California Stallion Mr. Big Dies

Ceiling Crusher | Sarah Andrew

Mr. Big (Dynaformer–Fashion Delight, by Fappiano) died Tuesday due to complications from laminitis. Sire of 12 black-type winners, including California-bred champions Big Fish and Ceiling Crusher, Mr. Big was 21.

Mr. Big was campaigned by George Krikorian, who purchased the bay as a weanling for $220,000 at the 2003 Keeneland November sale. Krikorian then developed him into one of California's leading sires.

“I'm heartbroken–Mr. Big was a very special horse,” Krikorian said.

Mr. Big had stood the past two seasons at Pete and Evelyn Parrella's Legacy Ranch in Clements, California, and had just begun the 2024 covering season.

“Myself, Evelyn and the entire staff at Legacy Ranch are devastated by this sudden turn of events,” Parrella said. “Mr. Big has become a major influence in the breeding industry in California. His loss is not just our loss, but a big loss for the entire state. We are honored that Mr. Krikorian had the confidence in Legacy Ranch to have Mr. Big stand here. He's going to be sorely missed.”

From a racing career limited to nine starts due to injury, Mr. Big won twice at Hollywood Park. He was originally trained by John Shirreffs and later by Bob Baffert after Shirreffs relocated to New York. Under Baffert's tutelage, Mr. Big captured a

1 1/16-mile allowance event with Mike Smith aboard, crushing his competition by 8 3/4 lengths.

Krikorian retired Mr. Big to his Kentucky farm in early 2010 and bred him to a few of his mares. His faith in the horse was rewarded when Mr. Big's first foal, Big Break, won for Krikorian first time out by 7 3/4 lengths at Santa Anita. Big Break went on to earn $236,699 in 42 starts over four seasons.

Ceiling Crusher is the stallion's leading earning to date. The 4-year-old filly won last year's GI Cotillion S. and GIII Torrey Pines S. and, with career earnings of $938,400, sold to Katsumi Yoshida for $750,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Mr. Big got his first graded winner when Kentucky-bred Big Score won the 2017 GIII Transylvania S. at Keeneland in Krikorian's colors.

“I brought Mr. Big out to California because I thought he'd have a better chance as a stallion,” Krikorian said. “And that's what happened.”

Krikorian-bred Big Fish won the 2020 Del Mar Juvenile Turf S. and was named co-champion Cal-bred 2-year-old male of 2020. Other stakes winners soon followed, including $392,420-earner Big Switch, $367,958-earner Big Sweep, $367,958-earner Big Summer, and $345,770-earner Chancery Way.

“We have a lot of horses coming up by Mr. Big that have shown good potential,” Krikorian said. “Mr. Big was the special gift that kept on giving.”

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