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American Horse Racing’s Biggest Gamble

There will be a lot of gambling done on Belmont Stakes Day: millions of dollars will be won and lost at tracks all across the country. But the biggest gamble will be taken by the sport itself. Barely a month after the death of Eight Belles, racing will go all-in, betting on the injured hoof of Big Brown and hoping for the big score every bettor wishes for.

The satisfaction of that score has already diminished; Big Brown’s story is not as heartwarming as local legend Smarty Jones’s, nor is his trainer a big ol’ teddy bear you can root for. There are no Frances Genters to accept the trophy if he wins; Big Brown is owned by what is basically a hedge fund of investors. And then there is the issue of his sore feet; the quarter-crack he currently has may not be a big deal to his connections, nor to his doctors, but it is a news story that scares the bejeezus out of most of the folks that will tune in to ABC on Saturday.

What if he breaks down?