Road to the Triple Crown Teleconference transcript from March 5, 2013

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Eric Wing:                             Hello everyone. We’ve got another nice lineup of guests to talk about this coming weekend’s big Triple Crown races.  They’re a pair of Grade 2 mile and a sixteenth events, both offering 50 points to the winner in the Kentucky Derby points standings.  The point breakdown will be 50, 20, 10 and 5 for this weekend’s two big races.  A little later on we’ll talk to trainer Mark Casse who has the Sam F. Davis stakes runner-up Dynamic Sky pointing to Saturday’s Grade 2 mile and a sixteenth Tampa Bay Derby.  That race carrying a purse of $350,000.  We’ll also check in later in the call with assistant trainer, Dennis O’Neill.  Team O’Neill will be saddling Goldencents, the winner of the Sham Stakes.  Goldencents already has 24 Derby points so he’s in pretty good shape for the time being, but he’ll be looking to add to that total Saturday in the Grade 2 $300,000 San Felipe stakes at Santa Anita.  As mentioned earlier, that race also at a mile and a sixteenth. 

 

                                                First up though, we’re very pleased to welcome in Bryan Sullivan.  He’s the managing member—or a managing member of Let’s Go Stable, and they’ve got the horse that a lot of eyes will be focused on this weekend, Verrazano, as he looks to make it three wins from as many starts in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby. 

 

                                                Bryan, it’s Eric Wing in New York.  How are you today?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Eric, I’m well.  Thanks for having me.

 

Eric Wing:                             Bryan, you guys had a great run last year at this time with El Padrino.  He got you to the Derby.  This year you’ve got a horse that’s as or more exciting perhaps, in fact a half-brother to El Padrino, out of the same mare, Enchanted Rock, Verrazano.  How has the excitement that Verrazano has provided in just two races compared to the trip with El Padrino last year?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Well, it’s happened quickly as you mentioned.  I mean we were, you know, sitting here the end of December with an unraced two-year-old and here we are at the beginning of March with a, you know, a much hyped three-year-old colt.  But, you know, as much as they are very similar, they’re different and I would think with El Padrino, as good as he was last year, we were always just a couple off where we probably needed to be with Union Rags and everybody else.  And we thought that this instance—and maybe a slight improvement would help and we just, you know, we couldn’t get there.  And I’d say that the opposite side of that equation is Verrazano, where he’s just—he’s just always just been so forward in his training and I don’t—I think he’s already where he needs to be, but obviously you always got to keep getting better in this game.  But I would say that’s the main difference where it’s, you know, it’s a little bit different when you feel like you’re where you need to be.

 

Eric Wing:                             And I’m sure, regardless of what happens result-wise in Saturday’s race, that the two-turn seasoning will be very key for Verrazano, especially not having made his first start until January 1st.

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Sure.  Yes, I mean anything we can get seasoning-wise out of these hopefully the next two races if we get lucky before we get to the Derby will be a bonus.  Obviously we don’t have a two-year-old foundation, but I think if you look back the last five, maybe ten, years, it’s—the two-year-old seasoning, why it’s definitely important.  I think you’re seeing a lot more horses like the Curlins and the Bodemeisters and horses that are lightly raced that do come out of nowhere are starting to make more noise, you know, during the classics, and I think it’s just a matter of time before one of these unraced two-year-olds probably breaks that jinx of Apollo.

 

Eric Wing:                             Bryan, your success thus far with Let’s Go Stable has kind of paralleled a lot of the success stories we’ve seen in recent years with partnership groups owning these top horses.  Can you just kind of break down for us how this particular group is structured?  Is it consistent with all the Let’s Go Stable horses?  Or does it vary from horse to horse?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   The way they’re run stays the same.  I think the only thing that really changes would be the horses that are owned in the partnerships and the investors.  So this is a smaller group.  It’s six people and only two horses.  So that’s the main difference.  Last year with El Padrino was six colts and about 13 or 14 folks that owned all the horses together.  So the one variable would be the horses and the amount of investors, but everything else stays the same.

 

Eric Wing:                             Okay, so fewer problems with Verrazano getting seats then?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Correct, which is always a tough equation.  We managed to do it last year, but it’s not fun.  That is the least amount of fun that I had is just trying to get everybody together and organize, and tickets, and it’s—but listen, if that’s the worst problem I have, I guess I could be worse off.

 

 

Danny Brewer:                    The Verrazano, he’s lightly raised but highly acclaimed.  Does that make Tampa a proving ground for him?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Yes.  I would guess wherever he ran next, whether it was the Gotham, the Florida Derby, the Tampa Rebel, you know—it’s funny that we’re on the top of a lot of people’s list and we only have those two wins, the maiden and the allowance.  So yes, sure.  I guess there’d be some kind of validation there.  So it’s going to be—I would think the way these preps are lining up, it’s going to be a big field.  We won’t know until tomorrow, but I bet you get 8, 9, or 10 in there.  And, you know, we need to continue to move forward.  And he’s doing tremendous and we’re just excited to watch him run on Saturday.

 

Danny Brewer:                    Was the surface at Tampa a deciding factor for you guys?  They say it helps colts and what not.  Did that play any factor in your decision to run at Tampa Bay?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Well, I don’t know.  I mean I’ve—I think people more complained about its quirkiness because it’s a little bit more sandy-based than other tracks, but we came down to the Gotham; you never know what the weather is going to be like up in New York City the first week of March and we’re actually supposed to get a Northeaster—a northeast storm here tomorrow, so you can see that.  But it kind of came down to really timing.  You know, he ran the 1st of January, we gave him four or five weeks, he came back February 2nd and we kind of wanted to stay on that pattern of good spacing, and this has kind of—gave us the option to good spacing and it’s a—you know, it’s a three and a half hour van ride from Palm Meadows where he trains.  So, you know, he’s be back by the barn tomorrow—you know, Sunday morning.

 

Carol Holden:                      Hi, Bryan.  Thanks a lot for joining us.  You said that this was a smaller group this year than with the El Padrino last year.  Are any of the same people involved?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Yes.  Everybody that—everybody that is involved in Verrazano was involved in El Padrino as well.  We’ve obviously lost some that were in El Padrino that did not come into the Verrazano partnership.

 

Carol Holden:                      Did these folks really realize how fortunate they are to have a Kentucky Derby contender, or a possible contender, two years in a row, and probably relatively new in the business?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   You know what?  Most of them are pretty smart, and it’s tough to point that out.  You know, you just try and enjoy it as much as possible, but it is a very, very fortunate circumstance that we’re in and we’re just hoping to keep moving forward and getting to the first Saturday in May.

 

Carol Holden:                      Oh, good.  Congratulations and the best of luck along the way.

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Thanks.  I appreciate it.

