Andrew Cohen has, in five years, gone from "Big" to "Giant."
Cohen, a native of Brooklyn, was part of the IEAH partnership group that owned 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness (both gr. I) winner Big Brown , who famously flamed out when trying to complete the Triple Crown at Belmont Park.
Five years later, Cohen, having put together his own partnership group, will send out homebred Giant Finish to complete what he calls "our personal Triple Crown" June 8 in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
IEAH was on quite the roll back in 2008, also campaigning champion sprinter Benny the Bull plus Kip Deville, who won the 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). When those horses were eventually retired, Cohen began looking around for a way to stay active in racing at the top echelon.
The former Wall Street executive, who races in the name Sunrise Stables, decided to buy out his partners in the colt Frost Giant , another IEAH success story who won the 2008 Suburban Handicap (gr. I). That has proven to be a prescient move, as Frost Giant is showing early signs of being a very productive sire.
In fact, the very first foal sired by Frost Giant is Giant Finish, bred in New York by Cohen out of the Hickman Creek mare Apocalyptic. Giant Finish won two of his first three races before placing in two stakes at Turfway Park and running unplaced in the Derby.
"It's very exciting for us," said the affable Cohen, who splits his time between Florida and New Jersey. "We've got a ton of confidence in him. He's a fighter who doesn't give up."
Frost Giant was New York's leading freshman sire a year ago and now stands at Keene Stud. His 2013 book was full back in early winter and he covered 135 mares; Cohen will send him to Australia to stand the Southern Hemisphere season this year as well.
In addition to Giant Finish, Frost Giant has sired Kelli Got Frosty, 2-year-old champion filly in New York last year. She won the East View Stakes racing as a homebred for Cohen and partners, and was most recently second in the Bouwerie Stakes June 1. Before that she ran second to major star sprinter Kauai Katie in the Road Princess Stakes. She has banked better than $168,000 from nine races. Cohen also bred and co-owns Sus Annmaries Gold, a Frost Giant filly who won her first two races.
Cohen formed a syndicate to own eight of Frost Giant's foals, including Giant Finish. Gary Tolchin, also a partner in Big Brown, is involved along with Aubrey Flanagan and Bob Smith. Cohen felt Frost Giant was a perfect fit for New York in anticipation of casino money flowing into purses as well as stallion and breeders' awards.
Five years ago when the economy hit the skids, Cohen took advantage by picking up broodmares for next to nothing. Despite their modest quality, Frost Giant has moved them up.
"He has passed on to his progeny competitiveness and toughness," noted Cohen. "When they get passed, they get mad and come back on."
Cohen now works full-time on his stable, joined by his daughter as well as Eric Bishop. He has 50 horses including mares and babies.
"I wanted to get into something more cautious than the stock market, and horse racing is a good way to go," he said.
Because of Frost Giant's size, which lives up to his name, his progeny figured to take time to mature and grow into themselves. So the fact that they showed signs of being precocious is a huge bonus for Cohen.
Apocalyptic has produced a 2-year-old full brother to Giant Finish, as well as a full sibling yearling, and is back in foal to Frost Giant.
Being able to identify and stand a productive sire is no small feat, but if Cohen were to complete that personal Triple Crown in the Belmont, that would be absolutely giant.