09/21/2016 9:09AM

Big Brown half-brother fails to meet reserve

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Dr. Gary Knapp’s Monticule, the owner and breeder of champion Big Brown’s yearling half-brother by Temple City, will keep the colt to race after he finished under his reserve with a final bid of $200,000 on Monday at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Knapp said the colt would be broken locally in central Kentucky. He will then either ship to Florida for the winter or go directly to trainer Michael Dickinson’s Tapeta Farm in North East, Md.

“He’s an extraordinarily well-balanced horse,” Knapp said. “He looks like he’s going to be able to race competitively at a good distance. He’s a very nice horse, and there were a few people in the back ring who thought he was a nice horse, too, but apparently they didn’t want to spend that much money on him.”

The winning Nureyev mare Mien, also bred by Knapp, has produced eight winners from as many starters, with Irish and English Group 3-placed Afonso de Sousa joining dual classic winner Big Brown on her produce record.

Big Brown, by Boundary, was Mien’s second foal. He was named champion 3-year-old male in 2008 following a campaign that featured wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, as well as the Haskell Invitational and Florida Derby. Knapp said the Temple City colt compared favorably to Big Brown at similar stages in their development.

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“The one difference the farm manager mentioned is that you never knew Big Brown was around,” Knapp said. “He was just this bay horse that never stood out over anything. This horse, you know is around. He’s got a little bit of a personality. He expresses himself more than Big Brown did.”

Knapp said the farm utilizes Equix Biomechanics’ OptiMatch breeding program to select matings, in which measurements of stallions and mares are compared in a database to produce the matches most likely to result in a well-conformed foal.

Monticule has sent Mien to Temple City for each of the past five seasons. She had another colt in February and was sent back to the stallion for the 2017 foaling season.

“Mien just keps producing nice horses,” Knapp said. “She’s just a marvelous broodmare. She’s not all that hard to be around, and she’s a consistent producer, so I think you’ll see more out of her.”