Big Brown Owner Declines "Invite" to Woodward

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - If horse racing's two stars are going to meet, it won't be at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.

Michael Iavarone, co-owner of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, said Wednesday he has no plans to enter his colt in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 30 despite an invitation from Jess Jackson, the majority owner of 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin.

Jackson offered to donate $50,000 to charity if Big Brown takes on Curlin in 1 1/8-mile Woodward on the dirt. Jackson's invitation comes after Big Brown trainer Rick Dutrow said he thought Big Brown could beat Curlin in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Jackson, though, has been noncommittal about Curlin defending his title in the Classic, which will be run on a synthetic surface for the first time.

Big Brown is coming off a tough win in the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3, and Iavarone said the colt needs time to regroup.

Last week, Jackson announced Curlin's next start would be in the Woodward.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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