 

 

Jenny Rees:                        Yes, Bryan.  Two questions.  First one, you were talking about more people complaining of the quirkiness of Tampa.  In fact, history shows a lot of short-priced horses being brought down running over that surface for the first time.  Does that concern you at all that it can often be, you know, sort of deep and tiring?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Yes.  You know, we didn’t have many options, I think, really when it came down to it, a few realistic when he ran such a big number in his allowance race.  He had three options.  You got the Gotham, you got the Tampa Bay, or you had the Rebel, or you could probably skip all three and just put all your eggs in one basket.  But with the new points system, you know, we zero in this and, you know, I’ve seen a lot of horses in years past that have gone there.  i.e., the Supersavers, the Street Sence, the Bluegrass Cats, horses like that, because if they say earlier in the year they’re going to go there, in years past, you know, they can kind of dictate that maybe they’ll get a smaller field and things like that.  And it’s worked out for some horses and other horses it hasn’t.  But with the points system now, I mean it’s tough to scare away people.  It really, really is.  I mean, just, you know, when you’re giving away theses points and the way this is going to work out, that, you know, you might have some people that want to race that say, “Hey, you know what?  I’m not trying to win it.  I’m trying to run second or third so I can get my 20 or 30 or 10 points.”  So, you know, it really has changed the dynamics of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, and I think you’ll see that play out.  We already have; you’ll see it play out more over the next five or six weeks.

 

Jenny Rees:                        Are y’all looking at the Wood as the final step?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   We like to take one thing at a time, but I think the two most logical races would be the Wood or the Florida Derby.  And it would just be dependent on like Todd and how the horse comes out of it, how he did and things like that.  So they would be the two logical.

 

Jenny Rees:                        And actually I do have another question.  Can you just talk about the name? 

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   No, you know what?  He—yes, he was horse that Jake always liked a lot last year when we had El Padrino, and he actually had a few names.  We actually originally named him Garden Salute, which is a New York Rangers term.  I’m a big hockey fan, and the players on the Rangers salute the crowd at the end of the game, after each home game, by raising their sticks.  And then some people liked it, some people didn’t like it.  And then we actually picked around the name Lupo, which is like—I think it’s the wolf in Italian trying to keep with El Padrino theme, and it just became like a saga, naming this horse.  And so—but the co-managing member, Kevin Scatuorchio, who’s actually getting married this June, is—was on his way to the city with his fiancée in early fall and was taking a boat into the city, and went underneath the Verrazano Bridge and he texted me.  He said, “Hey, what do you think about the name, Verrazano?”  And at this point, I just wanted to name him.  I said, “Hey.  Sounds good with me.  Let’s see if it’s available.”  So we did go ahead and name him.  And he actually—when we got the name back, they actually spelled the name wrong.  They actually spelled it with two Z’s, which is the actual architect of the bridge.  So then we resubmitted it a fourth time to get just the one Z.  So—but it kind of, you know, it kind of fit because he’s such a big and scopey horse, and it was just kind of one of those things.  I’m like, “Hey, I think that’s actually a pretty cool name.”  So that’s what he—we went with and Kevin’s responsible for naming it.

 

Jenny Rees:                        I hope Kevin’s not getting married Belmont Day?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   No.  You know, when you’re in this business, you always make sure of your planning.  He’s actually getting married the week before on the 1st.

 

 

Mike Pender:                       Just a quick question about Verrazano and his training.  Before the allowance, he—and I guess even before the—before the maiden win, he was—seemed like he was training with the three-year-olds and even Shanghai Bobby, but since the Allowance it seems like he’s been going with Discreet Dancer and some of the older ones.  Does that sort of say anything about how well he’s doing?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Well, he is doing tremendous.  I think it also, you know, it’s like landing airplanes in Todd’s barn.  You know, it’s—we’re on kind of a different schedule than some of these other horses, so when Violence and those horses were getting ready, we were kind of coming out of our race.  And so, you know, Todd really likes to match up the works with horses on certain schedules, and I believe Discreet Dancer is racing this Saturday, so that’s kind of where we lined up…

 

Mike Pender:                       Right.

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   …horses, but, you know, I guess the flip side of that is he’s doing really well, and…

 

Mike Pender:                       And…

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Go ahead.

 

Mike Pender:                       Yes, okay.  No, sorry.  Absolutely.  And I guess just one other quick thing.  Is there any thought if he does run off and hide on Saturday that you would go straight in?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   You know what?  I guess it’s a possibility.  We’ve got partners on this horse and we trust Todd tremendously, so I think you’d have to balance, you know, how well he did and what did he run.  And let’s not forget these next—the next two races that we’re talking about, potentially, or some of these other ones.  They’re all Grade 1 races, which makes stallions as well.  So it might be tough to pass up those races and go right into a 20-horse cavalry charge, but I think anything is possible.  We’ll just try and take this one race first.

 

Debbie Arrington:              Hi.  Thanks very much for coming on today.  And I wanted to follow up on the points system.  Here you’ve got a, you know, an incredibly talented horse in the Derby future pool, but under the current points system, you know, unless you pile up a bunch of points here pretty quick, you know, you could be on the outside looking in.  What do you think, do you think that this points system is better than the system we had before?  Or how do you feel about it?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   My personal opinion is I think it’s a step in the right direction.  I really do.  I think there’s too many races that reward points with graded earnings that happen during the two-year-old year as well as some of the sprint races in the three-year-old year.  So I think it’s a system that’s going to work.  I think it’s just, like anything, going to probably need to be tweaked a little bit here and there.  I know everyone’s mentioned Shanghai Bobby should get an automatic berth, and I think there some other races, the Champagne and things like that, but I do believe it’s really helped these preps.  I mean if you look—if you look at the field and way that we see the fields probably for the last round of preps, I think it’s made them very, very competitive.  There’s a lot of horses.  Everybody’s gunning for these points.  So it’s really, really helped it.  I mean I guess the flipside that has it really—has it possibly hurt these other races, i.e., the Swale, the Hutcheson, some of these shorter races, because people are saying, “Hey, I can’t get points there so I got to go here.”  So I’m not saying that they have hurt those races, but you can see with the field sizes of these prep races that it’s definitely influenced everybody’s thinking.

 

Debbie Arrington:              Mm-hmm.  And you’re in a very large barn there too with a lot of other candidates for these races. 

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Oh, yes.

 

Debbie Arrington:              Has there been any, you know, any suggestions?  Like…

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Any suggestions where like you go here, I go there?

 

Debbie Arrington:              Yes, exactly.  Yes.

