KENTUCKY bred colt Apollo Sonic has the chance to become a first crop Grade One winner for his sire Big Brown this weekend when he lines-up in the Japan Derby (2400m) in Tokyo.

Apollo Sonic first signalled that he might develop into a Derby / winning a 16-horse maiden over 1400m last November in the capital.

He stepped-up his claims with a powerful 1 1/4-lens win in the 2200m Yamabuki Sho on March 30.

Apollo Sonic lept into Japan Derby calculations when finishing a head second to Deep Impact colt Hiraboku Deep in the Tokyo Hai Aoba Sho Gr.2 over the classic distance of 2400m on turf.

Apollo Sonic is a member of Big Brown’s first northern hemisphere crop which has so far delivered 29 winners – 16 in 2013 so far – from a total of 57 runners.

Included among those are the first crop stakeswinners Brown Almighty and Bella Castani as well as the stakes-placed Brown Laddie and Apollo Sonic.  Interestingly, both Big Brown’s U.S stakes winners have  been on the turf.

Last Sunday, Big brown’s previously unbeaten filly Maracuya finished fourth in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes Gr.2  on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico.

“One of the most pleasing aspects of Big Brown’s success is that his progeny are able to commit to their best on both turf and dirt,” says Vinery Stud’s Conor Phelan.

“Big Brown was undefeated in his only two appearances on grass, he won his first start as a two-year-old by nearly 12-lens at Saratoga and won his last ever start in the $500,000 Grade 2 at Monmouth.”

Big Brown’s first Australian bred progeny sold for up $170,000 at major yearling sales held in 2013 so far whilst demand for his U.S progeny continues to grow with each new winner.  Big Brown yearlings sold to $825,000 in 2012 and his ready to run 2yo’s selling to $1,300,000.


Meanwhile, Big Brown’s inaugural stakeswinner, Brown Almighty, returns to the scene of his debut win when he lines-up in the Arlington Classic Gr.3 (1 1/16m) on Sunday morning our time.

The Tim Ice trained chestnut burst onto the scene with consecutive wins from his opening two starts quickly catapulting himself from maiden winner to stakeswinner after his triumph in the Sunny’s Halo Stakes in Louisiana.

Brown Almighty resumed with a credible fourth in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes (1 1/16m) on the turf at Keeneland in Kentucky in preparation for this weekends tilt.