Big Brown waives stud fee for T’bred advocates

Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and sire of 2015 Kentucky Derby contender Dortmund, has been offered for a free breeding to a NY claiming mare.

Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and sire of 2015 Kentucky Derby contender Dortmund, has been offered for a free breeding to a NY claiming mare. Photo courtesy Sunrise Stallions

A chance to breed a retired N.Y. racemare— free of charge— to 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Big Brown, the sire of 2015 Derby favorite Dortmund, has been offered to philanthropic horsemen as a reward for their efforts last month to do right by the same racemare.

Following the successful effort by Dallas horseman John Murrell and New York trainer Carl Domino to claim back race mare Rock N Cozy from race trainer David Jacobson last month, Big Brown’s people stepped up with an offer.

Sunrise Stallions GM Eric Bishop, upon learning how Murrell and Domino claimed back the prized mare for $15,000 in a heartfelt effort to retire her from racing, says he made the offer out of respect for their conduct as horsemen and admiration for the mare’s success on the racetrack. Rock N Cozy earned $231,000 in 39 starts, showing heart and stamina.

Saying that if any men deserved the opportunity with Big Brown, it was the gentlemen who swooped in to claim back Rock N Cozy from Davidson in a $15,000 claiming race at Belmont Park May 20, a race which the mare won. (Please read the earlier story here:

As a way of rewarding these actions and helping to promote good breeding practices in a state that could benefit from a good pairing such as would come from Big Brown and Rock N Cozy, Bishop says he offered the free breeding, an $8,000 value, as a way to thank the men for setting a stellar example in the racing business.

Rock N Cozy grazes with Carl Domino by her side.

Rock N Cozy grazes with Carl Domino by her side.

“There are a lot of good people in this business and a lot of not-so-good people in this business. When we saw what John Murrell and Carl Domino did for Rock N Cozy, we decided we wanted to do something nice for them, because they’re good people,” he says, noting that the beautiful gray mare, with her strong track record, great conformation, and giant heart would also be a great match for Big Brown.

“Here’s a mare who’s run close to 40 times. Not too many Thoroughbreds are in that position, and she even went out as a winner,” Bishop says, referring to her win in her last race at Belmont Park on May 20.

Murrell and Domino, who each work on Thoroughbred welfare efforts— Murrell with frequent financial contributions to rescue Thoroughbreds from the slaughter pipeline and Domino, serving on the board of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation—were honored by the offer.

Emphasizing that no decision has been made yet for Rock N Cozy, Murrell says he is well aware that some in the horse-welfare world might oppose breeding her, based on arguments of overpopulation and unwanted horse problems.

Rock N Cozy was claimed in May by John Murrell and Carl Domino. Photo by Frankie Olaya

Rock N Cozy was claimed in May by John Murrell and Carl Domino. Photo by Frankie Olaya

“I am active in taking horses out of bad situations when my funds and efforts allow it, and I certainly emphasize with individuals who would have an adverse reaction to a breeding because it creates more horses in the world,” Murrell says. “I understand that, but at the same time, I am also a horseman and I make money in the racing industry. I do it the right way. New York racing has a long history of good programs for New York breds and I think a breeding with Big Brown could be a great boost to the New York industry.”

Domino notes that Rock N Cozy, who was a particular favorite of his wife Sophia, is a solid racehorse in her own right. Earning just over $230,000 on the track, she always tried, regardless of the surface she ran on or the competition around her. “She’s an honest horse and she’s nice to be around. If you look at all of her races, she always tried,” Domino says. “She’s very honest and has a nice conformation.

As Domino and Murrell decide whether to accept the very generous offer from Big Brown’s people at Sunrise Stallions of New York, the mare is being let down, enjoying grass and just being a horse, Murrell says. If they take Big Brown up on the offer, it would occur sometime next year, he says. If they decide not to breed her, Murrell and Domino will begin looking for a permanent home for the mare.

24 responses to “Big Brown waives stud fee for T’bred advocates”

  1. Jon

    No. There are enough horses out there. I get offered wonderful TB’s every week by trainers that I know. A less TB’s in the system means less are ending up as dinner in other countries. Should we breed you to a hunky stud just because you could have children? At some point one has to say no.