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   You know what?  Todd’s great.  He’s great at communicating and he’s very, very honest.  And, you know, we—everyone kind of knows where they are in Todd’s barn and you kind of—we all, I think, try and do our best to avoid each other, but we’re also cognizant that as we get closer here, it’s going to be—it’s going to become very, very tough.  So we run our schedule.  We really haven’t deviated from that and, you know, we’re just hoping to keep moving forward.  And, you know, we all—I think he’s a really, really nice horse and I just hope that—I hope that he keeps moving forward because what he’s been doing in the morning is been pretty special.

 

Debbie Arrington:              Very good.  Best of luck.

 

 

Jenny Rees:                        Yes, Bryan, a follow-up.  Obviously Verrazano’s a brilliant horse, and as you mentioned, he is on the top of a lot of the derby polls.  Do you think that’s so much because he is so brilliant?  Or do you think it’s also because maybe people have a lot of questions about the accomplished two-year-olds last year that have sort of all been driven up?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Yes.  It’s probably, you know, it’s probably a little bit of both.  You know, you get horses like a Curlin or a Big Brown or horses like that—and I’m not comparing our horse to them—but, you know, they do something in a race, whether it’s the way they move, the time, it’s just it gets a lot of people excited.  And, you know, I guess what he’s done in his first two races is create that excitement.  I mean, you know, he’s—it’s been validated a lot of horses he’s beaten have come back and won.  I know Gunderman came back and won last week and his times have been fast and things like that.  So while he’s lightly-raced and improving, he’s doing things that are very, very impressive for a lightly-raced horse to do.  And we know that we need to take that next step with, A, tougher company and maybe a slightly bigger field, and then two turns.  So, you know, we’re looking forward to getting that going.

 

Jenny Rees:                        From what you hear of the probables for the Tampa Bay Derby, are there any particular horses that give you cause for pause?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   I guess all horses give me—I would love for it to be a one-horse field, if that’s possible, but I don’t think we’re going to get that.  I—you know, listen, there’s a number of good horses.  I mean you could make your argument that maybe we—while you don’t have the top few horses in this race, it’s a pretty deep race.  I mean Dynamic Sky is a very, very nice horse.  Fallen Sky is a nice horse.  Purple Egg is a nice horse.  Honorable Dylan (ph) is a nice horse.  So you kind of have a good mix of some depth of five or six horses.  So I think it’ll be a good task, and, you know, we’re just looking for a good post, a good trip, and hopefully the horse will do all our talking.

 

Journal.  Please go ahead.

 

Jim Turizmi:                         Hi, Bryan.  I just wanted to follow up on the naming of the horse.  Are you and Kevin both from the New York area?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   We are.  I lived in the city for seven or eight years, but we’re both down in Monmouth County in New Jersey.  So, got a lot of friends in and family in the city and I’ve worked in New York for, like I said, seven or eight years while I lived there.  So…

 

Jim Turizmi:                         And so were you looking—I know you—were you looking for a New York themed name for this horse?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   You know, I mean I guess possibly because we were going to name him after the Garden Salute with New York Rangers, but it wasn’t—that wasn’t really the thinking and it was just kind of let’s get a name that we like and it’s catchy and it works.  And like I said, it took a while to name this horse.  And good thing we weren’t in a rush because he was slow to come around as a two-year-old.  He had some little shin—little baby issues and so we just gave him the time that he needed.  But it wasn’t so much a New York thing but it’s like anything, when you name a horse something and then he starts to run like the way he has, it doesn’t matter what you call him, everyone thinks it’s a great name.  So—but we’re just happy that—with the way he’s doing right now.

 

 

Eric Wing:                             Bryan, as you look at the Tampa Bay Derby, I mean Verrazano sat just off of quick paces in his two wins, but he’ll be facing at least three stakes winners this time, at least a couple of whom have some speed.  Do you think they’re going to—they’re going to dog you around the track?  Or do you think they’re going to be too afraid to get close to you for fear of using up their own fuel?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Yes, you know, Kevin and I spoke about that last night.  I mean it just depends what their tactics are.  I mean some people may come in here saying, “You know what?  Let’s just try and let’s let him run his race.  If he wins, great.  Let’s try and get second or third or something like that.”  I mean, I don’t think these other horses that we’ve mentioned, the five or six other horses, are doing that.  I think they’re all in here with the idea they have a legitimate shot, which they do, so, you know, our horse is very, very tractable.  He’s very, very fast.  And Johnny’s as good as it comes, so Johnny will be responsible for all that and we’ll just see how it shakes out.

 

Eric Wing:                             And lastly, Bryan, you mentioned that the six investors who are in on Verrazano also have at least one other horse as part of the package.  Who’s their other horse?

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   That horse is Harper and the Tempest (ph) .  She was actually two for two for us when she was claimed.  So the two horses are a combined four for four in this partnership.  So I think we should close it down and then just say, “Okay, we can’t do any better than that.”  But she’s no longer with us.  I think Linda Rice claimed her off us about a month ago.

 

Eric Wing:                             So you might have some angry investors should Verrazano ever lose.

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Yes.  It would ruin the record so far.  But we’re just hoping to carry the momentum we got with him right now and we’re all just really, really excited for Saturday.  Saturday should be a great race because I think we’ll all get to see what Bob Baffert has on the West Coast as well with some of his horses.

 

Eric Wing:                             Yes.  Great racing this weekend for sure on both coasts and Verrazano is a very big part of that. 

 

                                                Bryan, thank you so much for your time today and we wish you the best of luck on Saturday.

 

Bryan Sullivan:                   Okay.  I appreciate it.  Thank you.

 

Eric Wing:                             That’s Bryan Sullivan, managing member of Let’s Go Stable, and he’s got the horse to beat, Verrazano, in Saturday’s $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby.  Again, that race worth 50 points to the winner, 20 for second, 10 for third, and 5 for fourth in the race to accumulate points and secure a starting berth in the Run for the Roses come May 4th

 

                                                Okay.  Thank you again to Bryan.  And our next guest is a gentleman who hopes that the perfect record of the Let’s Go Stable investors does not continue because he’s going to be saddling one of Verrazano’s opponents, the very capable Dynamic Sky.  Mark, it’s Eric Wing in New York.  Thanks for being with us today.

 

Mark Casse:                         Hi, Eric.  How are you?

 

Eric Wing:                             I’m fine.  Yourself?

 

Mark Casse:                         I’m great.

 

Eric Wing:                             Now we’ve just spent several minutes talking about Verrazano and there’s no question that he is a very talented colt.  Dynamic Sky is a talented colt as well but perhaps not the luckiest so far, at least from—certainly based on his trip in the Sam F. Davis stakes and some of the stops and starts he’s had in various races prior to that.  Putting everything else aside, are you just hoping for a smooth trip Saturday?

