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Bud And Big Brown

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2008 | 2:28 PM ET
Anheuser Busch
CNBC.com
Anheuser Busch

Sources close to Anheuser BuschHQ say the folks inside One Busch Place are "battening down the hatches." It appears that one of America's most iconic brands has no interest in a takeover offer from InBev, no matter what shareholders might think. The current feeling is that management would "have to be carried out kicking and screaming."

Stay tuned.

THE BUSINESS OF HORSE SENSEUPS is getting a nasty taste of what happens when horse racing gets ugly. Big Brown's trainer, Rick Dutrow, has been very public in pinning the horse's last place finish at the Belmont Stakes on jockey Kent Desormeaux. I asked a friend of mine, Clint Goodrich, about this. Goodrich is a former jockey, trainer, and owner who no longer trades horses but trades S&P options. He's also very close to Carl Nafzger, trainer of last year's Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense.

Goodrich isn't "pulling up" on his criticism of what happened at the Belmont--and he's not blaming the horse. "Classic case of over confidence by the trainer and the jockey," he says. "Dutrow saying that winning the Belmont was a 'foregone conclusion' tells me that he is either nuts or totally, 100% clueless. Things just don't always go the way you think they're supposed to with horses."

Here is what Goodrich believes happened. Desormeaux "mentally melted down nearly right out of the gate and especially going into the first turn. He was impatient, tried too hard to get the horse outside before the horse had a chance to settle. He wrestled with, frustrated, and confused Big Brown." Goodrich says the jockey should have waited for the opportunity to move to the outside--if needed--which he could have done as he turned up the backside.

"In these kind of races you need to give your horse the opportunity to win, allow them to carry you to victory, stay out of their way, help them when you can, keep them out of trouble and make sure you give them someplace to go. Don't put yourself in front of the horse!"

Even though he says Big Brown might not have won even if ridden perfectly, "Kent made the worst mistake a jockey can make--that is, having a predetermined, preconceived absolute idea of how he was going to go win the race. He tried to use the same formula that won the Derby and Preakness. It just doesn't work that way."

Goodrich saves his harshest words for how the race ended.

"In an effort to deflect his own abysmal performance," he says, "(Desormeaux) just decides to pull him up when it was obvious he couldn't win. This horse was in no real distress, it was, in fact, difficult to pull him up...

Believe me, in Kent's mind, if he just pulls him up and is officially eased, it's better than running 7th getting beat 15 lengths and then him (Kent) being scrutinized. This way it's just so bad it gets regulated to the complete mystery status."

Finally, while he doesn't look kindly on trainer Dutrow's behavior, Goodrich understands his anger. "I would have been looking to strangle him (Desormeaux) if he rode that horse for me the way he did. The pressure just killed him."

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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