Watch Out for the Mule

Following Big Brown's easily anticipated but hard-earned Haskell victory, trainer Rick Dutrow suggested that Curlin, the assumed other fastest horse in the world, wasn't in the same class as his horse.

Jess Jackson, prinicipal owner of Curlin, who along with Big Brown share's a Preakness victory if little else, offered to meet Big Brown in the Woodward at the Spa on Aug. 30 but Michael Iavarone, part-owner of Big Brown, said his horse was still too tired from the Haskell.

Jackson countered with the offer of an encounter next month in the Jockey Club Gold Cup but Big Brown's camp said they were looking for a turrf race in mid September with the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita the eventual target.

But Jackson does not seem to like the synthetic surface at Santa Anita and will likely not send his horse West.


So plenty of races but no head to head.

An unofficial poll conducted by this writer had about 10 voters choosing Curlin over Big Brown in any match-up, with not one racetracker feeling that Big Brown was, at least any more, his equal.

Two people expressed the belief that Big Brown wouldn't even run again.

Do the two groups realize the possibility that Commentator could outrun them both?

Enter the mule.

On Saturday in Fernwood, California, Black Ruby, the greatest racing mule in history, will return from a year's layoff to make her 100th start (HRTV).

"Ruby," at the ripe old age of 16, has managed to win 58 times, with 17 seconds, and 14 thirds while banking $236,085.

That's Donald Trump money in mule land.

Black Ruby has never avoided certain footing or competition and, a further warning to Curlin and Big Brown, has taken a couple of match races too.