Jim Gluckson: Good afternoon and good day, everyone. Welcome to the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Pre-Entry teleconference. Today we have some outstanding guests on the line to talk about the major contenders for this year’s Breeders’ Cup right here at Santa Anita Park November 2nd and 3rd; the sixth time it will be at Santa Anita. Joining us today will be Todd Pletcher, Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, Charlie Lopresti, and Graham Motion. From the Breeders’ Cup we have President and CEO, Craig Fravel; Tom Robbins, who is the Chairman of the Racing Directors and Secretaries Panel. We also have Robert Elliston here, the Chief Operating Officer of Breeders’ Cup; and from Santa Anita Park, Rick Hammerle, the Vice President of Racing.
We will have a comment first from Craig, and then we will go into our first guest. Thank you very much for joining us, everyone. Without further ado, the President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited, Mr. Craig Fravel.
Craig Fravel: Thank you, Jimmy. First of all, I just want to say thank you to the connections of the horses that were pre-entered yesterday. When we started this year earlier we adopted a new theme for the Breeders’ Cup based on the song “The Best is Yet to Come”, and looking through the fields for the races coming up next weekend, I was particularly enthralled by the first installment of how “The Best is Yet to Come”. These fields are exciting. We’ve got great horses. We have eight defending champions I believe, numerous Grade 1 winners, a Kentucky Derby winner, 29 international horses, and we’re really looking forward to showcasing the best in the business on November 2nd and 3rd.
So first of all, thank you to all the media for coming, thanks to our invited guests, and I look forward to hearing from all of you. Thank you.
Jim Gluckson: Thank you, Craig. I just wanted to remind the media on the line that Tom Robbins is here to answer any questions about selections in the field and the decisions on this, and any other questions you have for Craig, the line is open for that. As I say, there were 180 horses that were pre-entered for this year’s Breeders’ Cup. There were 23 cross-entrants, so you see their names a couple of times, and you see them on the pre-entry sheets in certain cases.
The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live on NBC Sports Network. The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be televised in prime time for the first time ever on Saturday, November 3rd from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
Without further ado then, why don’t we start with our first guest, who is Todd Pletcher, who has 10 horses pre-entered for this Breeders’ Cup?
Todd, it’s Jim Gluckson here in California, and we’re joined by Craig Fravel, Tom Robbins, Rick Hammerle, and Robert Elliston. How are you?
Todd Pletcher: Doing great. How are you guys?
Jim Gluckson: Very good, thanks. Todd, you have pre-entered for your owners 10 horses, and I know we have a lot of media on the line that will ask you questions, but I did want to go right into the Ladies’ Classic and talk about Love and Pride for you and In Lingerie the second choice in that race. Were you surprised by her outstanding and commanding win here in the Zenyatta Stakes, and following that, her development since that time?
Todd Pletcher: Well, we weren’t surprised that she won. We were obviously very pleased that she ran as well as she did and she took to the Santa Anita surface. But she’s typical of an A.P. Indy. She’s continuing to improve as she gets older, and, you know, she’s learned to wait a little bit. She’s been effective on the lead on and from just off the pace, so I think she’s a filly that’s continuing to develop the right way.
Jim Gluckson: You’ve started a number of horses over the years in this Ladies’ Classic. How do you rate this year’s field compared to in previous years?
Todd Pletcher: Right now it looks like it could shape up as possibly as good of one as we’ve ever seen. And I suppose that could possibly change a little bit should Royal Delta decide to go in the Classic itself, but, even without her it’s still a star-studded lineup when you have Awesome Feather undefeated and My Miss Aurelia undefeated, and it’s just a very, very strong group top to bottom.
Jim Gluckson: Excellent. We would—we’ll all agree. I just want to jump quickly to a couple of your other races in the juvenile—the Juvenile Fillies—the Great Goose Juvenile Fillies and the Grey Goose Juvenile and discuss Shanghai Bobby for a second and his development.
Todd Pletcher: Well, he’s one of the two year olds to come in to us this early winter at Palm Meadows. And my dad broke him in Ocala at Payton Training Center, and then he felt like he was a, you know, a top level colt from early on. So he came in to us and he’s just one that learned everything very quickly. He got started in April at Aqueduct, and it’s just steadily progressed from 4.5 to 5.5 to 7 to a mile, and has handled the step up in competition and the stretch out in distance every time. He’s just been a real joy to train.
Jim Gluckson: Okay, and then complementing him would be Dreaming of Julia, who’s had some really tantalizing efforts so far this year. Can you comment on her progress towards the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies?
Todd Pletcher: She’s another one that’s just been very straightforward; very intelligent filly. She’s what I would consider to have a perfect blend of her sire and dam. She’s by A.P. Indy and out of a mare that was very good at sprints and middle distances, so she’s sort of got a combination of speed and stamina and she’s, you know, handled the stretch out to a mile twice now and I would anticipate that two turns will be even better for her.
