High-Hoofing in the Nick Zito Barn

Alone in the lane to the finish!

Big Brown’s loose shoe photo opens the door to controversy concerning his 2008 Belmont Stakes loss and Da’ Tara’s upset win. The subject is fiercely debated among the occupants of trainer Nick Zito’s barn.

STEVIL: “Hey, Da’ Tara, Belmont Stakes champion! Get a little Guiness with your victory meal?” 

DA’ TARA: (his nose touching his oats as he grins lopsidedly) “Yeah…eh, heh, heh.” 

FIERCE WIND: “Hey, Da’ Tara! You better be sober when your daddy (2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Tiznow) calls!” 

STEVIL: “Hey, Da’ Tara! Press your telecommunications button. Chief’s on!” 

DA’ TARA: (his head springing up) “War Pass!?”

WAR PASS: (laughing) “It’s okay, kid. I know you’re celebrating. You should. You were great!” 

STEVIL: (smirking whinny) “Hey, Chief, Big Brown had a loose shoe in the Belmont.” 

COOL COAL MAN: “Yeah, I read that, too.” 

ANAK NAKAL: (sniffing noisily) “So what?” 

 WAR PASS: “Exactly. Bossman (Zito) always says a good horse can overcome that stuff. No matter, kid. You won.” 

FIERCE WIND: (fiercely) “Don’t you horses watch ESPN? It’s all over the networks and the media! The loose shoe made Big Brown slip up. It spooked him.” 

WAR PASS: “Nonsense! Knock that off, Windy! Big Brown needed to step up, big time, and he didn’t.” 

FIERCE WIND: (nasty whinny) “Aren’t you listening? There’s a photo. The loose shoe is plain as day.” 

STEVIL: “No one knows if Big Brown could have won if that shoe hadn’t come loose.” 

DA’ TARA: (hanging his head) “Does this mean my Belmont win will always have an asterisk?”

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