Breeders’ Cup Preview: National Media Teleconference Transcript and Audio

October 26, 2016 – Breeders’ Cup National Media Teleconference

Breeders’ Cup Preview

Guests:

  • Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert
  • Trainer Art Sherman
  • Trainer Mark Casse
  • Hall of Fame Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer
  • Trainer Chad Brown

Click below to listen to the Teleconference and scroll down to view the transcript (available Thursday, Oct. 27).

P R E S E N T A T I O N

 

Operator:

 

Good day, ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Breeders’ Cup Pre-Entry National Media Teleconference, featuring the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Conference Call.  At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode.  Following the presentation, we will conduct a question and answer session.  At that time, participants are asked to press star, one to register for a question

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Mr. Jim Gluckson.  Please go ahead, sir.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Thank you, Michelle, and good day, everyone, and welcome to the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships Conference Call, our 33rd Breeders’ Cup here at Santa Anita, our host for a record ninth time.  With us, we will have some terrific guests on the call today:  Bob Baffert, Art Sherman, Jerry Hollendorfer, Chad Brown and Mark Casse.  With us today, also, to answer any questions you may have about the fields themselves, is Tom Robbins, the Chairman of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors and Secretaries Panel.

 

I think that since we do have a busy schedule, with a number of individuals, I think we should get right into our call here, and if we could, we’d like to begin by speaking with Bob Baffert.  Bob Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer who has won 12 Breeders’ Cup races, and has Arrogate and Hoppertunity in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Bob, good day.  How are you?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Oh, fine, thank you.  It’s a beautiful day here at Santa Anita, things are starting to heat up around here, so I can feel the juices are starting to flow.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Well, we’re excited for you, as well, and everyone in the game.  You have a tremendous horse in Arrogate here, and you have a situation here where you could become the first trainer to win three consecutive runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Can you comment on that?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Well, I mean, I think it’s an honor.  I can’t believe I’m blessed to be going for a third trip, and after what we went through last year with American Pharoah, I never thought—you know, it’s going to be a long time between drinks before I get a horse of that caliber, and then Arrogate comes along.  This business has been really good to me and I just feel really fortunate that I have a horse that’s one of the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, so it makes it exciting.  It’s great to see Juddmonte (inaudible) to get back on the dirt scene, and here they are in the forefront, so it’s pretty exciting.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Yesterday, he had a terrific work, reported six furlongs in 1:11 1/5.  I mean, since the Travers, he’s very pleased with his progress since that time.

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Yes.  You know, he came out of it in really good shape and his race in the Travers just, you know, it was pretty mind-blowing, it was pretty impressive.  So, he came back, he’s been working really well.  He’s the kind of horse that, you know, I never knew he had that kind of speed until we asked him to do something early like that.  Most of his races, we just let him break and come along, but he’s shown us, —you can shut him off, turn him on, but he’s extremely a lot quicker than he looks.  He’s a big, tall, lanky kind of horse that just covers a lot of ground, but he has a lot of speed.  I think the break is going to be so crucial for him, the post position, so hopefully he gets a trip and he shows up that day, because if he can run that race, it makes him—you know, he’s going to have to run that race back to be comparative with a horse like California Chrome.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Right.  Well, Bob, we have a number of media on the line that would like to speak with you, so let’s turn over the questions to them.  Thank you.

 

Operator:

 

Thank you.  If you would like to ask a question, please signal by pressing star, one on your telephone keypad.  If you are using a speakerphone, please make sure your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment.  Again, press star, one to ask a question.  We’ll pause for a moment to allow everyone the opportunity to signal for questions.

 

Our first question comes from Debbie Arrington of Sacramento Bee.  Please go ahead.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Hi, Bob.  Thank you so much for coming on this morning.  You’ve so many great horses and you’ve won the last two Breeders’ Cup Classics.  Does Arrogate remind you of any of your former champions?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

You know what, they’re all—it’s hard to compare them all, because he’s totally different.  He’s got that long stride, he’s a big—you know, he’s a tall, lankier type of horse, but he’s different than any horse that I’ve had, all of those good ones.  It’s hard to really compare with anything, because it’s not fair to the others, but he’s totally different.  He likes a mile-and-a-quarter, he needs the distance.  We don’t know how good he is.  What he did in the Travers—I knew he had a chance to win, I knew he would run very big in the Travers, but I didn’t know he was going to do that.  But, Bejarano, he told Mike Smith going in, you know, he’s a really good horse, and we were really talking him up to Mike.  I remember talking to him in the tack room a few days before the race.  It’s funny, when Mike came back—after he rode him, you know, when he came back on him, he said, “Boy, you guys are right about him.”  Yes, we knew he was good, but we didn’t know he was like that.  So, it’s very exciting, particularly when you break a track record, and you do it at Saratoga in front of all those people (inaudible).  But, you know, they have to do it.  We always knew he was a really top-caliber horse, so I think this is going to be his—you know, he needs—this is his time, but he needs to step it up.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

