The question that I will pose to readers is very simple: Did a dislodged shoe cause Big Brown to run so poorly the Belmont Stakes?
After weeks of speculation - Was it the quarter crack? Steroids? A poor ride by Desormeaux? Questionable training methods by Dutrow? Was he simply worn out by the grueling Triple Crown trail? - It now seems that there is a legitimate excuse for Big Brown's loss.
But are you buying it?
Obviously, pictures do not lie. The dislodged shoe can be seen plain as day. The question is, how much did it bother him? I've heard some racing insiders say it was probably only a minor annoyance and it did not cause him much discomfort. Still, others have compared it to a baseball player running with a torn cleat.
No amount of speculation will ever resolve this enigma, which will now go down in racing lore as a mystery akin to Spectacular Bid's unfortunate safety pin incident. It is now etched in horse racing history as an unsolvable riddle. Just another chapter in what is sure to become a best-selling book: "The Curse of the Triple Crown."
The only thing we know for sure is people will have different opinions about "The Shoe." My opinion? Well, I guess the only thing I'll say for sure is this is proof that there are no "foregone conclusions" when it comes to the Belmont. Okay, that was a cheap shot...