05/15/2008 11:00PM

Big Brown stud deal falls through

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A multimillion-dollar deal for Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown’s breeding rights that was expected to be announced this week has fallen through, according to the colt’s majority owner.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to terms on a stud deal for Big Brown prior to the Preakness as we had hoped,” said Michael Iavarone, co-president of IEAH Stables. “Legal issues and time constraints proved too much to overcome, and we will revisit all options following the Preakness. Big Brown is training as well as ever, we expect a big effort on Saturday, and are very anxious for the race. We appreciate the great interest shown in our colt.”

The stud announcement had been expected on Thursday, days in advance of the May 17 Preakness at Pimlico. Iavarone declined to identify the colt’s leading suitor, but IEAH Stables’ negotiating partner was believed to be a major American-owned stud farm in central Kentucky. A report published Thursday by the Associated Press quoted Iavarone as saying the breeding rights deal was worth “several tens of millions,” and bloodstock insiders have placed Big Brown’s value on the market as high as $50 million, meaning the Boundary colt would likely begin his stud career for a fee of at least $100,000.

Iavarone told the crowd gathered at the Preakness draw on Wednesday that the colt would not campaign as a 4-year old.

IEAH, which stands for International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, purchased a 75-percent interest in Big Brown from Paul Pompa, Jr., for a reported $2.25 million after the colt’s first race last September.

Bred by Dr. Gary Knapp’s Monticule Farm in Kentucky, Big Brown is undefeated in four starts. He is a son of the Nureyev mare Mien.