Triple Crown Watch
Da'Tara won the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, dashing Big Brown's hope of a Triple Crown sweep.
Big Brown, racing with a slight quarter crack to his left front hoof, was eased up at the top of the stretch by jockey Kent Desormeaux.
Dominant in winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Big Brown was attempting to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 and 12th overall.
Instead, he became the 11th horse since Affirmed reached racing immortality to win the first two jewels, only to fall short in the grueling one-and-a-half mile Belmont.
Big Brown was an overwhelming favorite in the race dubbed the 'Test of the Champion'.
Big Brown, dominant in winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, was overshadowed by 38-1 longshot Da'Tara, jogging home to a last-place finish.
It was certainly not the 'foregone conclusion' that trainer Rick Dutrow Jr had predicted.
'He was keen to go on early,' Desormeaux said.
'He broke so hard. I got him out early and just cantered down the backside. A couple of times, he thought it was time to go and jumped into the bridle a couple of times.
'But I had no horse, and when I realised something was wrong, I knew he wouldn't be fifth.
'He's the best horse I've ever been on, so I took care of him.'
Track doctor Larry Bramlage said early indications showed the horse was not injured.
'He looked fine during the race,' Bramlage said.
'All I saw was when Desormeaux slowed him down. The veterinarian inspection team did not find anything wrong with him and he was not lame.'
This article is a reprint from rte.ie. To view the original story, click here.
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