This morning, I stumbled out onto the lawn and grabbed the paper before the sea gulls could target it (or me). Once inside, I propped the paper up, set to peruse it with coffee in hand, when I sputtered in amazement: Hey! Hey! Hey!
There on the front page of the Boston Globe was not a photo of the Boston Celtics in their playoff bid for the NBA championship, nor a photo of the Red Sox, but rather a huge photo of Big Brown getting new shoes (and heels) yesterday at Pimlico in Baltimore, in preparation for tomorrow's Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown for three-year old Thoroughbreds.
(Sports, by the way, are front-page news here in Boston.)
I was surprised. Trainer Richard Dutrow obviously made a big change in plans here. Earlier this week, he said that Big Brown would not be re-shod for the Preakness, but that he would have Ian McKinlay work on the horse when he arrived in New York for the Belmont Stakes, the third race in the series.
Following the Kentucky Derby, farrier Tom Curl, who had worked on the horse through the winter in Florida, said that the feet came through the Derby very well and the adhesive wasn't cracked and the Yasha shoes were stable.
Obviously, they decided to give his feet a tuneup. The horse also went out for a light work over the Pimlico surface wearing bell boots to protect his new glue and a mud knot in his tail.
Other news this week was that Big Brown will not race as a four-year-old. He will go to stud sometime later this year. Also, if he does not win the Preakness tomorrow, he will not go on to the Belmont. But will he go on to Saratoga for the Travers and on to Santa Anita in the fall for the 2008 Breeders Cup?
Thanks to Yahoo.com sports desk for the following shots from a slide show of hoof repair specialist Ian McKinlay of New Jersey working on the Kentucky Derby winner.
Apparently, Ian drew quite a crowd yesterday, including Tom Hammond and Donna Brothers of NBC, so you may see Ian (or, more likely, the top of his head while he's working) on tomorrow's telecast of the race. Let's hope you see him in the winner's circle!
PS Friday Afternoon Update: Ian checked in and said that Big Brown's feet are "just fantastic", but that they had gotten a bit long. He just trimmed up the feet and reset the Yasha shoes and pads. He said that when he started, there was one guy standing around to watch and by the time he was into the job, the word was out and it "turned into a free-for-all".