Big Brown, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and 1-2 morning line favorite for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 17, will not run past his 3-year-old campaign, it was announced May 14. Speaking at a post-post position draw press conference for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, IEAH Stables’ Michael Iavarone said the chances of Big Brown running as a 4-year-old were “none.”
Iavarone also said an announcement regarding the future stud career of Big Brown would be made May 15.
Big Brown was installed the odds-on morning line favorite after drawing post seven in a 13-horse field for the $1-million Preakness that will be run May 17 at Pimlico Race Course. Iavarone made the statement following the draw that took place at the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.
Iavarone purchased the son of Boundary out of the Nureyev mare Mien, who was bred in Kentucky by Dr. Gary Knapp's Monticule following a smashing debut on the turf at Saratoga as a 2-year-old. At the time the colt was owned by Paul Pompa Jr., who purchased him from pinhooker Eddie Woods for $190,000 at the Keeneland April 2-year-old sale. He was trained by Patrick Reynolds. Iavarone reportedly made a deal with Pompa to purchase 75% of the colt and turned him over to trainer Rick Dutrow.
“The deal took two weeks,” Iavarone said of the deal-making with Pompa. “We almost lost him a couple of times to Darley. I thought at one time we were dead, but I just stayed persistent. I really wanted this horse. Against Darley, it’s an art; against everybody it’s about who is crazy enough to write the biggest check?
“This horse, I was determined to buy,” Iavarone continued. “I was convinced that this horse was in another world. I’ve never seen a 2-year-old do what he did. Two-year-olds don’t win going two turns on the grass by 15 lengths at Saratoga.
“I bought him as a ‘dirt’ horse'," Iavarone said. “I knew he could run on the turf, but I knew I couldn’t make back the money running him on the turf.”
Big Brown was pointed toward the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, but didn’t make it to the race. In preparation for the Breeders’ Cup, Iavarone said Big Brown worked in company against the Dutrow-trained graded stakes winner Diamond Stripes.
“We breezed him company with Diamond Stripes in late September of last year as he was prepping for the Juvenile Turf,” Iavarone said. “We were going to breeze him on the turf, but it rained. Rick said, ‘do you mind if I breeze him in company with Diamond Stripes?’ I said ‘If you think you want to do it, go ahead.’ Rick said, ‘Diamond Stripes will get the better of him, but he’ll get something out of it.’
"Big Brown took Diamond Stripes apart,” Iavarone said.
Big Brown took apart the field in the Florida Derby (gr. I), winning by five lengths, and then won the Kentucky Derby May 3 by 4 ¾ lengths.