Undefeated Big Brown is a big deal on this year’s Triple Crown trail following his March 29 Florida Derby (gr. I) triumph. But when he was younger, the strapping bay colt was overshadowed by horses with fancier pedigrees that sold for higher prices. He also didn’t attract a lot of attention because he was sound and well-behaved, according to Florida pinhooker Eddie Woods.
Woods purchased Big Brown for $60,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale from his breeder, Monticule.
“I think he just didn’t fit for everyone,” Woods said. “We actually thought he was going to be a grass horse because he was out of a Nureyev mare that was out of a Lear Fan mare, and both of them were blank (hadn’t produced any black-type runners). But he always was a lovely horse – a beautiful mover and all that.”
The time Big Brown spent with Woods was uneventful. The colt behaved well, and he didn’t get hurt. When talking about Big Brown, Woods often refers to him as an “old horse” because Big Brown had such a low-key temperament.
“He was the kindest, quietest, classiest old horse at our place,” Woods said. “You would never know he was there.”
The colt was so under the radar that “my vet didn’t even remember him,” Woods said. “I said to him after the Florida Derby, ‘What about Big Brown?' And he says, ‘Who’s Big Brown?’ He went to his computer and he brought his (Big Brown’s) records up, and he said, ‘We only wormed and vaccinated that horse. That’s all we ever did.’ The vet had never seen him because he had a grunt vet, an intern or something, to do the vaccinating and worming. Big Brown never had any soundness issues. He was just one of those horses without problems.”
Woods consigned Big Brown to last year’s Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training, and “he worked really well for a two-turn type of horse,” the pinhooker said. Big Brown, who is a son of Boundary, was purchased by Paul Pompa Jr. for $190,000, a figure below the auction's average price of $202,890.
“We’re not going to say now that we thought Big Brown was going to be what he is today, but we always thought he was a horse with a lot of talent,” Woods said.