Big Brown Crushes Preakness Rivals

In a performance that was more like a coronation than a Thoroughbred horse race, Big Brown crushed his 11 rivals in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course Saturday afternoon by 5 1/4 lengths. The son of Boundary, who two weeks ago won the Kentucky Derby by 4 3/4 lengths, will now head to Belmont Park for the June 7 Belmont Stakes with a chance to become racing’s 12th winner of the Triple Crown.

The historic victory makes him one of four unbeaten horses to win both the Derby and Preakness, joining Majestic Prince (1969), Seattle Slew (1977), and Smarty Jones (2004). Only Seattle Slew was able to land the Triple Crown.

Before a crowd of more than 112,000 fans, Big Brown went off the 1-5 favorite and returned $2.40 to win as the lowest-priced winner since Spectacular Bid paid $2.10 in 1979. The final time for the 1 3/16 miles was 1:54.80. Big Brown is owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr. Just prior to the Preakness, it was announced that upon his retirement, Big Brown will stand at stud at Robert Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky.

Big Brown wins Preakness

Big Brown streaks under the wire all alone to win the 133rd Preakness Stakes.
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Ridden more than confidently by Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, Big Brown was tucked inside the first time by the winning post after breaking from the six-hole in the classic as Hey Byrn, Gayego, and Riley Tucker were out on the lead. The early fractions were :23.57 and :46.81. On the backstretch, Desormeaux was able to get Big Brown off the rail and to a clear spot just off the leaders.

Traveling clear and wide around the final bend after six furlongs in 1:10.48, Big Brown easily caught up to the leaders. Macho Again, who broke from the rail, inched up from eighth position down the backstretch and came with the widest move of all around the bend.

As they straightened away in the lane, Big Brown unleashed a tremendous turn of foot and put several lengths between him and his rivals in a mere 100 yards. After the devastating display of acceleration, Desormeaux eased up on the colt before they hit the sixteenth pole as he peeked behind for comptition and won "under wraps."

"He’s a freak of a horse; it was just the easiest win ever," said Desormeaux.

Winning trainer Rick Dutrow said, "Going down the backside when Kent got him out and he was laying third on the outside, I knew it was over. I only saw him ask for run once just to separate himself, then he guided him to the wire. It was beautiful."

Macho Again, winner of the Derby Trial, rallied to finish second at 39-1, finishing a half-length ahead of 22-1 shot Icabad Crane in third.

"He really ran great," said trainer Dallas Stewart of Macho Again. "He hooked a superstar, you know."

The remaining order of finish was: Racecar Rhapsody, Stevil, Kentucky Bear, Hey Byrn, Giant Moon, Tres Borrachos, Yankee Bravo, Gayego, and Riley Tucker. Behindatthebar was scratched May 16.

"He just keeps on getting better and keeps on getting stronger," said Dutrow right after the race. "He is special."

"When asked about the run for the Triple Crown in three weeks, Dutrow said, "It doesn’t look like he got down on his belly today. I know we have horse left. I’m going to be under the impression that he’s going to be tough to beat in the Belmont."

"To bring him back for the Triple Crown will be a dream come true," said Michael Iavarone, the major principal with IEAH Stables along with Richard Schiavo. "It’s going to be a fun, fun three weeks.

Big Brown is a 3-year-old colt by the pensioned stallion Boundary, out of the Nureyev mare Mien.

Big Brown broke his maiden at first asking at Saratoga last year on Sept. 3 going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. He did not return to the races until March 5. He defeated an allowance field by 12 3/4 lengths. He came right back March 29 and won the Florida Derby by five lengths as the 3-2 favorite. He then won the Kentucky Derby as the 2-1 favorite against 19 rivals. Only Gayego returned from the Derby to take him on in Baltimore.

In the past 11 years six horses have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown and gone on the Belmont with a shot at the Triple Crown: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (’98), Charismatic (’99), War Emblem (’02), Funny Cide (’03), and Smarty Jones ('04).

(Originally published at

About the Author

Evan Hammonds

Evan Hammonds is the Executive Editor for The Blood-Horse.

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