Horse Racing

Big Brown's Owner Hasn't Owned Up

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Michael Iavarone, owner of Triple Crown contender Big Brown, was fined, censured and suspended by securities regulators for unauthorized trades in 1999.

Iavarone, 37, a former stockbroker, hasn't disclosed the regulatory actions as he plans to raise $100 million for a hedge fund that will invest in racehorses. Big Brown, a 3-year-old colt, would be the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 30 years if he finishes first in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

Iavarone, who rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, is co-chief executive of International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Inc., a privately held company that owns Big Brown and about 80 other racehorses.

His IEAH Web site includes an article about him from the Thoroughbred Daily News that says Iavarone has a bachelor's degree from UCLA. "That's a mistake," Iavarone says.

Vernon Bell, one of Iavarone's customers when Iavarone worked at brokerage firm A.R. Baron, urges prospective investors to be cautious.

"I know his past history," Bell said. "I don't know if he's mended his ways. I wouldn't give him a second chance."

-- From News Services

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