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Big Brown goes bigger

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No, guys, Big Brown is not a well-endowed UPS guy. He's a current favorite among colts pointing at the Kentucky Derby, which is just a month away. But you might take your attention off KOTH for just a minute and catch a look at this spectacular hunk of horseflesh, because the buzz about him is enormous.

He's not just big on looks -- a gorgeous golden chestnut with that "look of eagles" in his eyes that tells you a lot about a racehorse's spirit and will to compete. No, it's the big way that The Brown does things. He has a big long stride, and gets the job done in 4th gear. In just three starts since his maiden, he has won by a total of 24 lengths. In the $1 million Florida Derby this weekend, with Ken Desormeaux aboard, he went to the lead early and cruised easily to a 5-length win.

Desormeaux says this may be one of the best horses he's ever ridden. "My Derby horse," he says.

The ownership money behind Big Brown is big too. Earlier this spring, he was purchased for $20 million. Subsequently IEAH Stables bought a major interest in his ownership for many more millions (amount not disclosed). Trainer Rick Dutrow can hardly say enough good things about the colt. "This is the kind of horse that you just try to stay out of his way," he says.

What will happen when Big Brown meets a big speed horse that will make him go to top gear? Nobody knows. There's a potential big problem too. The colt has chronic quarter cracks, so his hoofs are ouchy, and he may not do well on the hard dirt track at Churchill Downs. His humans are working hard big-time to get him to the Derby as sound as possible. -- Patricia Nell Warren