Tuesday, May 20, 2008

End of the Drought?

Through the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Big Brown has been toying with the other horses. The question is, are the other horses toys? In both the Kentucky Derby and last weekend’s Preakness Stakes, jockey Kent Desormeaux barely had to ask Big Brown to run. He nudges him at the top of the stretch, and that’s it. In the Preakness, Desormeaux looked behind him a couple of times to make sure no one was in striking distance, and never went to the whip.

Both races have been incredibly impressive performances, and Big Brown can't help who his competition is, but this batch of 3-year-olds doesn’t seem particularly strong. Still, a win in the Belmont would make him the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years, and that speaks for itself. At least one racing expert believes any carping about the horse's accomplishments is silly.

Two things to watch for in the Belmont Stakes on June 7:

1. Casino Drive. This horse didn't run in the Derby or the Preakness, but he looked really good winning a big race at Belmont earlier this month. (His jockey in that race was Desormeaux, who will, of course, stay on Big Brown for the Triple Crown try.)

2. Long shots. Real long shots. Since 1999, three of the four horses who lost the Belmont after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown lost to horses who were 30-1 or more. (In 2002, winner Sarava went off at 70-1.)


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