01/20/2014 12:50PM

Black Fighter first Azerbaijan-bred winner in U.S., first winner for Big Surf


Black Fighter’s victory in a maiden claiming race on Sunday at Turfway Park was a historic first on multiple levels.

The 3-year-old colt became the first Thoroughbred to win a race in the U.S. bred in Azerbaijan, a country straddling southwestern Europe and the Middle East. Black Fighter raced as a homebred for Mammad Huseynov’s Royal Pegasus operation.

Royal Pegasus has bases in Lexington, Ky., and Baku, Azerbaijan. Huseynov purchased Brookhill Farm in Lexington in the summer of 2008 after buying the stallion Don Gato, who now stands at the farm, for a sale-topping $800,000 at that year’s Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale.

Azerbaijani-bred runners have been rare in North America. In 2011, Padishah, a gelding by Chairman, went unplaced in six starts at Indiana Downs and River Downs.

Black Fighter was also the first career starter and winner for stallion Big Surf, breaking his maiden in his third start. An 8-year-old son of Storm Cat, Big Surf stands at Royal Pegasus’ Lexington farm for a private fee in 2014.

Big Surf won one of three starts during his racing career for $29,371. He was sent to begin his stallion career in Azerbaijan in 2009, and returned to the U.S. in 2012.

Bred in Kentucky by Overbrook Farm, Big Surf is out of Surfside, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2000, and is a half brother to stakes-placed Shark. He is from the family of champion Flanders, as well as Grade 2 winners Battle Plan and Open Water.

“The farm could not be more happy for Black Fighter and all of the connections involved here and abroad,” said Crystal Conway, the farm’s office coordinator. “Big Surf is a stallion with a fantastic pedigree and is being supported with a great book of mares. His owner is very pleased with his success and hope to continue breeding and racing his homebreds.”

Black Fighter is the first foal out of the Dixieland Band mare Smart Dixie. He is trained by Kellyn Gorder, and was ridden by Victor Lebron.