BALTIMORE ó Big Brown in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes is similar to Tiger Woods in any golf tournament. The focus is all on him.
He is the early 1-2 favorite to win this race and even money to also win the Belmont Stakes on June 7 and become horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.
Big Brown’s chances got even stronger Friday when one of his legitimate challengers, Behindatthebar, was scratched because of a bruise on the inside of his left hoof. Trainer Todd Pletcher noticed it during a morning gallop.
Behindatthebar was supposed to start from post position No. 5. So Big Brown will now start from the No. 6 hole instead of No. 7 in a field of 12.
That doesn’t change the consensus among the experts who are picking the Kentucky Derby winner to win the Preakness. The track is expected to be fast under partly cloudy conditions after it rained Friday, and Big Brown is expected to breeze his way to his fifth victory in five races and take home the $600,000 first prize from the $1-million purse.
However, Big Brown’s jockey, Kent Desormeaux, offered a couple of reminders that anything can happen.
In 2000, Desormeaux rode favored Fusaichi Pegasus to victory in the Derby. It was the first time the favorite had won a Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979. Then Fusaichi Pegasus went into the Preakness as a 1-5 favorite and got beat by Red Bullet, who ran the race of his life.