Billy Reed on Big Brown Bummer

Big Brown Training at Belmont

(above photo of Big Brown from the Courier-Journal)

We haven’t had a lot of time to write about horse racing this spring, at least not as much as we’d like to. And we’ve got to admit, there was always something about Derby favorite and eventual-winner Big Brown that sorta rubbed us the wrong way.

Well, Kentucky’s dean of sports writing, Mr. Billy Reed, has recently posted a screed on his web site Billy Reed Says entitled The Bad, Bad Backers of Big Brown, and it excellently raises a few issues about the people behind Big Brown that the mainstream media seems unlikely to cover.

First, does the general public know that Big Brown’s trainer Rick Dutrow is “a boorish loudmouth who has a long rap sheet for illegally medicating horses?” Maybe the former, but we doubt many know about the latter. Secondly, does the public know that one of the partners of International Equine Acquisitions Holdings — the group that owns Big Brown — was fined by securities regulators? Probably not:

In October, 1999, [Michael] Iavarone was fined $7,500, censured, and suspended from the securities industry for 10 business days for association with A.R. Baron & Co., a New York firm that was the subject of a criminal and civil investigation.

Documents show that Iavarone was a general securities representative at A.R. Baron from July, 1993, until it collapsed in July, 1996. The following year, the firm was prosecuted by the Manhattan district attorney on charges of cheating thousands of investors out of $75 million. More than a dozen A.R. Baron officials either pleaded guilty or were convicted of wrongdoing.

According to records, Iavarone was accused of executing “unauthorized transactions which exceeded $22,000 in the accounts of public customers” in July and December, 1995, without his customers’ knowledge or consent. He did not admit guilt in the case.

About that same year, Iavarone said he ended his association with a now-defunct investment firm, Joseph Dillon & Co., which was censured in September, 2002, and fined $35,000. The firm’s chief executive was banned for two months by securities industry regulators for improper telemarketing methods. Iavarone told Newsday he had little involvement with Joseph Dillon, where he was a registered stockbroker, and had no knowledge of any wrongdoing.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg, so give it a read. As much as we’d like to see a Triple Crown champion — and clearly human foibles aren’t a horse’s fault — we gotta admit these guys don’t seem worth cheering for.


4 Responses to “Billy Reed on Big Brown Bummer”

  1. Henry Watterson Says:


    I love Billy Reed, but he’s not the first to report this stuff locally.

    The Courier-Journal has run pieces about both these issues. The paper ran a lengthy profile of Dutrow before the Derby, while Iavarone’s legal problems were detailed in a piece in the business section a couple weeks ago.

  2. stateofthecommonwealth Says:

    I didn’t make any claim in the above post about who or what first covered this story locally, but rather that the mainstream media (which is a world larger than Kentucky) hasn’t really bothered with the story. Yes, the Courier covered Iavarone’s suspension.

  3. Henry Watterson Says:

    I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound defensive.

  4. Might have something to go with on the Dutrow angle (already well known among east coast players), but I really don’t think anybody clicking on this story to catch some gossip on BB cares if the horse’s owner has been fined for securities irregularities. A minor story to tell at the party this Saturday while watching the race, at best.
    Remember, the horse doesn’t know who owns him or how much he is racing for at Belmont, so go ahead and cheer for him.

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