BALTIMORE,MD 05-19-2008 ---- Nearly 40 hours after Big Brown delivered a memorable 5 1/4 length victory in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (Grade I), the dual classic winner left the Pimlico stakes barn and headed to New Yorkfor a date with destiny as the son of Boundary will attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years in the $1 million Belmont Stakes (Grade I) at Belmont Park on June 7.
“I am feeling pretty confident about things,” trainer Rick Dutrow said. “I can see that he is sharp. Yesterday he was bouncing and today the same thing. He is doing good and that makes everything so much easier.”
Big Brown, who has won all of his five career races by a combined 39 lengths, is only the fourth horse to emerge from the Kentucky Derby and Preakness undefeated, joining Majestic Prince (1969), Seattle Slew (1977) and Smarty Jones (2004). Seattle Slew is the only horse in history to emerge undefeated from the Belmont Stakes and a Triple Crown sweep.
“I haven’t seen anybody that has made him run yet,” added Dutrow. “I have to believe that this race the other day was just an absolute super free race for the Belmont. He wasn’t under any pressure at any time in the race. It looks like the jock asked him for run for maybe a sixteenth of a mile just to separate him from the field to put the race away. After that point he just glided to the wire. We were really hoping for a race like that and we got it. We can’t complain about anything.”
Thirty-one other horses have left Pimlico with a chance at the Triple Crown, including six since 1997, with only 11 finishing what is described as the most elusive prize in sports. Dutrow is confident his star can join elite company.
“Everyone can see he is a special kind of horse,” Dutrow said. “As long as we can keep him well within himself, we’ll have a chance. Everybody is very excited about him and how can you not be. It looks like he has a chance at being one of the best ever. If we get beat in the Belmont we are just going to be amongst a whole lot of horses that almost got there so we need to win this race. He looks like by far that he is the best horse going into the race.”
After walking the shedrow at 8 a.m, the colt boarded the Brook Ledge van without incident and exited the Pimlico backstretch at 10 o’clock headed for the Big Apple.
“I haven’t been in New York for like three or four months,” joked Dutrow, who is based at Aqueduct. “I have like eight dinner reservations tonight. Whoever makes me the best offer is where I’ll go.”