 

Mark Casse:                         You know, I’ve taken all those ins and outs and everything as a great learning experience.  So of course we’re looking for a better trip.  We’ve made a change in riders.  Not that I necessarily feel that Lewis has done a poor job or anything—a bad job or anything, just, you know, we’re trying—we need to find just a little bit more and we’re just going to try whatever we can to try to get that little bit more.

 

Eric Wing:                             Okay.  And just for the record, Mark, your rider on Saturday will be?

 

Mark Casse:                         Joel Rosario.

 

Eric Wing:                             Joel Rosario.  Yes, indeed, and certainly very capable and experienced there in the saddle.  Mark, I don’t want to take my eye off the ball, but while we have you, I do want to ask you about another very talented colt in your barn, Uncaptured.  I noticed from a Jenny Rees tweet earlier that he worked today.  How did the work go?  And are you indeed looking at the Spiral  with him?

 

Mark Casse:                         Eric, I have to tell you, I thought his work today was as good as the horse could work.  I was very excited on how well he worked today and I have to tell you that there’s been some moments through the wintertime that I wasn’t so sure that we had any chance of making the Derby.  I feel like now, the way he’s trained, I’m not so sure he’s not training better than ever.  I know he looks better than ever.  He’s grown; he’s now about—I guess he’s about 16-3.  He’s just a picture of health.  And I worked him this morning with a really good filly called Delightful Mary.  She was third in the Breeder’s Cup, a champion two-year-old filly in Canada, and she’s now four, I believe it is.  Four or five—actually, it may be five.  But she’s on her comeback trail, but I’ve never seen anybody outwork her and I wanted to put a good work into him and he worked just super.  He came home the last quarter in 23 and 1 and went 59 and 4 up in 12 and 2, I think it was, and seven-eighths in 26.  But it wasn’t how fast he was, it’s just the way he did it.  And I was there, of course, when he pulled up and he didn’t take a deep breath.  So, as I told Jenny earlier today, you know, I always really thought we would probably be going in the (inaudible) way, but if he continues to train the way he did today, we’ll probably go straight in through the Spiral.

 

Rees:                                     Yes, Mark.  Same question I asked Bryan Sullivan that you know better than I because you race a lot at Tampa that it can be kind of a quirky track.  And a lot short-priced horses have gotten tripped up there.  How big an advantage do you think it is for you that Dynamic Sky has, you know, been racing over that surface?

 

Mark Casse:                         I, you know, I think it’s a huge advantage.  You know, Mr. Oxley and I talked about it and Verrazano’s a tough horse.  He’s going to be a tough horse.  But if—I think that right now he’s coming to play at our house.  We’ve already established our stuff there.  He still has to do it.  Even though he has to run two turns, he’s got to be able to get over Tampa’s racetrack, which a lot of horses don’t like.  You know, I wish it was a little farther.  I think our horses probably the farther the better, but, you know, our horses train good.  He’s going to run really good and we’ll see.  You know, if Verrazano can carry the—his speed around two turns, he’s going to be very tough.  I ran against him the other day with a colt that I think a lot of, called Thunder Man (ph), and we went head to head with him for about five eighths of a mile and he—Patrick Husbands (ph) told me Johnny, in the last race, just smiled at him and off he went.  So, you know, we have our work cut out for us, that’s for sure.

 

Jenny Rees:                        Do you think the fact that Verrazano, you know, off a one-turn allowance race is the derby favorite at this point at both the Future wager and also in a lot of the polls, is a tribute to his brilliance or question that some may have about the top two-year-olds last year?

 

Mark Casse:                         I just—you know what?  It’s hype.  And, you know, he might be the next Secretariat.  And any time people see, you know, horses that win with the authorities along with and how fast he is, but we all know we’ve seen similar types.  It doesn’t always—I don’t know what it is, but when you go around two turns it can change things sometimes.  You know, I’m not sure.  He’s a really pretty horse.  He’s a big strong horse.  To me he looks like a really good miler, but who knows?  I didn’t think Curlin would go a mile and a quarter, but I was wrong.  I’ve been wrong many times.

 

Jenny Rees:                        Well, if he is the next Secretariat, would you sign up now to play the role of Sham?

 

Mark Casse:                         Oh, sure.  I’ll take finishing second in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.  The only thing, I would like to not run in the Belmont.

 

 

Carol Holden:                      Hi, Mark.  Thanks a lot for joining us today.  I have a question more about the business in general.  I know Mr. and Mrs. Oxley had tremendous success about 10 or 12 years ago and then had sort of a downhill run without too much, I guess you could say, action.  This is a relatively common circumstance for people who are in racing for an extended period of time.  Can you explain some of the things that cause this to happen?  That people have such tremendous success and then have a lull, and then if they stay in the business long enough, they’re going to have some more nice horses.

 

Mark Casse:                         That’s a big question and an excellent question.  I don’t know that I have all the answers, but, you know, as far as the Oxleys went, I think they had a tremendous success.  I don’t—I’m not sure whether—you know, they’ve won not only the Kentucky Derby, but they’ve won the Oaks as well and I don’t know if anybody else has done that.  Maybe (inaudible) or somebody like that or, you know, many years ago.  But I don’t really know what the answer to that is.  I know the answer to the Oxleys.  But you know it’s such a tough business that it’s tough to be good all the time and do well.  And I think, let’s face it, most of the people that are in the game have been successful in their lives because it is the sport of kings and it takes a lot of money to play, but there’s a lot of excitement.  But I think you can do one of two things.  When you’re like the Oxleys you can do one of two things.  You can quit or, once you’ve been somewhere, it’s—you want to be back there again.  I often wondered about the Yankees and stuff, how they could win World Series after World Series and still want to win again.  And I think I won the Sovereign Award three or four years in a row in Canada and I was like, I want to win it again.  So it doesn’t matter if you’ve won it, you just—it makes you want to win it that much more, and I think that’s probably what happens.  Some people get a little—go through a little lull and they remember the excitement and want to get back into it.

 

Carol Holden:                      They both breed and purchase at the sales, don’t they?

 

Mark Casse:                         They do.  They’ve been actually big breeders for some time now, but they were selling most of them.  And just a couple years ago I happened—that’s how it all started.  I trained a couple homebreds for them and they weren’t very successful.  But we had lunch one day for the Illinois Derby and we ran a horse in it and he ran terrible, but it was kind of a changing point in my life and as well as the Oxley’s.  We had a conversation and out of it we decided to buy a few horses, and the first five or six horses we bought, I think four of them were stakes winners.  And we built on that, and now he probably has one of the powerful racing stables in North America, the second last year with over 5 million in purse earning.

 

Danny Brewer:                    The ability of this horse to go to different tracks and run, and he’s run against some tough competition as well, has that helped his maturity level?  And where do you think he’s at as far as maturity is concerned?

