NEW YORK (AP) Big Brown is on his way back to the races, his next start set for the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3.
Less than two weeks after Big Brown's Triple Crown attempt ended with an inexplicable last-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, co-owner Paul Pompa Jr. said the Haskell on the Jersey Shore will mark the colt's return.
"The race fits his style," Pompa said Thursday. "We were disappointed after the Belmont, and we needed to regroup. We did and the Haskell is the plan."
Big Brown has been training daily at Aqueduct Racetrack, while his poor performance in the Belmont remains a mystery to the owners and trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.
"Big Brown is healthy and our plan right now is to keep racing him this summer and fall," Dutrow said in a statement to a congressional committee investigating horse racing safety.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner never seemed comfortable in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, and jockey Kent Desormeaux eased up with a quarter-mile remaining.
The choice of the 1 1/8-mile Haskell over the 1 1/4-mile Travers Stakes on Aug. 23 at Saratoga was made based on the track and weather.
"Monmouth is a speed-favoring track and it's comparable to Gulfstream Park, which Big Brown is fond of," Pompa said, a reference to Big Brown's two overpowering wins at the Florida track before the Triple Crown races. "And the spacing between races sets up other options."