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Nadal romps, Big Brown flops

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Well, at least one sporting favorite decided to show up this weekend, the athlete on two legs not the one on four.

In Paris, Rafael Nadal crushed Roger Federer in straight sets for the most lopsided French Open final since 1977 and the first time since 1999 that Federer lost a set 6-0. Nadal, in winning his fourth straight title in Paris, is 28-0 in the French Open. “He dominated from the first point until the end,” said Federer. Excellence, though, can be a bit boring and there was little doubt from the start of the tournament that Nadal was going to win again. He is the best on clay. Fortunately for Federer, the next major is on the grass at Wimbledon, where last year he beat Nadal in five exciting sets.

In the horse racing world, Big Brown was the biggest favorite to collapse since the Patriots in the Super Bowl , but at least New England put up a good fight. Big Brown, in contrast, finished last in the Belmont despite being a prohibitive 1-4 favorite. I wish I had bet on 38-1 winner Da' Tara.

Big Brown's anemic effort in the Belmont contrasted with his dominance in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and raised questions as to whether the horse's success was fueled by steroids.

Worst of all for Big Brown’s connections, perhaps, were the questions about steroids. [Trainer Rick] Dutrow told The New York Times last week that Big Brown had not had his usual shot of the anabolic steroid Winstrol since April 15, enough time for the drug to leave his system.

Was Big Brown’s poor performance because of his lack of “juice?”

“He wasn’t on steroids for the Preakness,” [part owner Michael] Iavarone said. “There is a million things that could have got him beat. If people are going to say that no Winstrol got him beat, they are going to say that.”

Having an athlete win while on the juice is no surprise these days, and in Big Brown's case he can't be blamed since he was not the one to make the choice to take them. His loss makes it 30 years and counting since a horse won the Triple Crown. --Jim Buzinski