You’ve seen California Chrome all these years.  What do you think of his season this year and what makes—just what do you think about Chrome?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Well, I’ve always had a lot of respect for him.  He was a great three-year-old, you know, had that time off, came back, and this year he is just—this is the best I’ve ever seen him.  That last race, just watching him training and coming up, and watching him in the paddock, that’s the best I’ve ever seen him he is really—in peak form.  You have to give a lot of credit to the Sherman camp, they’ve done a tremendous job managing him.  He’s going to be really tough, he’s a really good horse.  You’re always hoping, you know, that maybe he’s not as good as—you know, he’s not beating anything.  Believe me, he’s as good as—what I saw, you know, watching him run, he’s been everywhere.  You can only do that with a top, top horse, and he’s really good.  I mean, he is the horse to beat, easily.  I don’t know if we’re good enough to beat him, but I think I have a horse that can compete with him, and we won’t know that until that day.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Very good.  Best of luck.  See you at Santa Anita.

 

Bob Baffert: 

 

Thank you.

 

Operator:

 

Thank you.  The next question comes from Frank Angst of Blood-Horse.  Please go ahead.

 

Frank Angst:

 

Hey, Bob.  Could you kind of describe how the agreement with Juddmonte came together and just how excited were you to be able to train horses for them?

 

Bob Baffert: 

 

Yes, I got a call from Garrett O’Rourke from Juddmonte, and so he called me and he said that the Prince wanted to get back into the—you know, they hadn’t been really involved since Bobby Frankel passed, so sort of wanted to get back into California racing, maybe (inaudible), buy some yearlings, get some dirt horses.  So, it was pretty like—it was a great call, you know, because Juddmonte (inaudible).  That’s why when that horse one the Travers, I felt like Bobby Frankel, you know, because he was (inaudible) all those good horses.  Bobby Frankel is Juddmonte.  So, when you’re part of that group, it’s like it’s an elite group to be involved with, so it was pretty—I felt pretty honored by it.  Fortunately, we finally got one that was really, you know, the kind of horse he was looking for.  Unfortunately, we were—he wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby, but we were a little bit late for the party, but it looks like he’s got a great horse here.  So, we’re excited about it.

 

Frank Angst:

 

How many yearlings did you initially buy and have you bought any since for him?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Yes, we bought some—I don’t know the number.  We buy like maybe five or six every sale.  But, he was part of the whole process.  We’d pick them out and then he’d—I mean, he had to okay the pedigree.  He’s really involved in this.  He loves pedigrees and he said, you know, he wanted—like, he would ixnay—if he didn’t like the pedigree, he’d ixnay that.  So, he’s been part of this whole (inaudible), so I have to give him a lot of credit, because he had to okay all the pedigrees.

 

Frank Angst:

 

Thanks so much.

 

Operator:

 

Thank you.  The next question comes from Larry Stumes of San Francisco Chronicle.  Please go ahead.

 

Larry Stumes:

 

Oh, anyway, you have these horses, California Chrome and Songbird and Tepin, and some other horses like that, and even your Lord Nelson.  They all have big resumes with a lot of races, a lot of great races—and you have Hoppertunity, but also Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic had that one huge, huge race, almost like a one-time thing.  How was he able to rise up and do that and how much confidence do you have that he can repeat that race or at least run close enough that he can win the Classic?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Well, I think the reason he showed that kind of race is because—like, Bejarano, when he rode him in the little allowance races, we never really—we never really turned him loose.  We never let him turn him loose completely in those races, and it was a mile and sixteen, so he really didn’t get to show his thing.  He was winning in a gallop and he’d come back, he was like—didn’t even take big breath.  So, I think that’s why we let him—that’s the first time he was just at full tilt, and he’s going to do the same thing.  Just like in the mornings, we work him, we never let him give an all-out full work, but he’s going to get tested, he’s going to have to bring that.  If he’s going to competitive with California Chrome, he has to break well, he has to be placed in the race, and there’s other horses he’s got to deal with.  There’s a lot of speed horses in there, so I think the pace is going to be pretty hard.  It might help a horse like Hoppertunity or like one of those other late closers, where they might be able to pick up the pace.  I’ve seen that happen here.  Like, that one year, Arcane won the race here, whatever, 100 to one, whatever it was, you know.  But, you know, things can happen.  But, I think he’s a horse that is getting better.  We know he’s really good, but I think there’s—a lot of people are on the fence.  Maybe it was a one-shot thing, but I don’t think it is, I think he can do it again, but he still needs—he’s need a trip, (inaudible), like all of them do, you know.  I think he’s good enough.  I mean, if a horse is going to beat Chrome, everybody thinks that he could be the one, but it’s going to take a huge performance to beat Chrome, because Chrome right now, he just looks—you know, he looks unbeatable right now.

