NEW YORK - Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. still blames Kent Desormeaux for Big Brown's stunning last-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, but he wouldn't object to the jockey's riding the horse in his next race.
The decision of whether to change jockeys is up to co-owner Michael Iavarone, Dutrow said.
"I don't want to hurt anyone, especially Kent," Dutrow said yesterday morning in his barn at Aqueduct. "But I still don't understand what happened. I don't see the horse with a problem, so I have to direct my attention toward the ride. That's all I can come up with."
With Big Brown trying to become the first Triple Crown champion in 30 years after dominant wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Desormeaux eased up the unbeaten colt with a quarter-mile remaining in the Belmont on Saturday.
"I had no horse. He was empty," Desormeaux said after the race.
Dutrow insisted yesterday he had found nothing wrong with Big Brown.
"Maybe next week if something starts going wrong with the horse, then I'll understand everything," he said.
Dutrow added, "As long as the horse stays the way that I see him right now, then things are just going to keep building up for me to know that it was the ride that did him in."
He said he hadn't spoken to Desormeaux, but "if he calls me I'll talk to him, sure."
If Big Brown is healthy, the plan is for him to run next in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 23 at Saratoga.
Dutrow had no regrets about his bombastic proclamation that Big Brown clinching the Triple Crown was a "foregone conclusion."