2008 Belmont Stakes Recap
Allen Jerkens has earned his reputation as “The Giant Killer” by repeatedly beating big favorites with longshots in high profile races. Nick Zito is well on his way to earning a nickname of his own. After upsetting the past two Triple Crown attempts, maybe it’s time to start calling him “The Dream Killer”. Although, there were seven other trainers this year whose horses just as effectively ended Big Brown’s Triple Crown dream. Big Brown didn’t beat anyone.
Big Brown staggered home in last place and rather than continuing on down the stretch to cool out like normal, he hung a quick right just past the finish line and left the track long before the other runners returned to be unsaddled. I can’t say I blame him. I’d want to get off the track as soon as possible after that uninspired performance.
As of late Sunday night, there were no reports indicating a physical problem with the horse. Neither the jockey or the trainer were able to offer any explanation for Big Brown’s lack of response when he needed it most. Maybe he just wasn’t in the mood.
It may be that Big Brown was just too lightly raced to withstand the stress of three big races in a five week span. Maybe with a few more races under his belt he would have been professional enough to dig a little deeper when he wasn’t at his best. There will be another Triple Crown winner someday, but it will take a tough, talented, and professional race horse to get it done. There are no shortcuts to a Triple Crown.
Hat tip to Nick Zito for envisioning this result. He knew before the race his horse had a chance to steal the race on the front end. I wish I had spent a few minutes myself considering the possibility.