 

Larry Stumes:

 

Thanks, Bob, very much.

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Thank you.

 

.

 

The next question comes from Tom Jicha of Horse Race Insider.  Please go ahead.

 

Tom Jicha:

 

Yes, Bob, the consensus is that it’s a two-horse race.  I mean, I know it’s not.  But, do you worry that you and Chrome could get so tied up in what the other one’s doing that you could set it up for something coming from behind?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

You know what, I really—I just don’t know.  Chrome is quick, he breaks well.  My horse, it takes him a little while to get going.  But, you know, it’s hard to—you don’t know what’s going to happen.  Until the gate comes open, I mean—you know, you watch the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Take a horse like Shared Belief, you know, he broke a bit slow, (inaudible) took a spot, and then halfway down there they closed the door on him.  If that happens to our horse, then we’re in trouble.  You have to get the trip.  If he gets shut out halfway through the first turn, the run of the first turn, it’s going to be so important, because—but Chrome, he always breaks well, he’s got tactical speed, he’s right there all the time, so he’s got an advantage over a horse like Arrogate, because Arrogate, it takes him a few steps to get going.

 

Tom Jicha:

 

Will you have a rider keeping an eye (inaudible), as I’m sure he’ll have someone keeping an eye on you?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

No, you know what, Mike Smith, he knows what he has to do, so there’s nothing really, I don’t think I can give him any instructions.  All I just tell him is just, you know, get out of the gate and have a good time.  I hope the horse fires My job is just to get them ready and you throw the riders up there and there’s not a whole lot you can tell them.  If the horse is doing well, the horse will run his race.  If he’s not doing well, it doesn’t matter who’s on him.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Bob, this is Jim again.  Did Lord Nelson have a work today?

 

Bob Baffert:

 

Yes, he worked three-quarters, he worked really well, so he’s coming in the race.  It’s a tough race, there’s a bunch of undefeated horses in there.  This Breeders’ Cup, I’m telling you, you look over the field and it’s just—this is probably one of the strongest Breeders’ Cup years I’ve ever seen.  I mean, every year—I mean, we’ve got the Filly & Mare Distaff,—you’ve got those good mares in there.  You’ve got the Classic, the Sprint, Turf., I’ve never seen so much talent.  That’s what the Breeders’ Cup was supposed to be, and so this is the year to buy a ticket, I’m telling you to be there.  I’m getting calls from everybody.  There’s going to be incredible racing.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

That is a great endorsement, we appreciate it very much, and, Bob, thank you for your time today and best of luck to you.

 

Bob Baffert:

 

All right, thank you.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Great.  Bob Baffert, everyone.  Thank you very much.  We’d like to now move on next—for our next guest, which will be Art Sherman, who is of course the trainer of California Chrome, undefeated this year, winner of the Dubai World Cup, and I am very happy to have him join us here.  Art, good morning.  It’s Jim Gluckson from the Breeders’ Cup.  How are you today?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Awesome.  Good morning to everybody.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Great.  Art, a tremendous year for California Chrome, a tremendously resilient horse.  Coming back as he did from Dubai, were you surprised how well he did bounce back and was so dominant here at the second half of the season?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Well, he is quite a different horse right now.  He’s more mature, bigger, stronger, and you can see it in the way he’s running, he’s pretty well focused.  He’s kind of awesome to watch, to be honest with you.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

I wanted to know—we just had Bob Baffert on—about your comments on your impressions of Arrogate.

 

Art Sherman:

 

I heard from Santa Anita this morning that they call him the Chrome Buster over there at Santa Anita, so I’m waiting to see, you know, because the Chrome Buster sounds pretty good.  I don’t know.  I know he’s a nice three-year-old, but he’s never run against Chrome, either.  He has to outrun me before he makes me a believer, I can tell you that.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Great.  Well, Art, we have some media on the line that would like to ask you some questions about California Chrome and this year’s Breeders’ Cup.  So, Michelle, please make that happen, please.

 

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Well, how’s the big boy doing and does he seem to realize he’s coming up to a race?

 

Art Sherman:

 

He’s really doing very well right now, and kind of have to move up his work day till tomorrow.  I heard a big storm’s coming in.  I got the weather report on Friday.  So, rather than have a hard, fast track, I’m going to work him tomorrow morning at three-quarters.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Okay.  Art, we’re winding down to the end here of this incredible saga.  Do you feel any sort of, you know, nostalgia, or are you getting any of those sort of like, you know, “Well, you know, we don’t know how many more mornings like this we’re going to have, or how many more workouts,” and that sort of feel?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Ah, sure, I’ll miss him a lot, you know what I mean, when he goes to stud, which won’t be too long now, you know, we’ve got a couple more races.  I’d sure like to see him go out a winner.  He’s done about everything a horse could do, you know.  Should he win the Breeders’ Cup, it would be really a feather in his hat.  It looks like a great resume for a stud going up for his first year as a sire, yes.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Mm-hmm, and his legacy, how do you want him to be remembered by people?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Probably one of the all-time great horses in this era, and there’s been a lot of good ones, you know, but, you know, he’s got to be in the Hall of Fame one of these days.  There aren’t too many horses that’s done what he has and keeps on running at his age. So, I think the legacy is he’s just a great horse, myself.

