Paul Pompa Jr. Dies At 62; Campaigned Big Brown, Connect

Paul Pompa Jr., a prominent Thoroughbred owner and breeder best known as the co-owner of Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, died on Friday at the age of 62. Daily Racing Form’s David Grening indicated the New Jersey resident’s death may have been from an apparent heart attack.

Pompa entered Thoroughbred ownership in 2000 and enjoyed  considerable success, campaigning at least 15 graded stakes winners including Connect, winner of the G1 Cigar Mile Handicap in 2016 and now standing at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky.

Other major winners include multiple graded stakes winners Backseat Rhythm (G1 Garden City); Zakocity, D’Funnybone, Night Prowler and most recently Regal Glory, a homebred by Animal Kingdom who won the G3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes on Sept. 12.

But it was Big Brown that put Pompa on the map as a Thoroughbred owner. President of Truck-Rite Corp. in Brooklyn, N.Y., Pompa purchased the Boundary colt for $180,000 from Eddie Woods, agent, at the 2007 Keeneland April Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. He named him Big Brown, a nickname for UPS, a major client of his trucking company.

After a first-out win at Saratoga while trained by Patrick Reynolds, Pompa sold majority interest in the colt to IEAH Stables and Big Brown won six of his next seven starts, including the G1 Florida Derby, G1 Kentucky Derby, G1 Preakness Stakes and G1 Haskell Invitational Stakes for trainer Rick Dutrow. His only career defeat came when turning in a puzzling effort while being eased in the G1 Belmont Stakes while going for a sweep of the Triple Crown.

In recent years, Pompa had horses with Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher and Linda Rice. Some were homebreds, some purchased at auction and he also claimed a few that he called “action horses.”

Five years after Big Brown entered stud, Pompa paid $150,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Yearling Sale for a Curlin colt consigned by VanMeter Sales that would be named Connect. Winner of two races in his juvenile season for Brown, Connect would go on to win the G2 Pennsylvania Derby at 3 and then beat older horses in the Cigar Mile in 2016.

Connect came back to win the G3 Westchester Stakes  the following year in a prep for the G1 Metropolitan Mile Handicap, but a suspensory injury sustained in training prompted his retirement.

Known for having an even keel when it came to the ups and downs of ownership, Pompa told Daily Racing Form’s Grening, “One day you have the favorite for the Met Mile. The next day, the horse will probably never run again. That’s pretty much the way owners live.”

Upon learning the news of Pompa’s death, Pletcher told Grening: “Devastating loss for everyone, great man, great owner. He always saw the bright side of everything.”

Pompa is survived by his wife Elisa and sons Paul III and Michael. Arrangements were pending.


The post Paul Pompa Jr. Dies At 62; Campaigned Big Brown, Connect appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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