Trainer goes off on a gender

Times Staff Writer

Curlin was the 2007 horse of the year. Undefeated Big Brown probably will win that honor this year. And now there is talk about those two possibly hooking up in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita.

Big Brown, whose cracked hoof reportedly is getting better, will try to become horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in 30 years in the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes on June 7. Last year, Curlin was third in Kentucky Derby, first in the Preakness and then finished second behind the filly Rags To Riches in the Belmont before going on to win the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Rick Dutrow Jr., Big Brown's trainer, appearing on a New York off-track television network show Saturday morning, was asked how his horse would match up against Curlin.

According to the Thoroughbred Times, this was Dutrow's answer: "Well, I've seen Curlin get beat by a filly -- so that is not impressive to me. I can't imagine there's a filly breathing air that could beat Big Brown."

Trivia time

Besides Rags To Riches, how many fillies have won the Belmont?

A different era

A lot of folks are hoping for an NBA Finals pitting the Lakers against the Boston Celtics. But Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle doesn't see why it would be such a big deal.

"If it comes down to Lakers vs. Celtics for the championship, nostalgia will be flowing," Ostler wrote. "But the hoopla will really be about laundry. The only connection between this matchup and the previous nine Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals would be the uniform colors."

No dancing around this issue

It has become apparent that "Dancing With the Stars" is not Bill Parcells' favorite show. The Miami Dolphins' new head of football operations is in a tizzy over the team's star player, defensive end Jason Taylor, missing some voluntary off-season workouts while appearing on the show. The Dolphins have threatened to sever ties with Taylor.

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, calling the tiff between Taylor and Parcells "ridiculous, embarrassing, infantile," offered this opinion: "Be clear that the villain in this soap is Parcells, whose enmity over this situation would be comical if it weren't so sad. So small."

The Dolphins were 1-15 last season when Taylor had 11 sacks and 47 solo tackles. Longtime network announcer Charlie Jones, on his blog, noted that the Dolphins "can finish 1-15 with or without him."

And this from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: "Looks like Taylor finished second in 'Dancing With the Stars' but first in 'Ticking Off the Tuna.' "

Fish story

Some people might think Parcells got the nickname "the Big Tuna" because he is big and likes tuna sandwiches. But that's not the reason.

It goes back to 1980, when Parcells was the New England Patriots' linebackers coach and some players tried to convince him he could get a free Thanksgiving turkey at a particular location.

"You must think I'm Charlie the Tuna," Parcells said, referring to the cartoon character in the old tuna commercials who keeps getting rejected -- "Sorry, Charlie."

The players started calling Parcells "Charlie the Tuna," which evolved into "the Big Tuna" and has since been shortened to just "the Tuna" or "Tuna."

Trivia answer

A total of 22 fillies have run in the Belmont, but the only winners before Rags To Riches were Ruthless in 1867 and Tanya in 1905.

And finally

KFWB's Bret Lewis, on Scott Dixon's winning the Indianapolis 500 first-place prize of $2.5 million: "That almost paid for his gas."


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