Local horse-racing fans flocked to Remington Park June 8, which bristled with excitement and anticipation of a possible Triple Crown winner for the first time in 30 years. After Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness events, betting lines were lengthy and hopes were running high for the horse to win the Belmont Stakes.
The color of the day, of course, was brown. Promotionally speaking, UPS had taken advantage of the situation by parking several of its big brown trucks near the infield, and it seemed to the naked eye as if most of the Remington crowd had donned their favorite chocolate-colored shirt or skirt in a show of solidarity.
Just under two-and-a-half minutes after the bell sounded and the gates crashed open, the same level of disappointment that had haunted 10 other horses over the past 30 years " who, like Big Brown, had an opportunity to capture the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont " was resurrected.
Not only did Big Brown not win, he finished dead last after his jockey pulled him up near the home stretch, saying afterward the horse had nothing left to give.
As Da' Tara and the rest of the field stormed to the finish line, leaving Big Brown in their wake, one could feel the air rush out of the crowd at Remington Park and the disbelief set in.
The crowd was disheartened, saddened and mostly just stunned.
Except for the few folks (and the owners) who tossed in some side money on Da' Tara, who won the race by more than five lengths, there were a lot of unhappy faces amongst the masses. What looked like a sure thing proved to be another pretender, at least on this day.
And once again, history would have to wait. "Jay C. Upchurch