 

Mark Casse:                         You know, I think it has.  It’s funny, we went to—when we went to Keeneland, he was wonderful.  When we went to the Breeders’ Cup, he did well there.  When we—the first time when we ran him when he won the Pasco, he didn’t ship over as well as I would’ve liked and I almost didn’t run him in the Sam Davis, but he was trained so well I brought him back and he was much better that time, for the Sam Davis.  So he is getting better.  And the way I look at him is, you know, a lot of these horses—you go around and so many of these horses have won on the lead and just off the lead.  I can remember a couple of years ago—I’m trying to think of Nick Zito’s horse that was undefeated.  Is it Warpath?  I think he went to camp and he stumbled a little bit at the start, and next thing he was covered up by horses and he ran terrible. 

 

                                                We have done all those things.  So I just think our horse, once he goes farther, once he learns to run—and really I think you’ve only been seeing about 75 or 80% of what he can do.  Now, he may give you a hundred percent and it might not be good enough to beat Verrazano.  You know, I don’t know that, but he’s getting better and I think he’s peaking.  And right now I couldn’t be more pleased where he’s at and where he’s headed.

 

Danny Brewer:                    Do you like the way he finished in the Sam Davis?  Was that very encouraging?

 

Mark Casse:                         It was.  I was a little disappointed.  And I have to tell you, I—without a doubt I feel like we ran the best horse in the Sam Davis.  We ran 52 feet farther than the winner, which is about eight lengths.  He—and he still, that being said, he was still a winner.  What bothered me a little bit, honestly, with it all was he had a tendency to lay in, and I thought, you know, that Lewis shouldn’t have probably sitting right-handed.  Sitting right-handed, which then pushed him over a little bit, and then Lewis of course corrected him.  And once he got him corrected and headed in a straight direction, you saw he came run in late at the end.  He had—it wasn’t enough to win, but, you know, at these races, as much as you want to win them—I mean I’ll take every race I can win, you know, this is a step and we’re trying to climb some stairs and the top is the Kentucky Derby.  And as long as we feel like we’re climbing, I’m happy.  And I feel like each of these races has been a step, and I’m just hoping for another step.

 

                                                Do I think we can beat Verrazano on Saturday?  I think if Verrazano breaks clean and goes around there, probably not.  I just hope to come running at him and build on that and then we’ll try to meet in the first Saturday in May.

 

Danny Brewer:                    Well, real quick though, Uncaptured will his experience at Churchill help him, do you think?

 

Mark Casse:                         I think it will.  It helps me.  It makes me feel better because everybody knows Churchill Downs is a little different racetrack.  And, you know, Uncaptured is a completely different animal than Dynamic Sky.  He’s done everything asked of him.  He does—he’s a real professional.  And this has been—I’ve been thrown some curveballs this winter and, like I said, I wasn’t sure we were going to even get a hit, but right now I feel like we’re at second and we got a good batter-up.  So I think we can get there.  But one thing we don’t have to worry about is we don’t have to worry about does he like the dirt or does like Churchill Down?  We know that he likes those things.  Our object with him is just to get him there in one piece and happy and healthy.  A lot of people are, I’ve read, are criticizing me.  Why would you go and run on the synthetic?  And I don’t believe the synthetic is his best surface.  I think the best surface is dirt.  But I had some trouble with him through the wintertime and he was not handling the training at Palm Meadows very well, so I had to bring him to Ocala, and Ocala’s synthetic.  And I think it would be impossible for me to get him ready on synthetic and run in somewhere like Tampa or New York or Oaklawn.  So, like I said, we already know he likes Churchill Down.  My plan is to go in the Spiral and then hopefully come back in the Blue Grass and then the Kentucky Derby.

 

Danny Brewer:                    And keep swinging for the fences.  I appreciate it and wish you the best of luck.

 

Mark Casse:                         Thank you so much.

 

 

Debbie Arrington:              The new points system, you know, it puts totally different wrinkles on the whole Road to the Derby.  And you’ve got, you know, multiple talented horses that are trying to get there.  How much did the points system influence where you put your horses this spring?

 

Mark Casse:                         So far it hasn’t really done a lot for what I’ve done yet.  Right now I’m—like I said, with Uncaptured I’m just playing the hand that I’ve been dealt and it’s not an easy hand.  So I’m just doing what I need to do.  Dynamic Sky, him himself, I’ve had success at Tampa.  I like—you know, the bottom line out of all of this, and we see so many stars through the wintertime and then you don’t see them anymore, even perspective even though he was not successful last year, he won the Tampa Bay Derby and (inaudible) in the first hundred yards and ran very poorly in the derby, he then went on and still won seven races or six races.  So we’re—our number one concern is to have a happy, healthy horse, and that’s why we went to Tampa, and that’s why we’re doing this.

 

                                                Now, to answer your question about the points system, I think the points system is actually making the prep races better races.  I don’t know, it’s tough to test it to know for sure just on one year and a few races, but the preps so far have had big numbers and I think that’s good for racing.  And what’s good for racing is good for Mark Casse; it’s good for Todd Pletcher; it’s good for everybody.

 

 

Jon White:                            Mark, Uncaptured’s only lost once in his life, that one loss at that—the Grey Stakes at Woodbine.  What can you tell us happened there?  It looks like he had a troubled trip that day, but what can you tell us about that one defeat?

 

Mark Casse:                         Yes.  You know what, Jon?  He did have a troubled trip.  But that being said, it wasn’t troubled enough.  Some of his trouble came from him not running faster.  You know as well as I do, you’ve been in this long enough to know that a lot of times your trouble comes from not being able to get to the Hall because you’re not running fast enough, or you can create your own problem.  That was my feeling with him.  If you went back and really watched the race, the winner, in my opinion, should’ve been disqualified.  Had Patrick not checked our horse, he would’ve went down.  He nearly clipped heels as it was which made his loss look much worse than it actually should have been.  I think he could’ve possibly still won, but it would’ve been very close and you would’ve thought he would’ve blown that field away. 

 

                                                The only thing that I can tell you is at that time we had a little bit of a virus going on where we had a lot of horses that were getting sick.  And though he never really got sick, I just kind of wondered if maybe he wasn’t—you know, maybe just wasn’t feeling his best that day and he just kind of had a bad day.  Seven out of eight, I guess he’s allowed to have a bad day now and then.  He just picked it at kind of a bad time for us, but I forgive him.

 

 

Jon White:                            Also, Lionheart finished second in the Kentucky Derby, yet a lot of people, I hear, questioned Lionheart as far as siring the Kentucky Derby winner in a mile and a quarter.  What is your feeling about Uncaptured and his ability to get a mile and a quarter?

