11/07/2008 12:00AM

IEAH lining up its mares for Big Brown


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the retirement of Big Brown to stud and his arrival in the Bluegrass this week, the bay son of Boundary has been the subject of considerable attention from breeders. Hundreds have turned out to view the stallion prospect at Three Chimneys Farm, where he will stand in 2009 for a stud fee of $65,000 live foal.

Farm owner Robert Clay said the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner "has two great selling points: one is his brilliance on the racetrack, and the second is that he's absolutely magnificent to look at. Breeders are bowled over when they see him."

In addition to his balance, Big Brown is a splendid example of scope and classic quality, and Clay said that another great quality "is his mind."

"You can crawl underneath him, and he doesn't flinch," Clay said. "His mind played a big role in his success on the racetrack."

But now that the big bay is about to embark on his second career, other considerations come into play.

Three Chimneys is planning to arrange a book of 110 mares for the classic winner, although a farm representative said that they "sometimes book upwards of 115 or so because some mares will fall off the book before they get bred due to difficulty foaling, illness, and so forth."

Among those who will be sending mares to Big Brown is International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Inc., the majority owner of the colt during his racing career.

"We actually have started working with Robert Clay, Case Clay, and pedigree adviser Anne Peters to determine which fillies or broodmares would fit Big Brown, and we were discussing what options we have," said Michael Sherack, vice president of investor relations for IEAH.

Although primarily an investment operation targeting racehorses, IEAH also holds some bloodstock.

"We want to support him and send him some of our best," Sherack said. "It looks like we could send Subtle Aly, Shaggy Mane, and Wonder Lady Anne L, which means that our best broodmares could go to him. We have to iron out the details, however, because IEAH will own differing percentages of different horses, and therefore, we have to discuss this with all the owners and get their blessings."

During his racing career, Big Brown was campaigned by the following group of owners: IEAH, Paul Pompa, Gary Tolchin, Andrew Cohen, and Pegasus Holding Group Stables. With the addition of Three Chimneys to that list, Sherack said, "The owners of Big Brown when racing have retained ownership for his stud career."

As a result, the multiple classic winner will not be syndicated but will be held by the various partners. All of them now have the opportunity to breed to the colt that brought them such fame as a racehorse.

With regard to breeding to Big Brown, Sherack said, "I've spoken to the other partners, and it's just a matter of whether they go out and acquire broodmares. Of our own at IEAH, I would make a preliminary guess that we would have five to 10 mares that would make sound sense, and that number could grow."

For instance, Andrew Cohen, an owner of Big Brown and top sprinter Benny the Bull, has been in racing for about five years and has holdings in "four or five mares," he said.

Cohen has had a rapid introduction to the intricacies of breeding after his quick successes in racing horses at the top level.

"I'm looking forward to racing some of Big Brown's babies," Cohen said. "I grew very attached to Big Brown, especially during the run-up to the Triple Crown, and I will have to head out to Kentucky and visit with him. Being around him at the stables and the racetrack was one of the best experiences I've ever had."

One of Cohen's first successes was with the Real Quiet filly Wonder Lady Anne L. Out of the Wild Zone mare Ancho, Wonder Lady Anne L became a graded stakes winner at 2, then improved at 3 to win the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and rank as one of the best staying fillies of 2006. She was one of the first success stories for IEAH.

Cohen is still one of the owners of the young mare, and he said that Wonder Lady Anne L is at Hidden Brook Farm and has a foal by Giant's Causeway.

As part-owner of top-class racehorses, Cohen is traveling widely to watch them race.

"I'm getting to do some great things," he said, "and I'm going to be taking a bigger part in horse racing because of all this."