Print and Go Back ESPN.com: TripleCrown08 [Print without images]

Thursday, May 22, 2008
Updated: May 23, 11:58 AM ET
Trainer Dutrow Jr. confident Big Brown will bring home Triple Crown

ESPN.com news services

Casino Drive is being portrayed as a serious threat to keeping Big Brown from winning the elusive Triple Crown with a Belmont Stakes victory.

Casino Drive
Casino Drive, shown here winning the Peter Pan Stakes with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard, has history on his side at the Belmont Stakes. His close relatives won the last two Triple Crown races there.

But Big Brown trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. isn't buying the hype.

"He's got no chance of beating our horse," Dutrow told reporters Wednesday. "I'll be in the winner's circle when they get to the quarter pole. That's how I feel. I don't see that this horse can beat him."

Why is Casino Drive being talked up so much?

A $950,000 yearling purchase in 2006, Casino Drive is closely related to the last two Belmont winners: Jazil (2006) and the filly Rags to Riches (2007).

Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who guided Big Brown to victory in the Kentucky Derby, also was aboard the Japanese-owned Casino Drive for his first U.S. victory on May 9 in the Peter Pan Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park.

"He's a phenomenal talent," Desormeaux said. "We've got our hands full with this one. It's going to be ultimately exciting for all the fans. He's got that stride."

If Big Brown does win the Belmont Stakes, there still might be more races in his future.

Dutrow suggested that he is eyeing two more races for Big Brown: the Travers Stakes on Aug. 23 at Saratoga and the Breeders Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

"That's what I'd be most interested in," Dutrow told reporters. "I can't see anything else making sense for him this year. I don't want to go out and just keep running him in big races just to make money. That's no fun. He's going to need some time to get over these races after the Belmont."

Dutrow has been consistent in his comments since Big Brown won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, a day in which majority owners IEAH Stables sold breeding rights to Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky for reportedly more than $50 million.

Before Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby, IEAH co-president Michael Iavarone said Big Brown would not run next year as a 4-year-old.

Big Brown, who won the Kentucky Derby by 4 3/4 lengths before capturing the Preakness by 5 1/4 lengths, went for his first jog at Belmont Park early Wednesday morning. He did a lap around the main track.

"I wish it was now because our horse is good," Dutrow said of the Belmont Stakes, still 2½ weeks away. "I'm expecting things to just get better from here with the horse. The more he comes out of his race, the longer he is away from his race, the better he's going to be. Time is on our side right now, because our horse is good."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.