Four days after Big Brown’s stunning loss in the Belmont Stakes vanquished hopes for the first Triple Crown in 30 years, Maurice native and jockey Kent Desormeaux is having to deal with more scrutiny and questions — this time from controversial Big Brown trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. The outspoken trainer had to eat a giant helping of crow after virtually guaranteeing Big Brown would win the race, infamously predicting his horse’s victory was a “foregone conclusion” and dismissing the rest of the field by saying, “These horses just cannot run with Big Brown.”
Desormeaux told Sports Illustrated’s Dan Patrick that Dutrow complimented him after the race, but the trainer was spouting a different story yesterday, blindsiding Desormeaux with a number of damning quotes in an Associated Press story — beginning with Desormeaux’s choice to ease up Big Brown in the final stretch.
“I don’t know why he had to do that,” said Dutrow, who questioned Desormeaux’s decisions in the race. ... Dutrow still blames Desormeaux, but he wouldn’t object to the jockey riding the horse in his next race. ... “I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially Kent,” Dutrow told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning in his barn at Aqueduct. “But I still don’t understand what happened. I don’t see the horse with a problem, so I have to direct my attention toward the ride. That’s all I can come up with. ... I’m sure he didn’t have any idea what the hell was going on going into the first turn the way [Desormeaux] was switching him all over the damn track. I don’t know what he was doing.”
After throwing Desormeaux under the bus, Dutrow and the jockey met this morning, and Dutrow backpedaled a bit on his comments. He told ESPN that he and Desormeaux are “back on target,” adding “I just feel better because he came by to talk about [the Belmont ride].”