Debbie Arrington: Todd. congratulations with having so many horses in the Breeders’ Cup. This is a very different track at Santa Anita this go round and then from the last Breeders’ Cup. And you’ve had a chance to run over it with some success. What do you think of the new track?
Todd Pletcher: Well, so far I think it’s terrific. It’s a little bit slower than the previous Santa Anita dirt track, but it seems like it’s been very safe. Our horses seem to be acclimating to it very well, the ones that are there, and we had some success, shipping out with Love and Pride, so that’s always—makes you feel good when the first one you run over it runs well. It reminds me a little bit, the consistency of it, to Gulfstream and Palm Meadows. And I don’t know that for sure, but I would think that maybe there was some influence from those tracks and they’ve had a, you know, very good record there with safety. And I think with Mr. Stronach owning both facilities that they probably used some of the ideas from Palm Meadows and Gulfstream at Santa Anita.
Debbie Arrington: And do you think having the dirt track back gets more East Coast horses to come back out here?
Todd Pletcher: Well, I don’t think there’s any doubt that, there’s going to be more East Coast horses there because of the dirt. And, you know, the East Coast horses had very little success on the synthetic track, so I think everyone’s looking forward to it being back on the dirt.
John Pricci: I know we’re always (inaudible) working in uncharted territory here, but can you give us some kind of guestimate as to how you think your two year olds will react without Lasix; those that have competed on the medication?
Todd Pletcher: Well, it is uncharted waters, and you know, the juveniles that we have entered have all run on Lasix. I don’t anticipate that it’s going to be any problem, and I certainly hope it’s not, but, you know, I suppose there’s really only one way we’ll know and that’s to run without Lasix and see how the horses perform and scope them afterwards.
John Pricci: What have you done to prepare for the withdrawal of this medication; anything special, anything different?
Todd Pletcher: No, we haven’t done anything different, and I think the most important thing is to have them healthy going into the race, and hopefully if they haven’t bled prior to the race then I think the chances of them bleeding during the race will be diminished.
Larry Stumes: I think the other trainers are in the same boat you are. You won a lot of Grade 1 races and all around the nation, and—but the Breeders’ Cup seems to be a more difficult kind of race to win. Why do you think the Breeders’ Cup is—the races are so hard to win?
Todd Pletcher: Because all the best horses are there. You take a look at the cards and it’s, you know, you can run lights out and finish fifth sometimes, so it’s just it’s the depth of the fields. And, the competition is just so steep, and,in some cases it might be late in the year for some of these horses and they’ve been running, you know, very difficult races all along, but I would say the main reason is just the better nature of the races.
Eric Sondheimer: I was wondering if you could just talk about the challenge of running without Lasix when you’re doing it throughout the year. Obviously that’s causing some concern of people, and also the betters have to try and figure out what it means.
Todd Pletcher: Well, we’re doing it in juvenile races, so I’m hoping that, because they’re younger horses they’re—perhaps had less stressful campaigns, and perhaps they’re less likely to bleed. But,it’s—like I said, it’s uncharted territory for me as a trainer with some of these horses, and one of my concerns about removing the Lasix from racing in general is that I think it can be disadvantageous for the betting public. And, they have the added security that Lasix might prevent one of the horses that they’re wagering on from bleeding. I think that’s something that as an industry we must look very, very closely at and try to do whatever we can not only to protect the horses, but the owners, the trainers, the jockeys, and the betters, and, you know, that’s why I’ve been fairly vocal about my stand, which is I’m pro-Lasix. And it doesn’t mean in this case that we’re not going to participate with some of these juveniles, but, you know, it will be a concern and hopefully they perform up to their standards.
Pete Denk: Todd, does Shanghai Bobby train on Lasix, and has he ever shown any signs of bleeding in a workout or in a race?
Todd Pletcher: No, he’s been a very healthy horse. We breeze quite a few of our horses on Lasix to protect and hopefully to prevent them from bleeding to begin with, but I don’t anticipate it will be a problem for him.
Pete Denk: Does that mean that he’s never shown any sign of bleeding?
Todd Pletcher: He’s not. He’s not had a problem, no.
Jon White: Todd, you have Kauai Katie entered in both the Juvenile Sprint and the Juvenile Fillies, with the Juvenile Fillies first preference. Is that how you were thinking of running Kauai Katie at this time, and what’s the decision thinking process for her at this point?
Todd Pletcher: Well, there’s a couple of factors involved, and a lot of it is the fact that Stonestreet owns both her and Dreaming of Julia. And both are very talented fillies that we’ve been fortunate enough that they’re undefeated at this point, so I think there’s some hesitation to run the two fillies against each other. However, you know, there’s also the other side of it of wanting to give each filly an opportunity to, you know, get a chance in a race like this. So I believe we’ll work both fillies this weekend and then I’ll have a conversation with the connections and we’ll look at the pros and cons and kind of assess the field. But, you know, both fillies are doing really well, and it’s certainly tempting based on the way that Kauai Katie rated last time to try and stretch her out.