 

Mark Casse:                         Well, interesting.  I had this conversation with Mr. Oxley about three or four weeks ago, and I said to them, I said, “No doubt in my mind that Dynamic Sky can get a mile and a quarter.”  I think if you look at him, he is the true mile and a quarter looking horse.  Uncaptured, there could be questions, even though I have to tell you Uncaptured is a big, strong horse.  He’s, like I said, he’s almost 16-3; he’s long and he does have the arch on the bottom side, which in my opinion is going to help him get that far.  The other thing, as you know and we know, is he has the ability to race and he will sit a little bit, and that’s going to help him too.  But you never know until you do it.  And if somebody wanted to say, “Well, there could be some questions about a mile and a quarter.”  I don’t know that I could fight with them over it.  I mean, they may right.  One thing about it, there’s only going to be one that can go a mile and a quarter on, you know, the first Saturday in May fast enough.  So I sit here—if I told you I knew for sure he could, I’d be lying.

 

John White:                         Well, thank you very much, Mark.  And one thing about Uncaptured, he’s certainly battle-tested and got a lot of experience already.  So that, I think, will be helpful to him.  And thanks for your time today.

 

Mark Casse:                         Well, yes.  I agree with you, John, because if that wasn’t the case, I’d be—we’d be in big trouble because we’re not going into this in the ideal situation.  But I feel a lot more confident today than I did a month ago.

 

Dick Downey:                      Mark, I wanted to ask you about Northern Lion.  You had—you scratched him out of the Sam Davis and I noticed he worked two or three times at Ocala Training Center.  And is he on the Derby Trail?  Or what is his status right now?

 

Mark Casse:                         I’ve had a few little issues with him and I still am.  He’s had a bruised foot, and we’ve had, you know, just an issue or two here.  If he’s going to be on the Derby Trail, he’s going to have to come around quickly.  Right now, like I said, he’s going to have to come around quickly.  It’s a shame because he’s a very talented horse, but we’re not going to rush it.  I mean, Mr. Oxley’s a patient man and we have a lot of—right now we have a lot of players in the game and we’re going to do what’s best for him, but it’s getting a little tight.

 

Dick Downey:                      A little tight.  Do you expect to see him back on the work tab any time soon?

 

Mark Casse:                         I’m hoping.  I’m hoping maybe middle of next week.

 

Dick Downey:                      Okay.  Thank you very much.

 

Beverley Smith:                  Just wondered if—who you like better?  Uncaptured or Dynamic Sky?

 

Mark Casse:                         I love them both.

 

Beverley Smith:                  Yes.

 

Mark Casse:                         These are my kids.  Uncaptured.

 

Beverley Smith:                  Yes.

 

Mark Casse:                         You know…

 

Beverley Smith:                  And why is that?

 

Mark Casse:                         Well, I mean at this point in time he’s accomplished more, but he’s just—to me, he’s just the perfect racehorse.  I mean, he comes to play every time.  He’s beautiful.  I’m hoping—I don’t know if you voted, Bev, but I’m hoping he’s horse of the year in Canada.  But he’s just—he’s just a classy, classy horse.

 

Beverley Smith:                  Mm-hmm.

 

Mark Casse:                         You know, hopefully, I think he’ll be a wonderful sire someday.

 

Beverley Smith:                  Mm-hmm.  Okay.  And by the way I did vote.

 

Mark Casse:                         Okay.  You don’t have to tell me (inaudible).

 

Beverley Smith:                  You’ll find out.

 

Mark Casse:                         Hopefully you went the right way.

 

Beverley Smith:                  Thanks, Mark.

 

Mark Casse:                         You have great day.

 

Jay Privman:                       I wanted to follow-up on yet another one of your horses.  I was just wondering what you were thinking of doing with Gunderman?

 

Mark Casse:                         Well, my thoughts right now with Gunderman, those are new people that own Gunderman; great, wonderful people out of the Chicago area.  And I don’t know whether—we’re going to see how he trains for the next few days.  We may run him.  We could possibly go to maybe New Mexico, I guess, or possibly Hot Springs, something like that.  Or we may just wait and go to Illinois Derby.  They would really—that’s close, you know, close to home.  And I think they would get a big kick out of the Illinois Derby.  And so that’s probably—we’re just going to probably wait and go for the Illinois Derby.  He’s a talented horse.  Of course, you know, Verrazano destroyed him, but he destroyed him because we just kind of thought we had to run with him and that was a mistake.

 

Jay Privman:                       And obviously you’ve—you know, your relationship with the Oxleys has grown over the last few years, but how many head do you have approximately for them now?

 

Mark Casse:                         I guess we must have—I’m trying to remember whether Delightful Mary—I think she is five.  So I think we have two five-year-olds, probably six, seven four-year-olds, and probably 18 three-year-olds.

 

Jay Privman:                       So that’s about 27.  And some two-year-olds coming soon?

 

Mark Casse:                         Yes.  We have a very strong bunch of two-year-olds.  And in fact it’s the biggest crop of two-year-olds.  I don’t know the exact number, but it’s the strongest crop ever as far as two-year-olds go.  So, you know, it’s kind of—we’ve gotten a—you know, we only started doing this, what maybe three years ago?  So—and Delightful Mary was one of the first ones, so I think now it just really is starting to get a real rounded stable.  We won—you know, that money we won last year was just with two and three-year-olds.

 

Jay Privman:                       …last I just wondered if you could share your remembrances of attending Secretariat’s Kentucky Derby?

 

Mark Casse:                         I can just remember the grand stands shaking when they ran by and, you know, Big Red—it’s funny because I think I was about 12, and I still I have conversations with Mr. Oxley and other people and they’ll say, “Well, how old were you?”  And it—I was obsessed with it.  And I can remember they had a big word around the back stretch—word around the back stretch, Lucien Laurin’s got a big red (inaudible), he’s been burning up the track in the morning.  That was a thing that ((inaudible))  did.  I mean, I was just obsessed with Secretariat, but I did bet on Onion.  I have to tell you that.  To this day I still feel really bad about it.

 

Jay Privman:                       Was that the first derby you attended?

 

Mark Casse:                         I actually—I think I went to Riva Ridge’s Derby the year before.  I can remember though my dad and I—my dad owned the van company, and him and I rode, you know, drove in the van to Louisville from Florida and it was one of my greatest moments.  And, you know, my dad and I—my dad has the love for horseracing that I do and it’s just something we share together.

.

 

Eric Wing:                             Mark, one more from me before we part.  You mentioned earlier that you and Mr. Oxley had had a nice run buying horses, and a bunch of stakes winners.  I noticed, I think that Dynamic Sky only brought—I guess this is Canadian dollars converted, but converted to American, $25,242 out of…

 

Mark Casse:                         Yes.

