Trainer Rick Dutrow said the 3-year-old colt, who was preparing for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Oct. 25, appeared to kick himself while working on the turf course at Aqueduct with stablemate Kip Deville. Big Brown was able to complete the six-furlong work when Dutrow noticed blood coming out of the foot.
“It looks like he grabbed himself in a bad spot,” Dutrow said.
Though the extent of the injury is unknown, Michael Iavarone of IEAH Stables, co-owners of Big Brown, said the horse who captivated the racing world during his Triple Crown bid will not race again.
“It’s in the best interest of the horse to let him recover and move on to his breeding career,” Iavarone said.
It means there will be no showdown in the BC Classic between Big Brown and 4-year-old star Curlin. The race was expected to be Big Brown’s last before retiring to stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky.
“This is devastating. He had a great work this morning, and we were very excited about going to Breeders’ Cup,” Iavarone said. “This is not only devastating to us, but to all of his fans who won’t get to see him run in the Classic.”
The injury caps a brilliant but somewhat controversial career for Big Brown, who won seven times in eight starts including dominant runs in the Derby and the Preakness.
His bid for the first Triple Crown since 1978 ended during a bizarre Belmont Stakes in which he was eased by jockey Kent Desormeaux at the turn and he trotted across the finish line in last.
The Belmont came after Dutrow admitted he took Big Brown off the anabolic steroid Winstrol, though Dutrow claimed the decision had nothing to do with Big Brown’s poor performance. The horse was also dealing with a painful quarter crack in his left front hoof. That injury is unrelated to the injury he sustained Monday.
Big Brown bounced back from the Belmont with wins in the Haskell Invitational and the Monmouth Stakes and was poised for a shot at Curlin, horse racing’s all-time leading money winner. Not anymore. Dutrow expressed disappointment but said the horse’s health is the highest priority.
“The best case scenario is he lives a real good life,” Dutrow said.