03/12/2015 6:45PM

Leading New York sires: Big Brown

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Barbara D. Livingston
Big Brown, who moves to New York for 2015, brings a solid resume as a sire of juveniles to the state.

Leading New York juvenile sire

Champion and dual classic winner Big Brown has arrived at Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains to continue his stud career in New York with what could be an exciting season ahead of him.

The sire is back in the headlines with his unbeaten Grade 1 winner Dortmund among the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby. In the 3-year-old filly ranks, Big Brown has Puca, well regarded after a 16-length maiden romp last fall at Belmont, although she was recently fourth in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes.

“We’re rooting for Dortmund, obviously, and rooting for Puca,” said Eric Bishop, general manager for Sunrise Stallions, part of the team that purchased Big Brown to stand at Dutchess Views for 2015. “We’re hoping for a Big Brown double the first weekend in May. That’s what you root for. You hope to get lucky and hope for certain things to happen, and it all falls in place. You need a lot of luck in this game. You try to make the right decisions and hope for the best.”

Things certainly appear to be falling in place for Andrew Cohen’s Sunrise Stallions and Gary Tolchin’s Golden Goose Enterprises, which acquired a majority interest in Big Brown last fall and moved him to Dutchess Views. The 10-year-old son of Boundary previously stood at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., where he entered stud in 2009.

Fueled by the exploits of Dortmund and three other juvenile stakes winners in 2014, Big Brown is the leading returning or incoming juvenile sire in New York, with 16 winners and progeny earnings of $1,111,356. Perennial New York leading sire Posse was the state’s top resident stallion in the category for 2014, with 11 winners, including four stakes winners, for earnings of $738,233. That included two-time stakes winner The Lewis Dinner.

Big Brown won 7 of 8 career starts, earning $3,614,500. Campaigned in majority by IEAH Stables – which included Cohen and Tolchin – Big Brown stamped himself among the best of his generation by posting open-lengths scores in the Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes before suffering his only loss when eased in the Belmont Stakes, ending his Triple Crown bid. He rebounded to add a fourth Grade 1 victory in the Haskell Invitational, then won the Monmouth Stakes on turf before foot problems that had plagued him throughout his career forced him into retirement. He was honored with the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male of 2008.

Through March 9, Big Brown had sired 140 winners, including 15 stakes winners, from his first four crops for combined earnings of $9,866,621. Dortmund appears to be his most talented prospect. The colt won all three of his starts as a juvenile, capped by a track-record performance in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity. He opened his 3-year-old campaign with a pair of graded stakes tallies in California, taking the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and San Felipe Stakes to push his career bankroll to $689,400. He is expected to have his final Kentucky Derby prep in the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.

Big Brown also was represented by the filly Nicky’s Brown Miss, who made eight starts as a juvenile in 2014. Her résumé is highlighted by a win in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes last September. She has placed in three other stakes.

The sire’s other juvenile standouts in 2014 were Red Sashay, who won the Our Dear Peggy Stakes at Gulfstream Park, and Eminencia, a stakes winner in Panama.

Dortmund is Big Brown’s first Grade 1 winner – but the hope is that the best is still to come as the stallion’s first New York foals begin arriving next year. 

“I think one of the positives we were looking at is that maybe he started too young,” Bishop said. “We really believe most stallions really mature probably at age 6. And, unfortunately, the trend has been to capitalize on a lot of the horses when they’re younger because they’re fresh in people’s minds. But it seems the older stallions do a little bit better. So we wondered if maybe Big Brown has not thrown the kind of stamina and strength he could have been. We’re hoping [the market] is going to forgive his first two crops, and that he’ll start kicking in.”