The colt's connections decided on the grass race as a transition for Big Brown from the main dirt tracks he has been running on this year to the synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park for the Breeders' Cup, Iavarone said via telephone Aug. 21.
The 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds and up -- the newly created Monmouth Stakes -- will have its purse boosted from $200,000 to $500,000 if Big Brown competes.
Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) before his Triple Crown bid ended while being pulled up in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). In his first start after the Belmont, the Boundary colt won the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) before a Monmouth Park crowd of 45,132 on Aug. 3.
While there were other options considered by the owners and trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr., including a stakes race at Philadelphia Park for which the purse would have been $1 million with Big Brown in the field, Iavarone said one of the deciding factors was the condition of the Monmouth Park grass course.
Kip Deville, raced by IEAH and partners, won the 2007 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park over a grass course that had been saturated by rain.
"The money (to lure Big Brown) was secondary," Iavarone said. "That turf course had taken five or six inches of rain before Kip Deville's Breeders' Cup and yet it was in great shape. I was very impressed with that course."
"We're overjoyed that Big Brown will be returning to New Jersey," Bob Kulina, vice president and general manager of Monmouth Park, said in a press release. "Big Brown coming back to the Jersey Shore will provide added excitement to September racing at Monmouth and should be an across the board winner for his connections, the fans, and the racing industry in New Jersey."
Big Brown has won five of six starts and has earned $3,314,500 for IEAH, Paul Pompa, Jr. and partners.
The Monmouth Stakes will mark the colt's second race on turf. Big Brown broke his maiden at first asking on Sept. 3, 2007, winning by 11 1/4 lengths over the Saratoga turf course.
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