A Big Brown fly in the ointment

Michael Iavarone has no sense of timing.

Whether his claim of threats tied to Big Brown’s performance was true or not, the Breeders’ Cup broadcast was not the time or place to be airing that kind of dirty laundry. This is a day to showcase to new viewers the best the sport has to offer, not its seedy underbelly.

Clearly, this is Mr. Iavarone’s last desperate grasp at riding Big Brown’s star before the dual classic winner disappears to the breeding shed, taking his owner’s national notoriety with him. The IEAH Stables’ Co-President and Co-CEO has had four months to bring this revelation to light, and trying to steal the spotlight from the biggest day in racing is classless.

Maybe there was a good reason for Iavarone’s delay. Perhaps he was not allowed to comment on the situation while it was still under investigation. Maybe he felt the safety of his family would be compromised by making his announcement any sooner. Either way, if he wanted to inform the public about the threats to his family, there were better ways to go about it. Gathering the media before or after the races for a press conference would have accomplished the same goal while showing the Breeders’ Cup the respect it deserves.

A wag of the finger also goes to ABC for giving Iavarone the platform to make his claim. Aside from the content itself, the thrown-together presentation gave the the segment the feel of an impromptu moderated press conference, starting abruptly and finishing even more so. The whole thing came off as unprofessional, and someone should be reprimanded for letting it happen.

What Big Brown did in May was something special, but the actions of his connections are getting old very quickly. It is nice to see great horses do great things, but with owners like Michael Iavarone and his IEAH Stables drawing negative attention to themselves and the game, it becomes difficult to root for the player in spite of the team.

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