06/18/2008 11:00PM

Big Brown going next in Haskell


ELMONT, N.Y.- Big Brown is Jersey-bound.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will be pointed to the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3 for his next start, according to Michael Iavarone, who heads the International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Inc. Stable that owns 75 percent of Big Brown.

"The Haskell's clearly a first target right now," Iavarone said.

The Haskell, run at 1 1/8 miles, would be Big Brown's first start since he finished last in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 after jockey Kent Desormeaux pulled him up with a quarter-mile left to run. Iavarone said there is still no plausible excuse for Big Brown's performance in the Belmont, but added that the horse is training forwardly at Aqueduct for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. He could breeze next week.

By choosing the Haskell over the Jim Dandy and Travers - run July 27 and Aug. 23 at Saratoga, respectively - Iavarone said he is hoping to remove some of the variables that he assumes may have contributed to Big Brown's Belmont loss.

"We're trying to avoid certain things that happened in the Belmont," he said. "We're trying to avoid the heat. It's a lot more hot and humid [at Saratoga], it's a lot cooler down by the Jersey Shore. More importantly is the surface. It's a lot tighter racetrack, more conducive to his style."

Iavarone said that the timing of the Haskell is better for Big Brown should Iavarone and Dutrow decide to run him again before the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Iavarone said that if Big Brown runs in the Haskell, it "would be a longshot" that he runs back in the Travers 20 days later. "But I don't rule out anything."

By virtue of the conditions of a bonus announced last month, Monmouth Park officials will pay the owners, IEAH and Paul Pompa Jr., $50,000 and Dutrow $50,000 to run Big Brown in the Haskell since Big Brown won two Triple Crown races.

"That's clearly not even a consideration," Iavarone said.

Iavarone also laid out the schedule for two other IEAH stars. Benny the Bull, among the leaders of the nation's sprint division, will make his next start in the $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder on July 12, and Kip Deville, last year's Breeders' Cup Mile winner who won the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in April, will run next in the Grade 3, $100,000 Poker Handicap at Belmont on July 13.

On Thursday, Kip Deville worked six furlongs in 1:12.52 over a soft Aqueduct turf course. Though Dutrow indicated he wanted to wait until the Woodbine Mile in September to run Kip Deville, Iavarone said Kip Deville "needs to run."