Dutrow Jr. liv­ing a Ken­tucky Derby dream with Big Brown

Big Brown ex­pected to win Derby on Satur­day

The Covington News - - Sports - By Richard Rosen­blatt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — About 10 years ago, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.’s ad­dress was Barn 1, Tack Room D, Aqueduct Race­track, New York. Park Av­enue, it wasn’t. “I loved it,” he said, a hardy laugh fol­low­ing. “I was right there in the barn with my horses. I had my mi­crowave set up. I was good. Re­ally. If I lost ev­ery­thing and had to do it again, I’m there.”

From there to here, Dutrow has emerged as one of the na­tion’s top train­ers. He also hap­pens to have the ex­pected fa­vorite for Satur­day’s Ken­tucky Derby in un­beaten Big Brown.

And Dutrow doesn’t think his 3-year-old bay colt can lose.

“I feel very con­fi­dent that if Big Brown breaks with the field, he’s go­ing to run a big race,” he said. “I just haven’t seen any other horse with my eyes that can beat him.”

The al­ways en­gag­ing Dutrow held cen­ter stage for more than 30 min­utes Tues­day morn­ing at the me­dia cen­ter on the back- side of Churchill Downs. While it was chilly out­side, Dutrow was inside warm­ing a crowd of about 75 peo­ple with tales of his strug­gles, sus­pen­sions and so­cial life.

He said the hard­est part of his job is wak­ing up at 4:30 ev­ery morn­ing, “be­cause I like to hang out with my peo­ple, and I can’t be do­ing that all the time.”

Of his nu­mer­ous sus­pen­sions, many for med­i­ca­tion vi­o­la­tions, Dutrow said: “Half of them I de­served, half of ‘em I didn’t.”

Asked if he ever brought women back to his digs at Aqueduct, his eyes bright­ened, he smiled and then an­swered.

“Yeah,” he said. “If I wanted to take out some girl, she’d say, ‘Where am I go­ing to meet you?’ I’d say, ‘Meet me at the barn.’

“Ac­tu­ally,” he con­tin­ued, “I never should leave the barn be­cause when I leave the barn that’s when trou­ble starts. When I’m in the barn, I’m just there with my horses and it’s good.”

It’s been all good for Dutrow lately.

The son of the late Mary­land horse­man Dick Dutrow came to New York and started with no horses and liv­ing in a tack room, usu­ally used as a back­stretch stor­age area. Since then he’s moved way up in class, and has a pub­lic stable of more than 100 horses. In 2005, he won two Breed­ers’ Cup races, the Clas­sic with Horse of the Year Saint Liam and the BC Sprint with Sil­ver Train. Last year, Kip Deville won the BC Mile.

This year has been sen­sa­tional. Big Brown was sent to his barn af­ter IEAH Stable bought a 75 per­cent share of the bay colt for a re­ported $3 mil­lion. On the same day Big Brown won the Florida Derby at Gulf­stream Park in Hal­lan­dale, Fla., on March 29, Dutrow won two rich races in Dubai with Benny the Bull and Di­a­mond Stripes.

When IEAH was look­ing to bring in a trainer when they be­gan up­grad­ing their stable a few years ago, they turned to Dutrow.

“We knew there were some is­sues, we checked it out and de­cided to go with him,” IEAH co-pres­i­dent Michael Iavarone said. “We wanted a trainer with a lot of abil­ity but didn’t have a barn­ful of qual­ity. We knew Rick could han­dle the qual­ity horses. It’s worked our great.”

Dutrow faced early hoof prob­lems with Big Brown be­fore get­ting him ready to run, but is now set for the race of his life.

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