Competition Curve Sagging...
It seems that the majority of common, everyday race fans are ready to see another Triple Crown. People want to feel the excitement and thrill of a sport unmatched in displaying talent and skill.
Some people don't like Big Brown's trainer, owners, or the horses he is competing against.
In Big Brown's defense, it is not the horse's fault that he is racing against "lesser" competition in some eyes. He has handled everything thrown his way, so I say let him gain what he has earned. The trainer isn't racing him. Jockey Kent Desormeaux has stated many times he hasn't had to really ride the horse, just ease him on or slow him down at different points in the race. Big Brown is the one racing.
With that being said, I am personally a larger fan of Denis of Cork, Colonel Jon, Pyro, and Z Fortune. Even though they have not beaten Big Brown, they have been impressive this year. You can compare earnings, and I don't think you can take anything away from their statements on the track. I say that due to how well these four favorite 3-year-olds of mine have raced up to the Derby. We will see a lot more from most of them. Pyro might have peaked, but I was overcome with chills from the turn-of-foot he showed.
No matter what the argument against him is, at the end of the day Big Brown is the one racing, not his connections.
“He’s one of the most impressive horses we’ve seen in a long, long time,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “Maybe it’s a weaker 3-year-old crop, but who’s to know that? He’s a really special horse. If he wins the next one, which I do think he’ll win and I think he’ll win it for fun, you put him in the category of Secretariat and Seattle Slew.” -- From Pimlico Preakness Notes on BloodHorse.com
I think trainer Nick Zito stated some good points Saturday, and I think Jason Shandler reiterated them as well. Big Brown looks good on paper, but the race is not run on paper, it is run on surface...meaning that Big Brown still has to beat the competition in the race.
The REAL Question:
Everyone wants to know how big and bad Big Brown truly is. Let's see him race Curlin. Curlin has proven himself to be great, while Big Brown has some proving to do still. This will be the greatest thing that could happen in the industry at the present time. To see a thrilling race of the new kid on the block and the ruling authority on the track. Don't retire Big Brown, though money seems to be a bigger deal here, because the fans want to see this battle waged.
Another key point is for the common race fans. About half of Generation X and all of Generation Y have never seen or can not remember a Triple Crown winner. That is a big deal and another reason why it is exciting. Thirty plus years is a very long time.
The Big Time:
Aside from the common horse fan wanting a Triple Crown, I appreciate that Casino Drive is also trying to achieve a record. His dam, Better Than Honour, has produced the last two Belmont winners. A dam who could possibly have three Belmont winners and consecutively? That is beyond impressive; that is beyond amazing. That is down right ridiculous, but it is going to be a very real possibility. It is also a record that I am quite confident could not be beaten.
Big Brown's trainer, Rick Dutrow, is also aware of what Japan-based Casino Drive hopes to accomplish, “The Japanese people are going to come here and think that Godzilla is dead. Well, Godzilla’s not dead,” Dutrow said at the Preakness press conference.
So which will be the big bet you take on? Do we want a Triple Crown that other horses can claim, or a moment in history, not to be repeated? It is tough, but I believe once the story is spread beyond the die hard fans of Casino Drive, more people would understand the scope of that endeavor.
What do I want to see? I want to see Casino Drive win the Belmont if the horse industry will tell the story and make an effort to describe the enormity of Better Than Honour's record. If the public is not educated about this historic possibility, then we need to have at least a Triple Crown winner through Big Brown.
Ultimately, either way, we need to see what Big Brown is made of. He needs to meet Curlin. He needs to pay his respects.
To read more about Casino Drive:
--- Better Than Honour's Belmont Legacy
Peter Pan with Casino Drive
Rags to Riches
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpBe5oxatKY (Jazil is the second horse to be shown)
Thanks to GallantChief for finding this link:
(Watch Casino Drive)
UPDATE May 22, 2008:
Curlin, Casino Drive, Big Brown...
Dutrow addressed questions about a potential match-up with last year’s Horse of the Year Curlin, and said he would be eager for such a meeting to take place in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 25. IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., Big Brown’s owners, sold the breeding rights to the colt to Three Chimneys Farm the day of the Preakness. Michael Iavarone of IEAH Stables said Big Brown would not race as a 4-year-old.
“Our plan is the Belmont, Travers, and Breeders’ Cup,” Dutrow said. “We are going to show up if our horse is good and ready. I don’t know what they (Curlin’s connections) are going to do. I would like to see them run together, it would be good for racing and good for us; it won’t be so good for them.”
Casino Drive, who many perceive to be Big Brown’s strongest opponent in the Belmont, won the Peter Pan (gr. II) by open lengths May 10. He was ridden by Big Brown’s regular rider, Kent Desormeaux. The connections of Casino Drive are expected to announce a new rider for their colt in a few days.
“We are just looking at (Casino Drive) like he is just another horse in the race,” Dutrow said. “I would like to see him come out of the race, without a doubt. (But) we are certainly not afraid of running against him. I would think (Casino Drive) would have to have more thoughts about running against Big Brown than we do about him. --excerpt from Karen Johnson's "Dutrow Discusses Curlin, Prado's Ride" on BloodHorse.com
UPDATE June 3, 2008:
Better Than Honour has a feature in this weeks issue of The Blood-Horse Magazine. (June 7, 2008) It is not available online so you will have to buy the magazine to read it. It explains the interesting sales history behind her and the legacy she has created and the plans for her currently.