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Big Brown

Big Brown
Big Brown and Kent Dersoumeaux head into the gate for the 2008 Belmont Stakes.
Sire Boundary
Dam Mien
Grandsire Danzig
Damsire Nureyev
Gender Colt
Foaled 2005
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Monticule Farms
Owner IEAH Stables & Michael Iavarone
Trainer Patrick Reynolds
Richard E. Dutrow, Jr. (since fall 2007)
Record 8: 7-0-0
Earnings $3,614,500
Big Brown is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Mien by Boundary. He was born around 2005 in the United States, and was bred by Monticule Farms.
Major wins

Florida Derby (2008)
Haskell Invitational Handicap (2008)
Monmouth Stakes (2008)

American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (2008)
Preakness Stakes (2008)
American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse (2008)
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Big Brown (foaled April 10, 2005 in Kentucky) is a retired Champion American Thoroughbred racehorse and winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and 2008 Preakness Stakes. Bred by Dr. Gary B. Knapp's[1] Monticule Farms in Lexington, Kentucky,[2] he won his first five career starts. He was sired by Grade III winner Boundary, a son of North American Champion sire Danzig, a son of Northern Dancer. Big Brown's dam was Mien, also a granddaughter of Northern Dancer through her sire, Nureyev.[3]


Two-year-old campaign

Big Brown, named by his owner in honor of UPS,[4] was purchased by Brooklyn, New York trucking company owner Paul Pompa, Jr. for $190,000 at the Keeneland Sales 2007 April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.[5] Pompa turned him over to trainer Patrick Reynolds for race conditioning.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag Pompa then sold an interest in Big Brown to IEAH Stables,[6] a subsidiary of International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, Inc., whose stated purpose is to create and manage an Equity Horse Fund, which will operate as a hedge fund.[7] The new partnership sent the horse to the Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center in South Florida under the care of new trainer, Rick Dutrow.</ref>

Three-year-old campaign

2008 Allowance

Unraced for more than six months, Big Brown debuted as a three-year-old with a 12-length win in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Big Brown was ridden by Kent Desormeaux. The colt was entered next in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

2008 Florida Derby

Entered in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, Big Brown drew the outside post, 12. Despite his post, under jockey Kent Desormeaux Big Brown won by five lengths.[8]

134th Kentucky Derby

On May 3, 2008, in his fourth race, the 2008 Kentucky Derby, Big Brown was the 2–1 favorite. He became the first horse since 1929 to win the race from the 20th gate [2], winning by 4 ¾ lengths over filly Eight Belles, who was euthanized after breaking both front ankles during the post-race cool-down.[9] The time for the 1 1/4 mile race was 2:01:92.[10] The official Beyer Speed Figure for the race was 109.

Rick Dutrow admitted that he administers stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, to his horses, including Big Brown, on the 15th of every month. However, Dutrow stated to ESPN that Big Brown did not take the May 15th shot for the Belmont Stakes.[11] Stanozolol is banned in 10 states but not in any of the states where the Triple Crown races are held.[11]

133rd Preakness Stakes

On May 17, 2008, in his fifth race, the 2008 Preakness Stakes, Big Brown came from the seven post and won the second leg of the Triple Crown by 5 ¼ lengths over Macho Again,[12] becoming the fourth horse to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness while remaining undefeated.[13] Big Brown was the 1–5 favorite. The final time of the 1 3/16 mile race was 1:54.80.[12]

140th Belmont Stakes

On the Friday following the Preakness, a three-inch quarter crack was discovered on the horse's left front hoof, the same injury that he experienced in both of his front hooves the previous fall.Big Brown might have won the Triple Crown if this had not happened. [14] With Dutrow referring to the injury as "just a little hiccup"[15] and with the crack stitched together with steel wire, Big Brown resumed jogging at Belmont the following Tuesday.[16]

For the Belmont Stakes, Big Brown wore a second set of stainless steel sutures on the inside of his hoof. Hoof specialist Ian McKinlay changed the sutures a week before the race and attached an acrylic and fiberglass adhesive patch to the hoof. Although Big Brown missed three days of training prior to the race, his gait and attitude seemed unaffected.[17] After the crack was patched, Brown was exercised by rider Michelle Nevin.[18] Ian McKinlay said, prior to the Belmont, that Big Brown "does not need a patch on the quarter crack on his left front hoof until the morning of the Belmont Stakes. So Dutrow will give Big Brown his final hard workout Tuesday to breeze 5 furlongs without it and gallop him into the race confident the colt’s tender hoof is healed."[19]