 

 

The next question comes from Frank Angst of Blood-Horse.  Please go ahead.

 

Frank Angst:

Looking forward to getting out there.  Hey, I was curious, kind of what was your reaction when this new ownership group came aboard with Taylor Made coming in.  What was kind of your initial reaction and what’s been your reaction to how they’ve performed as owners, related to you, during this season?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Ah, it’s been a great run.  As you can see, this year’s been extra special for me and they’ve been onboard, you know, on all the decisions and everything has been really great.  Of course, the horse has won six straight now.  You know, you get kind of anxious knowing that you’re coming up to the Breeders’ Cup.  I just looked at the entries, there’s 14 in there, so racing luck is going to play a big part in winning this kind of a race, so I just hope he’s up to the—you know, he’s up to the race and his top performance, (inaudible) that everybody’s going to acquire.

 

 

Art Wilson:

 

When Chrome breezed last, you made a reference to the fact that there’s a chance that he could race beyond the Pegasus World Cup in January.  What’s your gut feeling?  How much of a chance do you think we have of seeing Chrome beyond that race?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Well, you know, I think it’s going to be a factor by the end of the year and how he comes out of these races, and talk to all of the breeders that are involved with the horse, and, you know, he could run—we were talking about it—for $27 million worth of purses for next year, and how much he’s going to make he’s going to make the first year at breeding.  It’s quite challenging, but he’s going to be six then and that’ll be the peak of his career, I think, being a six-year-old, and having the time that he’s running right now, it’s—it would be awesome for me.  I’d love to see him around that long.

 

Art Wilson:

 

With Chrome’s style, he’d obviously go to the lead, he can lay right off the pace.  How important will the post-position draw be for that mile-and-a-quarter race for him on Monday?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Well, I haven’t been the luckiest person in the post positions.  The last two times, they got the one-hole, which everybody says it’s (inaudible) one-hole, but as you can see, his last two performances have been awesome, so I just—my main concern is to have a clean break and be in contention.  You don’t have to be in front.  If somebody wants to lead, they can have it, and I can stop them.  I just think leaving the gate and having a clean break, and Victor knows him very well, so I’m not worrying about post position that much.

 

Geoff Riddle:

 

You say, “I think Chrome’s going to run a race that everybody is going to admire.”  Can you just elaborate on that?  Why do you think that at this stage, nine days out, and you’ve got to work him tomorrow?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Well, I just felt the way that he’s training, and I think that performance-wise, if he keeps on the way he is, you know, I really think you’re going to see Chrome at his top coming into this race.  I just hope the track is in good shape, you know, that they don’t get any rain.  I’d never ride him in the mud.  That’s always been in the back of my mind, how he would react on an off track, but I’m not sure, to be honest with you.  He’s run on every other kind of track, but not in the mud.

 

Geoff Riddle:

 

Okay.  Sort of earlier you were talking about Arrogate.  I mean, what do you think of him as a race horse and what do you think he’s really good at?

 

Art Sherman:

 

You mean what is his best distance or …

 

Geoff Riddle:

 

Yes, yes, I mean …

 

Art Sherman:

 

… what he’s good at?

 

Geoff Riddle:

 

Well, I mean, obviously, he’s good at winning races, but, I mean, what are you most—what do you like best about him?

 

Art Sherman:

 

Well, (inaudible), he’s very competitive, and when you’re in a race with Chrome, you’ve got to outrun him.  Always, people ask me “Who are afraid of?” and I always say, “Well, why don’t you ask the other trainers who they’re afraid of?”  I don’t know who’s afraid in the race.  You know what, he’s just been unbelievably good this year.  Until you beat him —the number one in the world, you know, so there you go.

 

Geoffrey Riddle:

 

Thanks so much, Art.  Good luck.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

All right.  Art, this is Jim again.  I just want to ask you about Victor’s work and performance this year aboard California Chrome, if you could comment on that.

