For anyone that has read this blog or Triple Crown Talk, there is no secret that I have never been the leader of the Big Brown bandwagon. I've always appreciated his excellence during the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but I had difficulty separating the human connections from the horse. Fair or not, that's just the way I am.
Despite not being a fan, I showed up at Three Chimneys on Wednesday for the breeders and media event which was designed to welcome the dual-classic winner to the Midway, Ky. farm, where he will begin his life as a stallion in the near future. And I have to admit, I came away from the event with a newfound liking for Big Brown.
As I always do when I visit Three Chimneys, the first thing I do is walk into the stallion barn and make an immediate left towards my favorite horse - Point Given. I must have missed the news that the 2001 Horse of the Year is performing his stallion duties in Brazil for a while, so imagine my surprise when I looked over and saw Big Brown in the stall normally occupied by Point Given.
After being informed by a co-worker about Point Given's vacation, I walked over to Big Brown. Not only is he a spectacular looking horse, but he has a very likable personality. He was active, made eye contact with me and just exuded the look of a winner. He was impressive. Then he walked right up to me, so naturally, we started talking.
After telling him what a terrific racehorse he was and apologizing in advance for not voting for him for Horse of the Year, I asked him the one question every racing fan wants to know:
"What happened in the Belmont?"
Apparently, I either annoyed him or overstepped my bounds, because it was at that point that Big Brown abruptly turned around, walked away and showed me his rear-end. I was not offended. I completely understood him not being ready to talk about it yet. It's still too soon.
Despite the way that our conversation ended, I came away with a brand new liking for Big Brown. It also helped that Three Chimneys has always been my favorite farm, has my favorite employees working there, and has my favorite crop of stallions. They put on a very classy event for the Big Brown welcoming, complete with a catered lunch, live band and a "Re-usable Brown Bag" tote which included some very nice gifts. It was a fun day.
So in closing, here's to my new friend, Big Brown. You will still never be my favorite, and I would appreciate it if you kindly give Point Given's stall back to him when he returns, but all in all, you're not so bad. I'm sure you'll have fun in your new career.
And who knows, maybe the next time I come back you'll be ready to talk about the Belmont.
Photo: Anne Eberhardt