Big Brown was back on the track a day earlier
than expected, and trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said he looks as good as
ever - maybe even better.
The Triple Crown hopeful went out for a 1½-mile jog around
Belmont Park on a rainy Tuesday morning, the first time since
Friday the unbeaten colt was out exercising since a quarter crack
was discovered on the inside of his left front hoof.
"I was very happy with this move," Dutrow said outside barn 2,
where Big Brown was being walked around by exercise rider Michelle
Asked if he looked as good as he did before winning the
Preakness on May 17, Dutrow said, "He might look better."
Big Brown will attempt to become the first Triple Crown champion
in 30 years, since Affirmed in 1978, in the Belmont Stakes on June
On Monday, hoof specialist Ian McKinlay treated the
three-quarter inch crack, stitching it up with stainless steel
wire. By Monday afternoon, Dutrow and McKinlay spoke and decided if
the hoof looked good Wednesday morning, the trainer would make the
call on how to proceed with his Kentucky Derby and Preakness
"I felt him going to the track was not only good for his
conditioning, but also good for his mind," Dutrow said of his
decision to get to the track earlier rather than wait a day. "He's
been kind of aggravated. He don't know why he's not going to the
track. He just doesn't understand why he's not doing it. And we
can't explain it to him. So we let him go out there today and take
the edge off of him. He's just getting too rough around the barn."
After Big Brown returned from the track, he was given a sponge
bath and led around the inside of the barn by Nevin. At one point,
he pulled Nevin to a stop at the end of the barn to pose for
photographs until Dutrow shooed Big Brown away.
Asked if the wet weather was a concern, Dutrow said, "Not at
Dutrow said his training plans are not yet finalized but hopes
Big Brown will have his final workout before the Belmont as early
McKinlay was not at Belmont on Tuesday, but will examine Big
Brown as planned Wednesday to make sure the healing process is on
"Ian's excited about this," Dutrow said. "He's not going to
let anything get away from us. He'll be around."