The Washington Times - June 3, 2008, 11:02AM

In researching my story today about the business of Big Brown, I interviewed several museum officials to get a sense of the demand for memorabilia and artifacts related to the horse. Not surprisingly, museums have already contacted Big Brown’s camp to see if they can borrow the silks and other items related to the colt’s wins at Churchill Downs, Pimlico and, if he wins Saturday, Belmont Park.

“We’ve reached out to Big Brown’s people and told them we’d be interested in doing an exhibit,” said Mike Kane, spokesman for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, located in Saratoga Springs, NY. “It would certainly be a popular display for us in the middle of our season. People expect there to be a display dedicated to a Triple Crown winner, so we’d have to scramble and add him to our Triple Crown room.”

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At the new Sports Museum of America (SMA) in Lower Manhattan, officials are planning to bring Big Brown to New York as part of a ticker tape parade in the “Canyon of Heroes” if he wins the Belmont. The museum has already put in requests to borrow the horse’s silks and other items.

“It’s not necessarily because we feel it’s a foregone conclusion, but we like to play the odds, so to speak,” said museum CEO Philip Schwalb. “In this case, obviously the odds look a little better than in most years.”

The opening of the SMA in May has set up an interesting dynamic when it comes to situations like this. In the past, a famous athlete usually had two main choices where to place items relating to their career or a historic performance: they could keep the items or donate them to the hall of fame of whatever sport they played. Now, there’s a bit more competition for sports-related artifacts, though the SMA has formal partnerships with most official sports halls of fame.

- Tim Lemke