WASHINGTON --- Big Brown's trainer appears to be a late scratch for today's House hearing on the safety of thoroughbred racing, removing the most anticipated witness from Congress' latest look at sports and steroids.
Rick Dutrow said Wednesday he has had a virus for several days and did not feel well enough to travel.
"I would go in a minute, but I just don't feel well," Dutrow said in a telephone interview. "To go down there when I'm not on top of my game would not be right."
The Subcommittee on Com-merce, Trade, and Consumer Protection had been looking forward to hearing from the trainer known for his candor and for methods that were brought into question after his star horse's stunning last-place finish at this month's Belmont Stakes.
Dutrow said he used a legal steroid on Big Brown -- although the last dose was given in April -- and the horse also ran the race on a quarter crack in the left front hoof .
"I'm sorry he's not here," said Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, the subcommittee's ranking Repub-lican. "We had a lot of questions for him."
BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: The Breeders' Cup Challenge is adding four races that will give the winners automatic bids to the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 24-25.
Three of the four added challenge races are automatic qualifiers for the new $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon.
The added races are the Green-wood Cup at Philadelphia Park, the Cougar II at Del Mar and the Turfway Park Fall Championship at Turfway Park in Kentucky. The one-mile Tiznow Stakes at Louisiana Downs is a qualifier for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.