 

Eric Wing:                             …a Canadian sale.  And most people associate Oxley with bigger tickets than that.  What was it about Dynamic Sky that caught your eye?  And how were you able to get him so relatively cheap?

 

Mark Casse:                         It’s funny because we have this conversation all the time.  You’re right.  He’s always been known for buying expensive horses, and he said—he told me, he said, “You made a believer out of me.  We don’t have to do that.”  I think it was a combination of things.  He turns out in both fronts which doesn’t really bother me at all.  He’s kind of the taller, leaner type of horse, which, to me, when I’m buying horses, I’m buying loud horses.  I’m buying horses that can—I think can make—win the Kentucky Derby, and I think a lot of times a lot of people have changed what they’re looking at, you know, anymore.  There’s so much sprinting going on and people are used to buying sprinters.  And I just guess they didn’t really like him.

 

                                                The other thing is, at the time—you know, Toronto is kind of isolated in what they get to see and look; they get to run.  And at the time, there wasn’t a whole lot of Sky Mesas that had ever been ran at Woodbine, so I’m sure, you know, I’m sure a lot of people didn’t even know who Sky Mesa was.  Now, obviously I know who Sky Mesa is, and so he was on my radar.

 

Eric Wing:                             All right.  Well, Mark, it’s been wonderful having you on and talking about so many of your horses, including Dynamic Sky, who’ll run Saturday in the Tampa Bay Derby.  We wish you and Joel Rosario the best of luck.

 

Mark Casse:                         Well, I appreciate it and it’s nice to be—have the horses that people want to talk about.  And, you know, without Mr. Oxley, I sure wouldn’t be here today, and I appreciate all of his support.

 

Eric Wing:                             All right.  Thanks again, Mark, and look forward to talking to you again soon.

 

Mark Casse:                         Thank you so much.  Have a great day.  Bye.

 

Eric Wing:                             Thank you.  You too.  That’s Mark Casse, who has got a bunch of nice three-year-olds in the stable.  And Saturday, again, he’ll be represented by Dynamic Sky, the Pasco winner and the runner-up in the Sam F. Davis.  He’ll take on Verrazano, Falling Sky, and the others on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

 

                                                Our third and final guest today will be saddling one of the big horses this weekend, one of the ones that everybody’s really eager to see.  And if Verrazano is kind of the standout on paper at least in the Tampa Bay Derby, well this horse represents one half of what is a very anticipated showdown in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.  I refer to Goldencents, and with us now is trainer Dennis O’Neill.

 

                                                Dennis, it’s Eric Wing in New York.  How are you today?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Oh, hey.  I thought were going to introduce Baffert and I thought you were going to talk about Flashback.  That’s great that we’re highly thought of.

 

Eric Wing:                             Indeed you are, Dennis.  Indeed you are.  Or indeed Goldencents is.  Before we get into the merits of the horse himself, of which there are many, I wanted to ask you about the race spacing.  Now last year it worked very well for you guys, obviously, giving I’ll Have Another some time in between the Louis to the Santa Anita Derby, and you’ve kind of done likewise this year with Goldencents from the Sham up now to the San Felipe.  Is that an attempt to kind of parallel what you did with I’ll Have Another?  And if so, is the Santa Anita Derby on your list for this horse or not necessarily?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Yes.  You know, there’s a couple questions in there.  One is mirroring last year.  You know, a little bit.  I think it’s (inaudible), that Triple Crown thing, and I think going through it last year we had a fresh horse, and that really, really helped.  So we kind of have that in the back of our mind.  I think from day one we thought horse was, you know, a Triple Crown type of horse or a Derby horse at least.  So I think after the first time he ran and he kind of verified it, we kind of mapped out, well let’s just take our time.  And Josh and Glen have been fantastic.  They’re the majority interest.  They’ve been very patient with him and so I think from day one, you know, we kind of pointed towards the Derby and tried to make sure we had a fresh horse going into it.  And then from there, Santa Anita Derby-wise, you know, I don’t know.  I would say that if he runs well in the San Felipe we may not run in the Santa Anita Derby.  I could see us, if we had enough points, just training him right up to the Derby and making sure we had a really fresh horse for that.

 

Eric Wing:                             Yes, well you already have 24, which is more than most horses have right now, so you’re not in a bad position heading into the San Felipe, that’s for sure. 

                                               

                                                Dennis, I also want to ask you, while we have you, about I’ve Had Enough, who is—or, excuse me, He’s Had Enough, who ran probably a better race in reality than it may look on paper in the Florida Derby.  I see he’s—or, excuse me, in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.  I see he’s Dubai-bound for the UAE Derby.  How did that all come about?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Just—we got invited.  Obviously that’s the big thing.  There’s a lot of points over there.  He did run better than it looks on paper.  He had a horrible draw up there.  It’s very hard to win from way outside at Gulf Springs, going that mile and a sixteenth.  So he ran actually pretty well.  We got invited to Dubai.  It’s a $2 million purse.  We’ve had success over there in the past, but we thought, you know, we kind of did a little research and thought, you know, he might have a big chance over there.  He’s trained really well on the synthetic at Hollywood, so we thought, you know what?  Let’s go that route and see how that goes.

 

Debbie Arrington:              Hi.  Thanks for coming on this morning.  You mentioned the points in two circumstances here.  The points, you know, seem to have influenced the decisions a little bit about where you’re placing your horses.  What do you think of the new points system?  And do you like it?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    That’s a trick question.  It’s good if we get in.  If it doesn’t work out Saturday, we’re not going to like it.  No, I think it’s been—so far it’s good.  It really makes you map out your way through.  A horse like, you know, He’s Had Enough and Goldencents would be in, in past years with the money they’ve made in the Juvenile and all that stuff.  So, you know, in a way it’s bad for us, but I kind of like it.  It makes you really sit down and think your way through this, kind of like a chess game.  And it always seems to work out that those last two preps are the big preps, this one and the one before the Derby, and I think that’s the way it’ll work out again this year.  It’ll be—it’ll be curious to see as we get closer to the Derby if anybody gets left out.  You know, usually in past years, there’s been a horse or two that kind of got left out that really had a chance to win it, so it’ll be curious to see how it maps out as we get closer and if anybody actually does gets left off that, you know, probably deserves to be in it.

 

Debbie Arrington:              And how is Goldencents maturing this spring?  Is he really growing and coming into himself?  Or is—what’s he like to be around?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Yes.  He’s a pro.  He’s been unbelievable.  We just took kind of a leap of faith with Josh and Glen when they bought him back at OBS because there wasn’t a lot of pedigree.  Nobody knew much about Into Mischief, and the bottom side’s not that great on the horse.  So when I called them to say, you know, he’d be 50,000 to 80,000, they said, “Go ahead and do it.”  So they’ve been great.  They had their trust in me and the horse has just came along perfectly since then.  He showed tremendous ability first time out and we’ve been working with him since then to try to get him to relax.  And he relaxed pretty good in the Sham; sat in behind horses which was a huge, you know, move forward for him.  And we’ve just been working like crazy to try to get him to relax in the morning.  And he’s got tremendous speed, and if we can get that to—you know, we can get that under control a little bit, he’s going be—take a lot of beating.