 

Art Sherman:

 

Well, I think he’s riding him just perfect.  He knows him like the back of his hand.  He can go to the front, he can come from behind, and the way he’s been running now, he kind of spooks me a little bit, you know.  He’s showing this speed that I can’t believe (inaudible).  His race in the Pacific Classic was probably the most awesome race that I’ve seen him ever run.  He just kind of galloped it, running fast, you know.  (Inaudible).  So, it gives goosebumps when I think about it, because I say, wow, it’s Chrome, I’ve never seen him this good.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Outstanding.  Well, it’s a hell of a team you have and I think it’s a tribute to you and your team putting together just an outstanding career for California Chrome, and we’re looking forward very much to seeing him run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Art, thank you very much for your time this morning and have a great day.

 

Art Sherman:

 

I appreciate it, thank you.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

A couple of other notes while we’re waiting.  We have 45 winners of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races who have been pre-entered this year.  There were 81 individual Group 1 or Grade 1 winners, including the top two rated horses in the world in the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, California Chrome and Arrogate.  We have 11 former defending champions participating in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.  We have 38 horses pre-entered from overseas.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Mark Casse has joined us, having a tremendous season with Tepin and Catch a Glimpse, a number of really outstanding horses for him this year.  Mark, this is Jim Gluckson here in California.  How are you today?

 

Mark Casse:

 

Good, Jim.  Thanks for having me.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Great.  I’d like to talk to you about your horses here with the media and I want to just get started and comment on Tepin’s current status and her work schedule over the next few days.

 

Mark Casse:

 

She is doing great, Jim, as good as I’ve probably have ever seen her go.  She’s scheduled to have a real easy breeze on Friday (inaudible).  All our horses are flying to California on Monday.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

On Monday, okay, and coming out of the First Lady, what was your reaction, overreaction to that race?  A lot of people made a big deal out of what had taken place.  What were your feelings?

 

Mark Casse:

 

Well, I mean, I was obviously disappointed that she got beat.  I think, after analyzing the race over a period of 24 hours, I thought the race was better than it looked.  We knew going in that this was going to be kind of—she was going to regress a little bit off of her previous start, and it was one of the reasons why we chose the First Lady over the Shadwell.  That being said, you know, I think Photo Call really (inaudible) in the race.  I don’t know that—you know, so much was said about Tepin getting beat, where I think maybe the emphasis should have been more on how great Photo Call ran, so I tip my hat to her.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

All right, and can you make a comment on the schedule for Catch a Glimpse?

 

Mark Casse:

 

Well, Catch a Glimpse has been a bit of a head-scratcher.  I still am not sure why she didn’t run better in her last start.  The only thing I can say is this, I’ve never seen her look better, she’s trained well.  The turf course at Keeneland this fall has been different than the turf course of last fall, when she did win there and won the Breeder’s Cup.  We had a ton of rain last year.  This year, even though the turf hasn’t been extremely fast, it’s been very dry, and I just don’t know.  I knew we were in trouble after a quarter of a mile, because I had told Florent that I wanted him to establish the lead, I wanted him—I said, “I want you to come away from there and let everybody know that we intend on being on the lead,” and he couldn’t even do that.  So, I knew we were in trouble after a quarter of a mile.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Wow!  All right, well, Mark, we do have some media on the line that would like to ask you some questions.  So, Michelle, if we can go to those on line, please.

 

Operator:

 

Our first question comes from Tom Jicha of Horse Race Insider.  Please go ahead.

 

Tom Jicha:

 

Yes, Mark, I think one of the surprises of the entry process was that you also entered catch a Glimpse in the Turf Sprint.  Could you explain that a little bit and which race are you planning her for?

 

Mark Casse:

 

We just wanted to have a look.  As you can see, the Filly & Mare Turf is loaded (inaudible), and we just wanted to kind of—you know, we had the option of doing it and we wanted to have a look and see what the Sprint is, but, I mean, we’re 95% to go to the Filly & Mare.

 

Tom Jicha:

 

The next question comes from Debbie Arrington of Sacramento Bee.  Please go ahead.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Hi, Mark.  Thank you very much for coming on this morning.  How does Tepin compare this year to last year, and how has she matured over this last year?

 

Mark Casse:

 

You know, this year’s been an entirely different type of deal, where last year, Tepin, this time, she was absolutely on top of—her top form.  Everybody knows that follows Tepin (inaudible), this has been a different type of year, with the race in Royal Ascot, and then trying to get her back to her top form at Saratoga.  It’s difficult.  It amazes me to watch Tepid and her attitude, how she moves at Saratoga versus how she does at Churchill Downs.  It’s night and day.  I mean, the old Tepin, I see her.  We tried to get ready for the Woodbine Mile and then, of course, the First Lady in Saratoga, but since getting back to her home in Louisville, she’s refreshed, she looks great.  I thought, watching her train this week that she’s moving better than I’ve ever seen her move.

