Big Brown is back

While the circumstances of his defeat in the Belmont Stakes will always be a major part of his legacy, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown further stamped his legitimacy today, winning the Haskell Invitational by doing something he’d never had to do — running down a pace-setting leader in late stretch.

Big Brown stalked the Nick Zito-trained Coal Play throughout the race, and still hadn’t caught him in midstretch, but kept coming under a hard ride by Kent Desormeaux to catch Coal Play in the final jumps, in the middle of the track.

It wasn’t the kind of win over top-flight competition that Big Brown will have to show in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and it wasn’t the dominating show Big Brown had put on in winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but it does set up some intrigue for the home stretch of horse racing’s year, leaving the question now of whether a rejuvenated Big Brown will get a matchup against superhorse Curlin before the former is put out to stud at the end of his 3-year-old season.

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