Throwing the ‘Book’ at the Torrey Pines

Friday, August 28, 2015 | Back to: Shared News

Big Book | Benoit Photo

By Heather Anderson

Undefeated Big Book (Mr. Big) makes her graded stakes debut in Sunday’s GIII Torrey Pines S. at the seaside oval off a professional victory in Del Mar’s Cal-bred Fleet Treat S. July 25 for trainer Tim Yakteen and owner/breeder George Krikorian. The attractive grey worked a sharp five panels in :59 4/5 (10/95) at Del Mar Aug. 22 and is giving every indication she is sitting on a big effort, according to Yakteen.

“She is coming into the race off an excellent work,” said a hopeful Yakteen, who trains a handful of horses for Krikorian, a member of the California Horse Racing Board and founder of Krikorian Premier Theatres. “She seems to be coming along absolutely perfect.”

Perfect sums up Big Book’s race record to date. Unraced at two due to her size inherited from 17.2-hand sire Mr. Big (Dynaformer), the sophomore earned a nose success versus state-breds at first asking sprinting six furlongs at Santa Anita May 23 before a win against similar in an optional claimer stretched to a mile–the same distance as the Torrey Pines–June 13 prior to her Fleet Treat victory. Regular rider Rafael Bajarano will be back aboard Big Book this weekend.

Added Yakteen, “She’s a very big filly, very much along the lines of her sire Mr. Big. She’s a very straightforward filly. She loves her training. [The preparation for the Torrey Pines] has pretty much been uneventful, she’s doing quite well. You have to watch yourself around the barn [though] because she is a little aggressive.” 

A May foal, Big Book is a Krikorian product through and through and is a product of the popular Dynaformer over Carson City cross that produced GI Kentucky Derby hero Barbaro. By California resident and Krikorian-owned Mr. Big, a $220,000 KEENOV weanling purchase in 2003 by Krikorian who is a half-brother to GIII Santa Paula S. winner Magnificience (Stormy Atlantic), Big Book is built in a similar mold to her sire.

“They are all big and strong boned,” said Krikorian, who grew up near the now-defunct Rockingham Park in New Hampshire. “Mr. Big stamps all his foals that way. She certainly started to stand out when we put her into training.”

Big Book’s dam Novel Twist (Holy Bull), out of the Carson City mare The Green Owl, joined the Krikorian fold when snapped up for $100,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. She a half-sister to three stakes winners with the best of them being Group 2 winner Barbecue Eddie (Stormy Atlantic), who also ran third in the 2007 GI Ancient Title S.

Mr. Big and Novel Twist both carried Krikorian’s distinctive magenta-and-blue silks to allowance victories at Hollywood Park and Laurel Park, respectively. Although neither set hoof in a stakes race of any sort, Krikorian, the son of a trainer, is no stranger to graded stakes victories, having enjoyed great success at the highest level with horses like MGISWs Starrer (Dynaformer) and Hollywood Story (Wild Rush), as well as GISW Star Billing (Dynaformer), who sold for $2.6 million at KEENOV in 2013 to Mt. Brilliant Farm.

One of 20 horses in training for Krikorian, owner of Starwood Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, Big Book has raised the flag for the success of the Kirkorian breeding operation.

“I think I’ve had some pretty good success with the homebred program, so I’m really pleased with the direction that’s been going,” said a buoyant Krikorian, who will be on hand Sunday to see Big Book take her chance and break new ground for her sire. “She’s running against some pretty nice horses and we’re hoping that she does well. So depending on how that all works out, that’ll determine the next steps for her.”

Added Yakteen, “You always have to respect your competition. Obviously the standout in this field is going to be [GISW] Stellar Wind [Curlin]. She comes with some pretty strong credentials. It’s just nice to be able to run against a filly like that. I think Big Book deserves an opportunity and I think the timing is right. She’s proven herself at a mile and I think this is a great time to jump into graded company.”