JC / Railbird

Horses Archive

Final Prep

Big Brown breezed three furlongs in :38.66 over the Aqueduct turf course this morning in a final prep for the Haskell on Sunday. Asked why the surface change, trainer Rick Dutrow told DRF, “just felt like doing it; no reasoning to it.” Michael Iavarone gave Blood-Horse more:

“The dogs were way out off the rail, and it was just what we wanted; no gallop-out. It was just a lung opener. Rick decided to work on the turf just to protect his feet. God forbid if anything went wrong, like if he stepped on a rock or something like that. Rick said he had a nightmare with Rising Moon, and he didn’t want to have anything like that happen again.”

Rising Moon was vanned off following the Whitney last week with an injury that turned out to be a bruise in his left front foot, and he’s not the only horse Dutrow is having bad dreams about in the run-up to the Haskell:

“When we had Sis City and ran a sub-par race in the Oaks, she never ran another step again, even though she trained great,” Dutrow said. “I pointed her toward big races and she never showed up in any of them again. When something like that happens where horses just doesn’t run their race, and you don’t know why, then you’re concerned that it might happen again.”

What a change. Big Brown is training sharply and 1-2 on the Haskell morning line, but there are no hints of the “unbridled audacity” the trainer displayed through the Triple Crown season. The tension around the barn and the pressure Dutrow must feel to get a win on Sunday after the Belmont debacle has to be enormous. I don’t envy him.

Curlin’s Options Open

said trainer Steve Asmussen after the champion finished second in the Man o’ War. Why not help owner Jess Jackson decide what comes next? Via the Paulick Report:

He’s not quite Uncle Sam looking for a few good men and women to sign up for the U.S. Army, but Jess Jackson does want something from the public: their opinion…. the California winemaker and Thoroughbred horseman is seeking input from both fans and horsemen in an online poll on where 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin should race next.

Cast your vote here, any time before July 30. So far, returning to dirt or adventuring synthetic trail continuing on turf, which is what I’d love to see, with a fall campaign culminating in a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup. Dana has a similar poll up on Green but Game; there, turf is a runaway.


Some good news from trouble-plagued trainer Rick Dutrow, reports ESPN:

Calls to Dutrow for comment Monday were not returned, and he has stated he’s sworn off interviews for a while.

Let’s all enjoy the peace and quiet.
Related: Big Brown was unhurried in his first workout since the Belmont Stakes, going five furlongs in 1:06.73 at Aqueduct this morning. As in his work before the Belmont, Big Brown drifted out going into the turn. “Nice easy breeze,” said Dutrow after. As for the quarter crack, “It’s all good.”

Curlin Takes to Turf

And Churchill Downs has posted video of the morning move. Or, I should say, has posted a video of Ashley Walker and Jill Byrne talking about Curlin trying turf, with snippets of the seven furlong work (in company, around dogs) interspersed among their analysis, but you can get an idea of how he went (very well, clocking 1:31.20) from those bits.

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