BALTIMORE - Trainer Rick Dutrow said his Big Brown is a "go-over" horse at tomorrow's 133d Preakness Stakes.
As in: Go over to the betting window.
"Stop talking - go to the windows," Dutrow joked yesterday at the annual Preakness Alibi Breakfast.
The Kentucky Derby winner is a 1-2 morning-line favorite, with no other horse in the race better than 8-1.
"I know he looks like the best horse in the race," Dutrow said. "But you know, we still have two more races we have to get done, and they're all jammed up pretty close together. So we're hoping that he doesn't have to get on his belly for this race, so we have something left for the Belmont. That's really what we're hoping for, that he just goes out there and plays his game, nobody puts pressure on him, and he can have, like, not a real tough race. That's what we're really hoping to find here at Pimlico."
In fact, a lot of smart guys think Big Brown's biggest Triple Crown obstacle is waiting for him at the Belmont Stakes in Casino Drive, a colt with the same dam as the last two Belmont winners, Jazil and Rags to Riches. Casino Drive came over from Japan and won the Peter Pan Stakes last weekend at Belmont Park by 53/4 lengths.
With cameras following every step out of the barn, Big Brown looked completely calm yesterday going to the track for a 11/2-mile gallop.
"Big Brown's laid back," Dutrow said. "He just does not get excited. That's a good thing, especially at the big races. . . . When we were putting the bridle on him for the Derby, I wanted to check his temperature. I thought he was sick. He was just laying there, doing nothing. He didn't even care that we were getting ready to go over. It meant nothing to him at all."
Dutrow remembered the first time he got really excited about the horse, at the quarter pole the first time Big Brown ran for him.
"It just took my breath away," Dutrow said. "He had such a light training schedule going into that race. I never imagined that he could run like that. He must have some gears that just turn on when he wants to turn them on."