Big Brown failed in his bid to become horse
racing's 12th Triple Crown winner when he finished dead last to Da'
Tara, the longest shot on the board, in the Belmont Stakes on
Da' Tara went wire to wire to beat eight other thoroughbreds
over 1½ miles, the longest and toughest of the three classics.
"I had no horse," said Big Brown's jockey, Kent Desormeaux.
All week long, Big Brown's trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr., said the
horse's victory was "a foregone conclusion." He turned out be
The bay colt's disappointing performance followed convincing
victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He failed on the
same track where 10 horses had been beaten since Affirmed won the
Triple Crown in 1978.
Dutrow was second-guessed all week about his handling of a
quarter crack in Big Brown's left front hoof, which surfaced after
the Preakness and wasn't patched until Friday. He also came under
scrutiny after admitting using legal steroids on Big Brown, even
though the colt's last dose was in April.
Big Brown was rank at the start and failed to respond when
Desormeaux asked him to run in the last turn. At that point,
Desormeaux eased him up.
The loss hit Desormeaux especially hard.
"This horse is the best I've ever ridden," he said.
"Something's wrong, and I took care of him."
Desormeaux lost a 1998 Triple Crown bid by a nose on Real Quiet,
and that ride was questioned throughout the business. Desormeaux
struggled to get good horses and reach the same heights again.
Big Brown's path seemingly became easier when Casino Drive,
considered to be his main rival, was scratched in the morning
because of a bruised left hind hoof.