Big Brown’s cracked left hoof
(Al Bello/Getty)

Dan Gelston from the Associated Press reports the following regarding speculation around Big Brown’s cracked hoof :

Big Brown’s bombastic trainer has no concerns about the colt’s slightly cracked hoof.

Rick Dutrow Jr. wishes everyone else would stop worrying how his horse will handle running with a patch on the quarter crack.

“I don’t understand it,” Rick Dutrow said Tuesday. “The horse is fine, the quarter crack has not been an issue for some time now. He breezed great, he’s cooling out good, there’s no blood. What else is there?”

Only a shot at racing history. When Big Brown tries for a win in the Belmont and the first Triple Crown since Affirmed completed the sweep 30 years ago, the colt will do it with an acrylic patch on his left front hoof.

Dutrow become agitated with each question about the crack. He was right when he predicted Big Brown would win the Kentucky Derby. He was on the money with his bold boasts about the Preakness. And he expects to win big again in the Belmont on Saturday: Big Brown will sweep the three jewels of the Triple Crown, bad feet and all.

“We have the best horse,” Dutrow said. “I’m as confident as I’ve ever been.”

Dutrow said Big Brown’s hoof has held up strong after his workouts this week, and no blood has been spotted. That might have been the only issue that could give Dutrow any reason to pull back on his grandiose Triple Crown proclamations. Fittingly, Big Brown has pulled through like a champ.

“This horse has got good karma,” Dutrow said. “No matter what you throw at him, he’s going to be ready.”

Big Brown wasn’t expected to get much of a test Wednesday morning. With rain in the forecast, he’ll take a walk around the barn, a jog Thursday and gallop Friday, when hoof specialist Ian McKinlay is set to glue the acrylic patch on the hoof.

Big Brown wowed a small crowd on Tuesday morning, running five furlongs in 1:00.03 with Dutrow and co-owner Michael Iavarone looking on near the finish line. Even Funny Cide, whose 2003 Triple Crown bid was derailed on a sloppy Belmont track, stood near the rail watching Big Brown in between his stable pony duties.

Thousands more—fans, family, and bettors—will hold their breath and watch Saturday with a Triple Crown at stake. This is the first time since Smarty Jones raced for the most prestigious title in the industry in 2004 that the Belmont can decide a Triple Crown winner.

Watch Smarty Jone’s bid for the 2004 Triple Crown