“If everything goes perfect, I’d like to breeze him 3/8ths on Friday (at Aqueduct) and ship down to Monmouth on Saturday,” said trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., who conditions the colt for IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr. “He looks amazing. He’s shiny, he’s happy. He looks as good as he always has.”
“Except for his last race, he’s done everything you can ask a horse to do,” Dutrow said. “I don’t think the Monmouth surface will be a problem for him. I think it’s tailor-made for him.”
Big Brown has earned just over $2.7 million in his career. He broke his maiden at first asking on the turf at Saratoga last summer, after which IEAH Stables purchased a majority interest in the colt. He went on to take an entry-level allowance in his 2008 debut at Gulfstream on March 5, a race that was taken off the turf. He followed that up with a dominating score in the Florida Derby before going on to the Triple Crown races.
Expected to face off against Big Brown is Atoned, who goes out for Dogwood Stable, and will get blinkers on and the services of Edgar Prado for the Grade 1 Haskell. Prado rode the colt by Repent in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland earlier this year.
“He has been training well and is ready to face Big Brown on his home track,” said Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable.
Atoned is stabled with the Todd Pletcher string at Monmouth Park. He has been runner-up in his last two outings, the Spend a Buck and Long Branch Stakes, both at Monmouth. He sports a record of 2-3-0 from five starts at the Oceanport, N.J. racetrack.
Also ready to take on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner in Sunday’s Haskell are the Bill Mott-trained Alaazo; Nistle’s Crunch from the Ken McPeek barn; Magical Forest trained by Joe DeMola; and Cool Coal Man and Truth Rules, both conditioned by Nick Zito.
The Haskell will go as race 13 on a 14-race program and has a scheduled post time of 6:14 p.m. Sunday’s Monmouth card will get underway at noon with gates opening at 10:00 a.m.