Big Brown and Michelle Nevin
Saturday witnesses the 3rd leg of American Triple Crown, a Holy Grail unassailed since Affirmed completed the hat trick thirty years ago. The rage in 2008 is the undefeated Big Brown, who’s as likely a Triple Crown hero as Secretariat was in 1972, if his form to date is any indication.
BB is a rock star and he knows it. He does, however, go about his business in a more professional manner than the musician celebrities who frequently find their star tarnished because of the temptations surrounding them. Granted, the path of stall to racetrack to bath and back to stall might not be full of many pitfalls, but Thoroughbreds tend to get themselves in unique brands of trouble at a moment’s notice.
Big Brown is all business in his approach. It seems as though he hasn’t been rattled once since the Triple Crown began. Exercise rider Michelle Nevin probably put it best when she said they have a simple relationship - she lets him do what he wants and, as a result, he’ll let her do what she wants. Neither demands too much of the other, and their job becomes one. Easy enough, right? Tell that to the exercise rider on the many others who act like kindergarten kids on the first day of school.
Big Brown breezed Tuesday in his normal matter-of-fact fashion. He exudes an easy-going brilliance (sorry, Easy Goer, no disrespect, as you’ll always be one of my favourites) in the way he moves and covers ground.
Coming through the lane, you’d never have thought he’d put in an initial three-eighths in :35 1/5 and finish as nicely as he did. Back at the barn after Big Brown cooled out, Rick Dutrow Jr. could relax. He told me, “What else would you want? He went beautiful. We’ve never asked this colt for anything in the mornings, not once since we’ve had him.” Is that raw talent, or what?
Big Brown, avoiding the pratfalls in life as a Thoroughbred rock star, wouldn’t even indulge in the post workout peppermint that Rudy Rodriguez, jockey and exercise rider for Rick Dutrow, offered as he walked him.
“Rick, he’s all business, he doesn’t even want his mint today,” he offered. I couldn’t resist. “It’s okay, you can have the mint then, Rudy.”