Big Brown rested, ready to resume training

ELMONT, N.Y. -- After a restful three weeks following his last-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown is about to resume serious training in preparation for the second half of his 3-year-old season, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Friday.

Big Brown has done little more than jog since the Belmont, but Dutrow said the horse was likely to begin regular gallops over the weekend with a possible workout as early as Tuesday. Big Brown is being pointed to the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3.

"He's doing really good, he's eating everything, he looks like a picture, he's as happy as he can be," Dutrow said. "It looks like he's gained a little bit [of weight]. Right now, his belly looks good. I'm ready to proceed."

Dutrow said that Big Brown - who has been training without shoes - would likely be re-shod Monday by Ian McKinlay, the hoof lameness specialist who worked on Big Brown's quarter crack in his left front foot before the Belmont.

"I think we're putting his shoes back on Monday," Dutrow said. "I'll gallop him up to Monday and then maybe Tuesday I'll start breezing him, I'm not sure."

While the Haskell remains Big Brown's first objective, Dutrow did not rule out running him back in the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 23.

"In a perfect world, I would like to see him win the Haskell and Travers, but especially my world, it's not perfect," Dutrow said.

Dutrow added that he has not bought into any of the myriad of theories being presented about why Big Brown ran so poorly in the Belmont.

"I think that the first half-mile of the race the trip that he got was one of the worst trips that you'd ever want to see," Dutrow said. "After that, I can't explain it."

Dutrow said recent photos that show Big Brown's right hind shoe being dislodged early on don't prove anything to him.

"I know there's other people that believe that's what happened, and man I hope they're right," he said. "I hope that's all it was ... a spread shoe behind."

Dutrow said he'll feel better about Big Brown after he sees the horse gallop and breeze.

"Once we gallop him, I'll be feeling very good if Michelle tells me he's great," Dutrow said, referring to exercise rider Michelle Nevin. "Once we breeze him, I'll be feeling very good if she tells me he's the same horse."