 

As far as her maturity, she has become a little more complacent, where she’s not necessarily as eager, you have to kind of get her to do it, she only does what she has to do.  She’s kind of a little smarter as she’s gotten older.  So, I think Julien will probably have to ride her a little bit different.  I don’t think that necessarily Tepin is going to put herself in the race.  I think Julien’s is probably going to have to ask her a little bit more and say, “Hey, come on, girl, let’s get a little closer.”  That’s the way I see it.  She’s definitely matured.

 

Debbie Arrington:

Santa Anita put in a new turf course since the last time they had the Breeder’s Cup there.  Have you had any experience with it and what do you think about the new turf course?

 

Mark Casse:

 

You know, I haven’t, I haven’t ran anything over it.  The only thing I’ve been able to watch races.  Obviously, speed does fairly well there.  But, I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.  So, yes, it’s a new experience.  The good news is Tepin has shown that she can win on about any type of turf course, so we’re not going to use that as an excuse.  We feel like she’s on her game and they all have to beat Tepin.

 

The next question comes from Art Wilson, the Southern California Newspaper Group.  Please go ahead.

 

Art Wilson:

 

Yes, Mark, it seems this year that going into the Breeders’ Cup there’s a lot of really top-notch female horses this year.  There’s a lot of people looking forward to the Distaff.  Your mare, Tepin.  Found is going to either in the Classic or the Turf.  Then, of course you’ve got Lady Eli.  Can you remember a year when you’ve been involved in the Breeders’ Cup where there’s been so much anticipation of so many female stars going?

 

Mark Casse:

 

I’ve watched the announcement of all the races today.  I mean, I don’t know—I mean, the female stars are unbelievable.  I mean, the Classic, I think you have to tip your hat to the Breeders’ Cup, (inaudible), but everybody involved.  I mean, it’s just an unbelievable two days of racing.  As you say, it’s turned out some of the greatest racehorses in the world right now are fillies, and it’s great to see.

 

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Mark, this is Jim again.  I did want to follow up and ask you about some other horses, especially Classic Empire in the Juvenile.  Can you comment on his development?

 

Mark Casse:

 

He’s doing fantastic, Jim.  He has really matured.  It just amazes me how smart he is and how he (inaudible).  I thought his race in the Breeders’ was extremely impressive, given that he really hadn’t ran in the three months.  I’m not going to count the race at Saratoga where he ran 20 yards.  It was his first time around two turns.  But, what really struck me about him was (inaudible), and the ease that he was running under, and watching Julien just sitting there, it really struck me.  I’m not being cocky, but I think (inaudible) to beat.  He’s a very good horse.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Excellent.  Well, Mark, we appreciate your time from your busy schedule to come on today, and best of luck out here in California.

 

Mark Casse:

 

Thank you.  Have a great day.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Thank you.  All right.  Let’s move right along now.  We have Chad Brown with us, a seven-time Breeders’ Cup winner, pre-entered 12 horses for this particular event, loaded with talent here.  Chad, Jim Gluckson out here in California.  How are you today?

 

Chad Brown:

 

Good, hi, and thanks for having me.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Great, great.  I’d just like to ask a few questions to get started for your horses, just getting specifically into this great comeback for Lady Eli, winning—coming back, two races, winning in New York, and now coming back here in the Breeders’ Cup.  Can you comment on her—this really tremendous story in the last six months of making it all the way back here.

 

Chad Brown:

 

Yes, she’s a remarkable horse, she’s been able to do what a lot of horses can’t do, and has come back from laminitis, not only to survive, but to make it all the way back into top form.  She’s an incredible support system around her, a lot of great people contributed to this, but I’m very, very excited to bring her back to Santa Anita again.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Excellent, and I’d like you to tell us about Flintshire coming out of the last race, the Joe Hirsch in New York, and his schedule coming into the Breeders’ Cup.

 

Chad Brown:

 

Unfortunately, he caught soft ground and he didn’t like it last time, but he bounced out of the race in good shape and he’s breezed well since.  So, hopefully, the turf is nice and firm at Santa Anita and he can redeem himself in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Excellent.  All right, Chad, we have some media on the line that would like to ask you some questions.

 

Operator:

 

The first question comes from Debbie Arrington of Sacramento Bee.  Please go ahead.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Hi, Chad.  Thank you very much for coming on today.  Flintshire, he’s like a great old war horse that just keeps, well, winning and showing a lot of class over the years.  What’s he like around the barn, what’s his personality, and do you think he’s still getting better?

 

Chad Brown:

 

He’s a very laid-back horse.  He exhibits a lot of class around the barn.  His intelligence is the one word I would use to describe him.  He’s probably the smartest horse I’ve ever worked around.  I think it’s no coincidence that his talent goes hand-in-hand with that.  He was handed over to us in great shape and we’re just trying to keep him where he’s at the whole year.  He was already well-accomplished before he ever came to us.  But, he’s so intelligent.  When he does stuff, he’s the kind of the horse, he doesn’t waste any energy doing things he shouldn’t be doing.  He’s so focused, when you take him out there to train or to race, on what he’s supposed to do, and he’s very reserved about it.  That’s how I would describe him.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Wow!  That’s very good.  You also have Money Multiplier.  How’s he coming into the Turf?

