"This is his niche," said Horning, who trains a half-dozen horses. "This is where he is most comfortable, in the barn. I wouldn't expect anything different from him. I watched the Kentucky Derby on TV. ... I mean, it was scary. Horses just don't have a turn of foot like that."
But Big Brown does, and he does it so well that it makes it hard for his trainer to restrain himself.
Shortly after winning the Preakness, Dutrow said he wasn't surprised to win because he had a good horse and knew it was a race "where they didn't have good horses running."
Yesterday, he might have irritated the rest of horse racing even more. With a growing field waiting for him at the Belmont - at least three Derby horses have declared their intentions - he said there are just three 3-year-olds who can even approach the level of Big Brown.
Dutrow reeled off the Todd Pletcher-trained Harlem Rocker, who will run in the Queen's Plate on June 22 outside Toronto; Kiaran McLaughlin's Lieutenant Ron, out with an injury; and Casino Drive, who shipped in from Japan to win the Grade II Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 10. Casino Drive is pointed to the Belmont.
"Those are the only three horses I've seen that Big Brown would have to run against to show that he's better than them," Dutrow said. "All the rest of them aren't in the same game. I'd like to have Casino Drive, but I don't see him beating Big Brown."