Two weeks between the Derby and Preakness is a concern for Rick Dutrow, the trainer of Big Brown. Big Brown and the two weeks between starts ultimately is such a concern for the connections of the 19 Derby participants that none will make the sojourn to crab cake country.
(It’s been a while since I’ve been there, but Michael’s, near the Timonium training center, makes great crab cakes. You know; more crab, less bread crumb. Please forgive this digression).
Actually, Dutrow has a reputation for being a master of the quick turn-around. He has great stats with horses returning in less than 10 days. Sometimes, the shorter the layup, the better. But he's not shown he can get those results at this level and has had most of his quick turnaround success with sprinters. This doesn't mean he can't, and doesn't mean that two weeks is somehow equivalent to five days.
Let’s all remember, too, that Big Brown's tender feet and the hard, sealed Churchill Downs surface over which he remained undefeated and became the stuff of Derby lore, are a concern.
In all likelihood, Big Brown will get passed a dozen rivals or so and head back home with a chance to become the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner.
I realize we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but the repatriated Casino Drive conjured memories of Coastal winning Saturday’s Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park. For you youngsters, or the brain-addled, such as myself, Coastal , in his role as safety-pin helper, foiled the Triple Crown bid of the great Spectacular Bid in 1979.
The drying out Belmont Park surface was getting faster as day turned into evening, but 1:47.82 is rolling on anybody's racetrack. Considering it was only his second lifetime start, and his first since late February, winning by nearly five lengths following a slow start while breaking from the rail out of a chute, we have a potentially exciting Belmont Stakes match-up.
Hey, has anyone ever won the Belmont in his third lifetime start? And, considering that Kent Desormeaux was aboard Casino Drive in the Peter Pan, who will ride the Japanese star in the Belmont?
Well, here we go again. But for now let’s soldier on to Baltimore and hope that Big Brown takes care of business. They’ll be putting ‘em in the Elmont infield if the undefeated winner of the first two legs meets another undefeated rival whose siblings, Jazil and Rags To Riches, just happened to win the last two runnings of the Test of the Champion.