NEW YORK Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. says he feels "like a loser" after Big Brown's stunning last-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, and he was still searching for answers Monday about what went wrong.
Big Brown became the first horse seeking the Triple Crown to finish last in 140 years of running the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.
"I feel like a loser right now, and I don't know why," Dutrow told the Daily Racing Form on Monday. "Usually when I get beat I can handle it the right way, and I've handled this the right way, but I just feel like something's not right."
Dutrow said he's been unable to find anything physically wrong with Big Brown. He said the quarter crack on the colt's left front hoof was fine and that he showed no signs of being sore.
The trainer did not return phone messages left by The Associated Press.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux eased up Big Brown with a quarter-mile remaining in the race, won by 38-1 long shot Da' Tara.
"I don't know why he had to do that," said Dutrow, who questioned Desormeaux's decisions in the race.
Entering the first turn, Desormeaux took a hard hold of Big Brown and yanked him to the outside, bumping with Anak Nakal before finding running room outside of Tale of Ekati while Da' Tara opened up a three-length lead around the clubhouse turn.
"I'm sure he didn't have any idea what the hell was going on going into the first turn the way (Desormeaux) was switching him all over the damn track," Dutrow said. "I don't know what he was doing."
Desormeaux said Monday that his plan was go to the lead but that Big Brown slipped coming out of the gate and that he was pinched back a length. He said that he pulled Big Brown up because he wasn't going to finish anywhere but last.
The loss was Big Brown's first in six career starts, including dominating performances in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Dutrow said that unless Big Brown shows signs of a physical problem, the colt will be pointed to the Travers Stakes on Aug. 23 at Saratoga and then the Breeders' Cup Classic in October.
"I want to keep going with him," he said. "I want him to run big next time and run big after that, and then it can be over."