While it may seem as though it’s all Big Brown, all the time (and hey, you may as well get it while you can), there are, in fact, some older horses in training. Brass Hat (pictured) takes aim at the Louisville Handicap this weekend. He’ll be the high weight in the mile and a half race and he’s switching to Calvin Borel. As ever, Brass Hat, we salute you!
Of course, the Belmont is still the focus for the next few weeks. Jockey plans are still up in the air for Casino Drive; as mentioned before, top Japanese jockey Yutake Take is still under consideration, but I’m hoping they do opt for someone with a lot of experience over the track. There’s an ongoing discussion at TheRail — who would you pick?
Despite the long shadow Big Brown may cast over the field, there will still be competition — Barclay Tagg’s assistant Robin Smullen summed it up best:
“Big Brown is a pretty formidable character,” Smullen added. “I’m hoping for us that we run well, and win. Both Smarty (Jones in 2004) and Funny (Cide) looked unbeatable coming into it — when they win the first two legs the way they did, they look unbeatable. Maybe Big Brown is — but there’s a ton of people willing to try if he’s not.”
That’s not to say there is no good news from the breeding world; Azeri has delivered a heathy Giant’s Causeway filly. However, even in retirement, horses can become the focus of messy lawsuits; in the case of It’s No Joke, there’s only a few hundred thousand dollars in dispute; imagine how that might go with a hedge fund at stake!