Michael Iavarone of IEAH Stable faces the usual crush of reporters during a daily news conference at Belmont Park.

Michael Iavarone of IEAH Stable faces the usual crush of reporters during a daily news conference at Belmont Park.

Rick Samuels

Big Brown, Iavarone March On

That has been a good deal of discussion about the future of Big Brown following the Triple Crown. But to IEAH Stables co-president Michael Iavarone, there is nothing to discuss. Big Brown will continue to race after the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

“Everybody thinks we’re going to retire him, but we’re going on,” Iavarone said. “I’ve already spoken to everyone involved and we’re going to give racing a shot. We’re definitely going to point him for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). I just don’t know if Curlin is going to want to run against us or not on a synthetic surface.”

Iavrone has had his share of negative press since the Preakness (gr. I) regarding past business practices, but he is trying to take it all in stride and not have it affect the public’s perception of Big Brown.

“With everybody looking for garbage now I just want it over with and move on,” Iavarone said. “It’s a shame, because in all honesty, in the last couple of years I don’t know that there is any group that’s tried harder to do what’s best for Thoroughbred racing than us. That’s the disappointing side of it. No one mentions the veterinary hospital we’re building and all the charities we’ve given to. We’ve made so many donations that have not gone public. You don’t put together the kind of money we’ve put together if you’re doing the wrong thing. We’re a high risk, high reward partnership. But that’s OK; they can say what they want to say.

“In a strange way, it’s the ultimate compliment. This has all been published for the past 15 years and if they’re going to write breaking news from 15 years ago that means they think I’m successful enough to write tabloid material. There are some people I’m going to talk to in the next couple of days that will get the story right. What’s important is that I’ve had unbelievable support from my investors. I guess, with success comes this kind of stuff. They already wrote about Dutrow and his deals and I was next in line. I think I probably should have been more open about my past, but we’ve all done things in our past that have come back to bite us when you leave it exposed, and I did. You learn from it and you move on, but I’ve gotten to be very thick-skinned.

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“The only downside of it is that it takes away from what this story is really all about, and that’s Big Brown. He has the last say and he’ll tackle that issue on Saturday. He’s the reason why we’ve gotten here; he’s the reason why they write stories about me. They didn’t write stories about me because of something I did. They wrote stories about me because of something he did.”

Not all of the PR has been bad. Iavarone said he’s been inundated with all kinds of strange offers regarding Big Brown.

“Disney called and said, ‘Any way we can get you guys and the horse down to Disney World for a weekend?’ Iavarone said. “I told them my insurance company would love that. We also got a call from someone from the city of New York who said if Big Brown wins they’d like to give us ticker tape parade. That sounded good until they told us they could set up a nice thing for the horse. I go, ‘Well, that’s the end of the ticker tape parade.’

"Some of the requests I’ve gotten over the past two weeks have been borderline amazing. Leroy Nieman’s publicist called and said Leroy really wants to do a sketch of Big Brown and he’d need him out of his stall for about an hour and a half. And we’ve gotten a lot of movie requests already. All this latest stuff about the quarter crack will just add to the movie. My wife has already said she’d like Matthew McConaughey to play me.”