those 11 Triple Crown winners were.”

Headline Link: Big bust at Belmont

Video: Race replay

Reactions: Dutrow blames Desormeaux, Big Brown pointed to Travers

Background: Belmont preparation

Background: 'It’s a foregone conclusion'

Historical Context: The 30-year drought

Key Players: Nick Zito and Da’ Tara

Opinion & Analysis: What happened?

Reference: Belmont and horse racing guides


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