Monday, June 30, 2008

Big Brown: Does the Shoe Fit?

Photo by Bob Mayberger

We all hoped that Big Brown would capture the Triple Crown and end the long and frustrating 30 year draught with no winner. When he "ran out of gas" during the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the prestious series, speculation was rampant. What stopped him from losing the only race in his racing career to that point in time? Was it the hot weather? Was it related to the lay off in exercise as he recovered from yet another problem with his hoof? Was it that he was boxed in or that he had been bumped by another horse? Why was he pulled up and just allowed to gallop at his leisure across the finish line with a very disappointing last place finish?

While this may be old news for some horse racing fans, I was totally blown away when I discovered, while surfing the 'net this morning, what may actually be the real story and what may have caused this major upset.

Michael Iavorone, co-president of IEAH Stables, thinks that he has discovered what really happened on that sultry, hot afternoon. Free-lance photographer, Bob Mayberger took a revealing photograph which clearly shows a nail sticking straight up Big Brown's right hind hoof. Iavorone suspects that the shoe was hit by another horse's hoof early on in the race, which meant that Big Brown ran 1 1/4 miles with a "dislodged shoe and the nail sticking out."
Another photograph revealed that Guadalcanal's left hind foot stepped on Big Brown's right hind as the horses made contact.

This certainly seems to be a rather compelling cause for Big Brown's disappointing performance, that day, which as far as I am concerned, trumps any controverial explanations offered after the race.

As far as I am concerned, I wonder if the shoe became loose after Big Brown kicked the stall wall shortly after his move into the secure area stall. He sure didn't seem happy there at all. But that is only a speculation on my part, and one that I suspect will never be validated.

Do you think that the loose shoe explanation is sound? Does it help to dispel nasty rumors? Leave a comment and let us know how you feel.


Anonymous said...

No matter what the cause I am just thankful the jockey pulled him up. This probably prevented possible further injury.

Vicki said...

I don't know when or how the shoe became loose. I do know that it would be like comparing a human trying to run wearing flip flops with a nail jabbing you in the heal. Not a pretty picture.

catwalks said...

I think that due to all the stuff that went on--including the heat, the deep track, the fact that BB was out of sorts at the beginning, the bad handling by his jockey, and the flip-flop shoe with a nail--Big Brown said to himself, "This is ridiculous!" and quit. I actually think he was quite sensible. Oh, and coming down off steroids. We'll see if he's the same after he's really off of them. I hope he is, because I have a great fondness for him. He reminds me of my neighbor's wonderful big brown dog.


Anonymous said...

The shoe (in the photo) certainly does not fit;your decscription of things certainly does. It's a wonder this situation has not been highlighted, in any big way, generally speaking. Taking into consideration, as well, the coments of others, on this blog,I see very much to be seriuosly considered. I am grateful for the jockey's care!


Pam said...

It was on the news here in Southern CA a couple of weeks ago that the shoe had come loose when it was stepped on early in the race. What I don't understand is why this wasn't noticed or reported within hours since there's no way you could miss it.

Markie'sGrandmom said...

I definitely think the loose shoe could have made him feel lame or "off" to his jockey. My daughter has a TB ex-track horse and on the few occasions that she has had a loose shoe, DD realized that the horse was "off" as soon as the horse begain trotting. I can see that under similar circumstances Big Brown's jockey would pull him up just b/c he felt "off". I find it interesting that jockey's are criticized for not pulling up a horse that later breaks down, but when they do pull one up, they get maligned as well. Sadly it seems that they "can't win", unless they actually win the race. If Big Brown were my horse and he felt off to the jockey, I would have wanted his jockey to pull him up. No race is worth a horse's life.