 

 

Danny Brewer:                    Hey, listen.  The win last year has put Team O’Neill on the—everybody’s radar.  Is that been good news, bad news, or no news?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    I think it’s great news.  I mean it helps—you know, in this business, it’s what have you done for me today?  And, you know, we’ve picked up a few new clients like Coast Tofino (ph) and some others.  So it’s been great because the hardest part about training a great horse is having a good one.  So it’s much easier to get horses if you’ve got resources, you know, that I can buy in and stuff like that.  So I think in that sense, people saw what we could do and we did have a good one.  And moving forward, you know, we’re hoping we have two or three chances moving along.  We hope a couple of them pop up.  We hope He’s Had Enough finally figures out how to run, and Goldencents keeps progressing, but I think it’s been great.  It’s been a lot of fun.

 

Danny Brewer:                    Okay.  I’ll Have Another brought Team O’Neill a hot tub.  What do you think Goldencents is going to deliver?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Hopefully it gets bigger.  Hopefully this time it’s a swimming pool.  (Cross-talking).  I think Danny would love that at this point.  I don’t know where they’re going to put it, but, you know, boy, that’d be something.

 

 

Jenny Rees:                        Yes, Dennis, what do you make of Flashback?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    He could be anything.  I know—you know, Bob knows his horses.  He’s been excited about this horse from day one.  There was a huge buzz when he ran first time out; he was brilliant last time.  So Bob’s very rarely wrong when he’s high on one, so you have to respect that.  I have a ton of respect for Bob, and if he thinks he’s that good, he must be that good.  I know I see him playing every morning.  He comes out about 9:15 at Santa Anita, and he’s looked fantastic here the last couple of weeks.  He’s playing good.  I’ve watched (inaudible).  So I mean, he’s a formidable horse.  We’re definitely going to get a test here Saturday to see where we’re at.  And, you know, I know we beat a couple of his other horses.  I’m not sure if he considers those A-Team.  This is definitely his A-Team, so it’ll be a great test.

 

Jenny Rees:                        I mean, do you think you can beat him heads up, like talent-wise?  Or do you think maybe your extra experience might…?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Yes.  I’m hoping all that comes into effect.  You know, our horse is a very, very smart horse.  He’s very relaxed.  I think he’ll do whatever Kevin needs to do with him.  I’ve played the race out in my head a lot with us stalking him or him stalking us.  I think the break will be a huge thing, of who breaks better.  But, you know, obviously I’m a little biased.  I think we have a brilliant racehorse.  I think he’ll go long, as far as they write races.  I think he’s getting better and better.  He’s growing and putting on weight and he’s just doing fantastic right now.  So, you know, if he breaks good I can see him sitting right off of Flashback the whole way around and kicking away turning for home.  That’s the way I see it in my head.

 

Jenny Rees:                        And final question, obviously especially in Louisville Pitino gets a lot of heat, but could you talk about the other owners in Goldencents that are actually like majority owners (inaudible)?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Yes.  Josh and Glen are the—Glenn Sorgenstein and Josh Kaplan are the majority owners.  They own 75% of him.  And then Dave Kenney and Coach own the other quarter.  Coach owns the tail.  So—but Josh and Glenn are the majority owners.  They have been making a lot of the calls and we had a couple lunches and, you know, they’re—they know what they’re doing.  They’re horsemen.  You know, they’ve kind of mapped out the plan along with Doug and I, and so far they’ve been spot on.  So it’s been a lot of fun so far with them, and I’m hoping it continues.

 

Jenny Rees:                        Well, where are they from?  And what do they do to support their horse habit?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    They own a WC—it’s West—what is it called?  West Coast—or—they own a coin place.  Wiltshire Coin, I’m sorry.  WC Racing is what they race under, and it’s Wiltshire Coin.  They do coins and metals and gold and stuff like that, freighting.  And they’re—obviously the business is very successful in Santa Monica, and that’s the business they’re in.  And they’ve been with us for quite a few years and haven’t had a lot of success, so this is, you know, great for them to get a big horse like this.

 

 

Eric Wing:                             Dennis, Goldencents has fired every time to his credit.  I guess, you know, when a horse is two, you don’t know if he’s just, you know, out-talenting these horses when he wins going long, but—and I know you said that you think he’ll run as far as they write races.  But having said all that, would Into Mischief, being, you know, kind of a first-crop sire with Goldencents, did it give you and Doug maybe a little extra boost seeing Vyjack do so well in the Gotham last Saturday?

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    No question.  (Inaudible) right in behind horses (inaudible).  You know, it can easy for horses to make easy leads and keep going, and to see what the horse did the weekend, I thought was extremely impressive.  So, yes.  There’s definitely—he’s a new sire, you know, he’s Harlan’s Holiday, you don’t know how far they’re going to go.  But, yes, that definitely was a huge boost for us.  No doubt.

 

Eric Wing:                             Okay.  So we can anticipate that Doug be (ph) rising from its previously 10,000 then, it looks like, thanks to you and Vyjack.

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Yes.  Absolutely.  Why not?

 

Eric Wing:                             All right.  Well, Dennis, hey, it’s always great to have you on these calls.  We wish you the best of luck.  Please pass along our best to Doug.  And gosh, it’s going to be exciting watching you and Flashback butt heads.  We wish you and your whole team the best of luck Saturday.

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Sounds good.  Can’t wait.

 

Eric Wing:                             All right.  Neither can we.  Thanks again, Dennis.

 

Dennis O’Neill:                    Okay.  Bye-bye.

 

Eric Wing:                             Bye-bye.  That’s Dennis O’Neill, who will—they had a lot of fun last year and they may just have a lot of fun this year, and Goldencents likely will have a lot to do with that.  He’ll take on Flashback and the others Saturday in the Grade 2 $300,000 San Felipe Stakes mile-and-a-sixteenth at Santa Anita.  Again, that race worth 50 big Kentucky Derby points to the winner.

 

                                                Okay.  That’s going to bring an end to today’s call.  I want to thank all of our guests:  Bryan Sullivan, Mark Casse, and Dennis O’Neill

 Our next NTRA National Media Teleconference will take place two weeks from today, Tuesday, March 19th.  Same time; 1pm Eastern.  And at that time we will take a look at races, including the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes, the Sunland Derby, and the UAE Derby.  Glad you could be with us today and hope you can join us again in two weeks.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

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