Most Rick Dutrow-related discussion this week is, rather unsurprisingly, related to Big Brown’s race this weekend. However, a little snippet in the TT made me wonder what else is going on behind the scenes; it would seem that Gary Contessa, who has been engaging in a minor war of words with Dutrow of late, has claimed Dutrow’s ‘favorite’ horse, Mr. Umphrey – was it out of spite?
Dutrow singled out Mr. Umphrey as a barn favorite on May 16 in a press conference prior to Big Brown’s Preakness Stakes (G1) victory.
“He is like my brother,” Dutrow said.
Dutrow and Contessa exchanged sharp words through the media in June after Big Brown was pulled up in the Belmont Stakes (G1). They are stabled near each other at Aqueduct.
Ah yes, those sharp words. You may recall that Dutrow accused Contessa of doping his horses back in June:
You look at this jerk down here Contessa. How does he set records? How does he do it? Come on, man. If everything is the same playing field, we’re going to do as good if not better than anybody.”
“The guy is in recovery,” a stunned Contessa said in response. “It’s bizarre. I won’t lower myself to his level to say something about him.”
Bizarre indeed. In any event, here’s hoping Mr. Umphrey is happy in his new barn – the claim was probably cheaper than a lawsuit! More on Big Brown tomorrow…