Big Brown came from behind to win at the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park Sunday beating 20-1 long shot Coal Play by one-and-three-quarter-lengths.
A victory is a victory, even though it was unlike any of Big Brown's previous wins where he"destroyed" the field according to trainer Rick Dutrow. Like any good salesman, Dutrow spun the unimpressive victory by playing up the competition. "The other horse (Coal Play) ran a huge, huge race. That’s why maybe it looked like Brown didn't look like himself. But, man, in the last eighth of a mile, he really got himself together. He showed us that he’s back in town."
A week earlier, Representative Bobby L. Rush, chairman of the congressional subcommittee that investigated horse racing and performance-enhancing drugs during hearings in June, sent a letter to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (KHRA) asking why Dutrow only received a 15-day suspension for a positive test when the rules appeared to dictate a harsher penalty. The KHRA could have suspended Dutrow up to 60 days for a first offense and one to six months for a second offense. Dutrow has been fined or suspended at least once for the past 9 years. Apparently, the KHRA did not feel that Dutrow's previous missteps did not take place under their jurisdiction or simply were not relevant when netting out their current punishment for this transgression.
Look for more Congressional involvement in the sport after inconsistent enforcement of doping violations and look for a bit more skepticism from the public when it comes to Big Brown's earlier Winstrol-aided feats. The next confirmed race on Big Brown's schedule is the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25. Big Brown's owners (IEAH) have said all their horses will be PED-free by October 1st. If Big Brown wins at Santa Anita, don't expect him to "destroy" the competition.