Hedge Fund Horse Aims For Triple Crown

May 19 2008 | 11:43am ET

Big Brown, the horse owned by hedge-fund-to-be International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, is just a mile and a half away from horseracing immortality.

The big bay colt will try to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 at the Belmont Stakes on June 7 after posting a convincing win at Saturday’s Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. Two weeks ago, Big Brown won America’s most prestigious race, the Kentucky Derby, by a similar margin.

But IEAH, which plans to transform itself into a hedge fund, is not waiting to see if its horse can become the 12th Triple Crown champion since 1919 before it cashes in. Just before the Preakness the group announced it had sold an undisclosed interest in the horse to Three Chimney’s Farm in Kentucky, to which he will retire for a life of procreation after the Belmont.

The price was not disclosed, but NBC Sports reports it was in excess of $50 million. IEAH paid $2.5 million for a 75% interest in Big Brown after his first race.

“We have entertained a variety of flattering offers but felt Three Chimneys was the best choice for us,” Michael Iavarone, co-president of IEAH, said. “We were determined to participate in his breeding career and the Three Chimneys deal has given us this opportunity.”

Ten other horses since Affirmed’s 1978 victory have won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to lose in the Belmont, by far the longest race at 1.5 miles, including Big Brown’s future stable mate, Smarty Jones, who lost by a length in 2004. Smarty Jones was also the last horse to enter Belmont Park with a chance to win the Triple Crown.

Big Brown’s owners, who are both Long Islanders, are hoping for some home-cooking at the Elmont, N.Y., racetrack: IEAH is building a horse hospital across the street from the race palace, Newsday reports.

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