 

Chad Brown:

 

He’s coming—well, he’s had a terrific season.  He, too, disliked the soft turf the last time.  I think he earned his way into this race based on the season he’s had.   So, hopefully, he should appreciate some firm ground at Santa Anita, as well.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

It’s a new turf course since the last time they ran the Breeders’ Cup out there.  What do you think about it?

 

Chad Brown:

 

I haven’t raced on it, so I wouldn’t know.  Generally, my experience at Santa Anita through the years is through different changes they’ve made.  They always have their tracks in great condition, particularly on Breeders’ Cup day, so I’m not too concerned about it.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Chad, this is Jim again.  I did want to ask you about Practical Joke in the Champagne Stakes, more exciting (inaudible) races so far this year, how did he come out of the race, and talk about his preparation for the Juvenile.

 

Chad Brown:

 

Yes, I’ve been extremely happy with the way he exited the Champagne.  As hard a race as it was visually, he bounced out of it in good order, and he’s good energy training and he breezed well this past weekend, and looking forward to getting this horse around two turns.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

All right, very good.  Well, Chad, we appreciate the time from your schedule to talk with us and we wish you the best of luck out here in California.  Thank you very much.

 

Chad Brown:

 

Thank you.  Thanks for having me.  Take care.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

We now have on the line Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, with the undefeated Songbird.  Jerry, Jim Gluckson here at Santa Anita.  Good morning.  How are you today?

 

Jerry Hollendorfer:

 

Good.  How is everything with you guys?

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

We’re doing great.  Thank you, Jerry, for joining us.  We’d like to just—it’s been a tremendously exciting year for you, undefeated Songbird.  I think it’s a tribute to her success, but also this year you had—you put her on a travel schedule, with New York and to Parx in Pennsylvania.  When you went through the process of doing that this year, what was in your mind about putting a travel schedule together for her?

 

Jerry Hollendorfer:

 

Well, you know, when we talked about racing this horse, Songbird, Mr. Porter wanted to try to run against what he thought were the best fillies in the country, and so that’s why we decided to try the two races at Saratoga, and then we had always wanted to run in the race at Parx.  We made all those (inaudible) so far, and then the point race was the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and we’re going to have one more work, and then try to be ready for that when it comes next week.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Great.  You, of course, have Mike Smith up.  Mike has won the most Breeders’ Cup races of any rider.  What is it about his style that fits him so well with Songbird?

 

Jerry Hollendorfer:

 

I don’t know.  You know, he seems to get along with a lot of different kinds of horses, and gets along really well with her.  He’s real enthusiastic about riding her and I think would (inaudible) in any kind of situation.  He’s known as a big-time-money rider and he gets the job done.  So, that’s why we go with Mike on her.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

All right.  Well, Jerry, there’s formidable opposition here in the Distaff, but let’s get to some questions from some of the media on the line and take it from here.

 

Operator:

 

Our first question comes from Debbie Arrington of Sacramento Bee.  Please go ahead.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

How is Songbird doing, and how has she matured since last year?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Well, you know, quite a bit of maturity there.  I think she’s a lot stronger and she’s a lot—she always was fairly easy to race, but I think more ratable now than ever, and so that’s how’s she’s progressed for this year.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

You said before that she’s a pretty sweet horse around the barn, that she’s got a real nice personality.  What’s she like to work with?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Very nice and easy, and real easy around the barn, yes.  She likes attention, likes everybody, and real nice and relaxed out on the racetrack, and just really does what her rider asks her to do.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

An old friend of yours, Art Sherman, he’s got a big horse going to Breeders’ Cup weekend.  What do you think about California Chrome and the success that he’s had?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Well, you know, I’ve been looking at every race that he’s ever run and, of course, a lot of them on TV, but, you know, I’ve really—and I’ve watched him work a lot of times, too.  I’ve really never the horse better than he is right now.

 

Debbie Arrington:

 

Wow!  What do you think of the job Art’s done with him?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Pretty terrific, but, you know, Art would tell, and I would tell you, too, about Songbird, that’s plenty of horse to work with and that’s quite important to him in these endeavors.

 

Operator:

 

Thank you.  The next question comes from Terry Keith of City News Service.  Please go ahead.

 

Terry Keith:

 

Good morning, Jerry.  I have two questions for you.  One is whether you feel pressure having what could be a favorite, who’s undefeated, taking on older fillies and mares?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Well, you know, if you going to have a good horse, or any horse that you’re leading over to race, there’s going to be a certain amount of pressure, and if you don’t like that or can’t take that, then this is the wrong kind of business to be in.  I like to put it like this.  We’re always anticipating when we run, really, any horse, but especially a horse like Songbird, so there’s some anticipation there, and we want to do well.  So, you know, I think everybody feels about the same way.  We’re going to go over and put the saddle on her on race day and see what we can do.

