TEXT OF STORY
Scott Jagow: Tomorrow, the horse named Big Brown will try to make history by winning the Triple Crown. He’s already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Big Brown Clip: And they turn from home in the Preakness, and Big Brown has seized the lead! And he is pulling away. Big Brown’s doing it again — he is disappearing from the field. He’s in front by five!
Now it’s on to the final race, the Belmont. Big Brown is the 2-5 favorite. And a Triple Crown would be good for the business of horse racing. But there are other considerations with this horse. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.
Ashley Milne-Tyte: If Big Brown wins the Belmont Stakes tomorrow, he’ll be the first horse in 30 years to win the coveted Triple Crown. But not everyone’s excited.
Paul Swangard directs the Warsaw Center for Sports Marketing at the University of Oregon:
Paul Swangard: The underlying theme of some of this horse’s baggage has created this sour taste in many people’s mouth, where you find people actually rooting against the horse, when in many respects what the horse has done has been pretty remarkable on the track.
That baggage includes a trainer who’s been up for various drug violations, both horse and human. And a majority owner who told tall tales of a successful Wall Street past.
Steven Crist is publisher of Daily Racing Form. He says it’s the owners’ aggressive business tactics that turn off many fans.
Steven Crist: They’re planning to leverage their success with this horse into a much vaster fund, which they’ve likened to a hedge fund. And I think the intrusion of that kind of investment in racing is what’s put a few people’s noses out of joint.
But some are some are happy to look at the horse rather than his handlers. Lingering at an off-track betting shop in the middle of the afternoon, this racing fan didn’t want to give his name.
He said the antics of Big Brown’s colorful manager are irrelevant.
Crist: He’s been suspended, he’s had various things happen in his career. But right now he has the horse of a lifetime, and I wish him well.
A horse that despite being just 3 years old, will only race till the end of this year. After that, Big Brown will focus on siring the next generation of race horses. His owners have already locked in a return on their investment regardless of tomorrow’s result. A stud farm has paid more than $50 million for his breeding rights.
In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.