I love the horse Big Brown.
But I do not love the package that Big Brown comes in, nor the blueprint for his future. For that reason I do not see that his winning the Belmont and the Triple Crown (for the first time in thirty years) is going to be a great panacea for racing.
His presence in the Belmont will bring an unaccustomed horde to the race track that day. If he wins, there will be a tumult. He will be a hero for awhile – but not for long. I’ll bet he’ll be whisked away to Three Chimneys farm in Kentucky to begin his breeding career immediately, midst concerned murmurings about his delicate feet.
Hell, what racing needs are racehorses that race: stars, not stallions. The game is turning into an exercise to breed horses so that they can breed other horses. A good old hard-knocking gelding would do more for racing than Big Brown’s meteoric arrival and departure from the scene. Big Brown is going to provide residual benefits only to the people who made money selling him from one to another… and to the breeding farm, and some market breeders. But will racing benefit from his sweeping the Triple Crown? Not if he leaves the stage. Is the attendance at race tracks across American going to increase just because Big Brown won the Triple Crown and then vanished? Of course not!
Eight of the eleven Triple Crown winners went on to race at four. Another was injured and the other two finished out their three-year-old years with a full schedule facing older horses.
Then too, a contributing factor to the luster of past Triple Crown winners has been the personalities of their human connections. Did not Penny Chenery and her team add something to Secretariat’s image; the Taylors and Hills, and Billy Turner to Seattle Slew’s persona? The illustrious names of King Ranch, William Woodward, Samuel Riddle, Steve Cauthen, Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, Max Hirsch attend other Triple Crown winners.
What sort of impact will Michael Iavarone and Rick Dutrow have on Big Brown’s place in history? Indeed, what sort of impact on racing?
This is Cot Campbell and this is my view.