 

Terry Keith:

 

My other question for you is how you feel about the Breeders’ Cup being at Santa Anita and do you feel like she has an advantage because she’s raced a lot there?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

I think most folks would tell you if they can race at home, then that should be a bit of an advantage, not always, but I think there’s some advantage there, having the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, when we’re stabled there.

 

Operator:

 

Thank you.  The next question comes from Larry Stumes of San Francisco Chronicle.  Please go ahead.

 

Larry Stumes:

 

I’ve tried for months and months, to over a year now, to ask different questions and it’s almost impossible because every time she runs basically the same race, but I guess if you look at all the statistics, the one thing that might make her seem perhaps beatable is maybe her Beyer Speed Figures aren’t quite as high as like Beholder and Stellar Wind.  What do you think about that statistic?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Well, I think when the numbers come out after the race that she’ll have risen to the occasion.

 

Larry Stumes:

 

That’s great.  Thanks, Jerry.

 

Operator:

 

Thank you.  The next question comes from Tom Jicha of Horse Race Insider.  Please go ahead.

 

Tom Jicha:

 

Yes, Jerry, you’ve run thousands of horses.  What, if any, edge at this point in the season does an older horse have against a three-year-old?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Well, I don’t know.  You know, there’s a lot of statistics that can be thrown around about three-year-olds running against older at this time of year.  I think if horses are going to make the transition, then they’re already going to be making it at this time of the year.  We’re almost over with 2016.  I don’t think many of the trainers are afraid to run three-year-olds against older at this time of year.

 

Tom Jicha:

 

All right.  Then, running against older, you’ll have checked one of the missing boxes on Songbird’s resume.  Is there a plan when she’ll take on males and could that include the Pegasus?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

You know, of course the Pegasus has been mentioned around quite a bit, because it’s quite an undertaking.  I’ve talked about it with Porter, but, I mean, we haven’t made any decision that we would run in that race, and we haven’t made any decision that we would run against males, we haven’t done that yet, and that’s by design.

 

Operator:

 

The next question comes from Van Cushney of Prime Media.  Please go ahead.

 

Van Cushney:

 

Jerry, how do you see the pace scenario playing out in this race?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

You know, I could guess on that, but that wouldn’t be fair to say for the fans at this point in time.  I’d rather see the race drawn and the post positions and who’s going to show speed and who isn’t, and then after you see all that, you have to try to figure out what everybody’s going to do.  So, it’s kind of unfair to say how the pace is going to be in the race right now.

 

Van Cushney:

 

Okay, fair enough.  Do you have a preference as to where you’d like to see her placed in the race, or is it basically the same answer that you just gave?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Yes, basically, the same answer.  I don’t worry about the pace scenario too much for her, because I think she can do whatever Mike wants her to do, and that’s why we have that big boy up there riding her, he can make decisions out there, and if somebody is going too fast, he can have her lay off, and if they’re not, he can go to the front, and she’s been on the front end many times.  So, we’re confident that we have a horse that’s pretty flexible.

 

Van Cushney:

 

Okay, last question.  There’s a horse in this race that’s been overlooked, Corona Del Inca, coming in from Argentina, and in fact has been in California several months training for the race.  Have you seen the horse train and do you know anything about her?

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Yes, you know, I’ve glanced at her walking out to the track.  She’s actually stabled in the next barn over from us and I got to meet—her trainer was introduced to me by Mr. Bossa (phon).  So, I’ve met that gentleman and they’ve brought their horse.  They’re like everybody else, you know, they have hopes to win the race, so I respect them coming here.  Actually, she’s been here for quite a while, so she has just as much advantage as everybody else that’s been training at Santa Anita.

Jim Gluckson:

 

All right, thank you, Michelle.  Jerry, thanks so much for your time today and the best of luck to you at this Breeders’ Cup, and thank you very much …

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Okay, well, I’d like to say good luck to everybody and I think the fans, if they come out and watch the Distaff and watch our California Chrome and all the other good horses (inaudible), I think it’ll be well worth the money.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Jerry, thanks very much for those encouraging words and we appreciate your participation, and have a very good day.

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer:

 

Thank you.

 

Jim Gluckson:

 

Jerry Hoffendorfer, everyone.  That concludes our call for today.  We had a great lineup of guests.  I would say that we’re looking forward to a tremendous Breeders’ Cup.  I want to make especial thanks here to Jim Mulvihill of the NTRA, who has hosted these Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup calls during the year, and to Joan Lawrence, our producer, who has lined up the guests throughout the year and throughout the road here to the Breeders’ Cup.  Thanks v

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