  2. Linda Shumate

    I would gladly take any of these horses that are destined for the slaughter. I don’t know how. I have 7 acres and a barn where a horse could live happily. I sold my trailer when i stopped showing. Somebody tell me how to save even one horse

    1. lexi63

      Linda , most of the auctions have someone who will ship a horse for you. if you are near any tracks , leave a flyer at the stable gates , let people know you are looking for a horse to provide a good loving home .. Look for the local horse auctions near you. or contact all of these organizations , all rehome thoroughbreds- all are looking for people like you – also many standardbreds ( if a quieter tempered horse is what your looking for .look up standardbred rehoming organizations ) :

  3. Denise Mosimann

    I hope someone retires JIDDY and sends her to NY . She’s racing in Ohio at Thistledown and needs someone to claim her before she breaksdown like Fire Chief.

  4. Jon

    I would decline the breeding and see if she is could go onto a second career as an event mare, fox hunter or some other sport horse after she has been properly rested and let down. She has proved she is durable. She would be striking in braids coming down the centerline in a dressage ring.

    1. Bridget

      Breed her to Big Brown!!

  5. amber patterson

    Kudos to all involved….this is whats right with the horse business. No matter what you do she will have a great life. An amazing foal and if you decide to retire her we would love to give her a great home with our 2 other aged retired mares off track

  6. Lori C

    To all involved, good Karma is in your future. She is a beautiful mare in her own right, breeding her to the beautiful Big Brown, is a bonus. Best of luck all!

  7. Virendra

    Lexi I love horse you have shock me by saying slaughter house promise me to save horse from slaughter.I love T’bred.

  8. laurie canty

    Thank you for bringing more awareness to the plight of these unwanted warriors. I love Big Brown, what cool horse he is.

  9. Allison M Sartin

    John, just as may offer for your permanent reservation for retirement of your most recent colt stands, I hereby make the same offer for this breeding – if you decide to take this breeding offer, at any time you make a decision to retire or withdraw the offspring from racing, he/she has a permanent retirement home with Sartin Farms West, along with all of the visits, carrots and treats you wish and a cozy and final home for life! Thank you for all you do!!! – Allison Moody Sartin

  10. Stephanie Morse

    I’d still love to see this beauty in the show ring. Maybe breed her and after the foal is weaned, start her on a horse show track.

  11. Debra Sheffield

    I thank you for your putting this article out there as this trainer has had another horse claimed by another party to be retired lately. I think that is a sad statement for New York racing as I have seen many of this trainer’s horses get injured or die on the track. I think these owners understand that the public is watching and weighing in on racing. I think racing is trying to fight its way back into the racing public’s heart since the Triple Crown races. But, with so much information available, it is hard to like what happens to the horses. The good guys need more credit, the bad guys need more punishment and removal. If drugging would be addressed and steps taken, that would be a bigger step in the right direction. The public and betting public wants to see a cleaner, healthier, open vet record type of reform and an end to slaughter.Yes, that is a lot to ask for requiring a governing body and open minds. Shouldn’t the welfare of the jockey, the horse and then the owner be of utmost concern? Danzig Moon is still fresh on my mind and I am sure I am not the only horse owner/lover out there thinking these thoughts.

  12. George Pothos

    Bravo Mr. Eric Bishop your a good man.

  13. Michelle Y.

    Wow, so impressed with how awesome the good people in this business are and continue to be. What an incredibly generous offer from Eric Bishop. So many thanks again and again to John Murrell and Carl Domino. As for the “not-so-good people”, specifically, I wish David Jacobson would retire himself from the racing business for good (disclaimer: I understand Jacobson wasn’t specifically mentioned in the article as being a “not-so-good” person, that is just my personal opinion of him!).

  14. lexi63

    YAAAAY another one saved from the slaughterhouse

  15. Susan Tomlinson

    That’s so awesome. She’s A Beauty. I’m a huge fan of grays and big brown. My husband took in a horse from the track after it suffered a bad break. Owner were going to put down. With a good plea the owners turned the horse over to him. 1 year of treatment and care and he fully recovered. Went on to race again and retired with him as a trail horse and enjoy his life. Keep up the good work. She can retire with me, lol.

  16. Victoria

    What ever is decided, one thing is for sure — good people once again have surfaced and stepped up. Many thanks to Big Brown’s connections for understanding and caring and doing something with the possibilities they can offer and congratulations to Murrell and Domino for their INDOMITABLE spirit of looking after our special creature, equines.

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