Big Brown went off as the 3-10 favorite in the Belmont. He was rank in the early stages of the race, and nearly ran up on the heels of eventual winner Da' Tara. Then Desormeaux tried to swing Big Brown to the outside during the first turn and bumped into Tale of Ekati. Da' Tara won the race by 5 1/4 lengths while Big Brown finished 9th, becoming the first Triple Crown hopeful to finish last in the Belmont. Kent Desormeaux pulled the horse up in the homestretch, later saying something was amiss and stating immediately after the race, "I had no horse" although no physical abnormality was ever found. Billy Turner, the trainer of Seattle Slew, later stated, "If Desormeaux had pulled up a horse like that in my day, the Stewards would have ran you out of the state and told you to never come back." Two weeks after the Belmont, a picture revealed a dislodged shoe on Big Brown's right hind leg that could have been the cause of his poor performance. The shoe might have come loose during the race and gotten pushed back in while he was running.

2008 Haskell Invitational Handicap

Big Brown returned to racing on August 3, 2008 with a win in the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park. He took the lead out of the gate, but was passed by Coal Play rounding the final turn, it looked as if Coal Play was going to pull off an upset, but Big Brown dug in and passed him in the final strides to win by 1 3/4 lengths. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 107 for his win.

2008 Monmouth Stakes

Big Brown won his next start in the Monmouth Stakes on September 13 in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic. It was his first start on grass since breaking his maiden in 2007 and his first start against older horses. Breaking quickly from post 4, Big Brown opened a sizeable lead down the backstretch. The field began to catch up to him entering the far turn, and as Proudinsky edged up to his neck, Big Brown dug in gamely and held on for a 1/2 length victory.

Injury and Retirement

While working out with stablemate Kip Deville on October 13, Big Brown sustained an injury to a hind hoof and was declared out of the Breeders' Cup Classic and retired.[20]


The first reported foal for Big Brown was a filly out of Impressive Attire (by Seeking the Gold) born on January 12, 2010 at Swifty Farms in Seymour, Indiana.[21]

Other Notes

Beginning in 2009, Big Brown stood at stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky. He was awarded the Eclipse Award as American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse for 2008.

Big Brown won two alternative awards for 2008 from horseraceinsider.com. Charismatic Performer of the Year 2008 Insider Award: To Big Brown who, on balance, generated more excitement than any horse appearing under tack this year.


Pedigree of Big Brown

b. 1990


b. 1977

Northern Dancer Nearctic
Pas de Nom Admiral's Voyage

ch. 1978

Damascus Sword Dancer
Ponte Vecchio Round Table

b. 1999


b. 1977

Northern Dancer Nearctic
Special Forli

b. 1992

Lear Fan Roberto
Syrian Circle Damascus
Friendly Circle


  1. International Herald Tribune, Big Brown's breeder relies on math, not magic
  2. http://www.startribune.com/local/18545619.html
  3. nytimes.com, Filly’s Death Casts Shadow Over Big Brown’s Derby Victory
  4. UPS Extends Its Pact To Sponsor Big Brown - WSJ.com
  5. A Derby winner's owner who prefers to hang back- NJ.com
  6. A Derby winner's owner who prefers to hang back- NJ.com
  7. Company Profile and Contact Sheet - International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, Inc.
  8. Big Brown Huge in Florida Derby Rout| bloodhorse.com
  9. ESPN - Runner-up Eight Belles breaks front ankles, euthanized on track - Horse Racing
  10. Big Brown Delivers; Filly Breaks Down Blood Horse, updated May 6, 2008, retrieved on June 6, 2008
  11. 11.0 11.1 AFP: Big Brown trainer admits giving horse steroids: report
  12. 12.0 12.1 Big Brown one step closer to Triple Crown after Preakness romp - Thoroughbred Times
  13. WPRI 12 - Eyewitness News |Big Brown wins again
  14. Big Brown's hoof injury crimps Triple Crown plans
  15. Big Brown OK after hoof repair - Equestrian, Churchill Downs, Belmont Stakes - chicagotribune.com
  16. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Other Sports
  17. houmatoday.com, Patching up Big Brown's cracked front hoof
  18. www.courier-journal.com, Big Brown's hoof to get a checkup
  19. therail.blogs.nytimes.com, Big Brown Doesn’t Need Patch Until Race
  20. "Big Brown's racing career over after injury - USATODAY.com". USA Today. October 17, 2008. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/topstories/2008-10-17-2261910286_x.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  21. Notable 2010 Foals | Thoroughbred Times [1]

External links


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