Jennie Rees: Todd, if you look at the pre-entries for the Juvenile Fillies, it could have the smallest field it’s ever had if all the second preference horses go elsewhere. Do you think that’s a combination of do you think the Lasix comes into effect, or is the Juvenile on the dirt also is a factor, but do you think it’s a Juvenile Sprint that’s (inaudible) off horses including, you know, I think half the field may be (inaudible), or do you think it’s maybe the presence of Executiveprivilege and Dreaming of Julia?
Todd Pletcher: Honestly, I’m not really sure why. I was a little bit surprised that it came up as short as it did. So I think maybe part of it is that there’s the Juvenile Sprint that gives an option. Obviously with the Juvenile Fillies Turf,a lot of fillies pre-entered in there, and maybe they felt like with a couple of potential standouts in the dirt race that maybe they would try the turf. But, yes, I was surprised that it was a short as it is.
Jennie Rees: And when you look at—they talk about how difficult it is for East Coast horses to go west, yet this year you’ve won a Grade 1 on dirt out there, Mott won with Ron the Greek, Dale won the Pacific Classic with Dullahan. You know, how do we get a read on these California horses since they’ve kind of been, you know, they’re an island out there, but when these horses have been going east this year they’ve won some, you know, at least three Grade 1 races?
Todd Pletcher: Yes, I think, in Dullahan’s case it wouldn’t be an example, but,I think those—getting back to the dirt is certainly a key, and I think we’re at a bigger disadvantage when we were skipping (ph) from the dirt with a lot of horses that had never been on a synthetic surface and trying that. But I think over the years that we’ve certainly proven that you can ship east to west with success, but there’s no doubt that it’s an advantage if Santa Anita’s your home track and you’re training there on a daily basis. So, to answer the other part of your question, I think we always find out how tough the California horses are when we meet them, and I think their top 10% of their horses are every bit as good as the best that we have on the East Coast and the Midwest, we certainly saw that in the Triple Crown races this year.
Geoffrey Riddle: Hi there, Todd. (Audio interference) about the Lasix question I’m wondering if you could tell me if you think that the Europeans will have some sort of advantage in the juvenile races, and just elaborate a bit more on your use of Lasix for gamblers, because obviously in Britain and Europe we don’t have it?
Todd Pletcher: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the first part of your question.
Geoffrey Riddle: I’m wondering if you could tell me if you think that the Europeans have an advantage in the juvenile event for the Breeders’ Cup this year?
Todd Pletcher: I don’t know that they have an advantage, and I haven’t had an opportunity to look over the pre-entries yet, but, I don’t know how many of them are running on the dirt versus the turf. I certainly always respect the European turf horses as, you know, being very difficult wherever you meet them. I don’t know that it’s necessarily an advantage to them because of the Lasix issue. I wouldn’t say that.
Geoffrey Riddle: And also just can you sort of elaborate on your—you said that the usage gives confidence in the horses, whereas in Europe we obviously don’t use it and we bet on horses as well.
Todd Pletcher: Well, you know, the one thing here, and I don’t know if there’s science to back it up, I think that as a rule, dirt racing is more demanding and perhaps we see some more bleeders over here because of that. I think to have Lasix and to protect the horses against bleeding, it inherently protects the gamblers as well.
Jim Gluckson: All right. Well, thank you. Todd, thanks very much for joining us today. Good luck to you. Todd Pletcher with 10 horses pre-entered for this Breeders’ Cup. Thanks for having—thanks, Todd, for joining us today.
Todd Pletcher: Thanks very much.
Jim Gluckson: All right, I think if we’re ready we’re going to move on to our next guest, and he is Shug McGaughey. Shug McGaughey, a winner of nine Breeders’ Cup races in his lustrous career, including one of whom occurred here at Santa Anita in 1993 when the great Lure won the Breeders’ Cup Mile for the second time around. He has a terrific horse, a tremendous season in Point of Entry, and we’re going to talk to Shug right now. Shug, welcome. This is Jim Gluckson. We’re here in California with Tom Robbins, and Rick Hammerle, Bob Elliston, and in Kentucky, Craig Fravel.
Shug McGaughey: You’ve got a good crew there.
Jim Gluckson: All right. Well, let’s just get into this. Point of Entry has been a tremendous story for you this year. Would you just comment on how he’s coming up to this Breeders’ Cup Turf?
Shug McGaughey: Well, you know, he’s done everything right. We’ve always kind of thought this horse had potential and we just had to be kind of patient with him. And then when we got him to Keeneland this spring it all sort of came together for him, after he—(inaudible) ran him back quick at Keeneland and the idea was to give him a little bit of rest to win the Man O’ War (inaudible) to hopefully get to the point where we are right now. And, you know, he was a fairly fresh horse, and obviously I didn’t know he would be quite as accomplished right now as he is, but it’s sure been nice.
Jim Gluckson: Okay. All right. And what are your plans here for him in the next few days as far as working him and getting him ready for the—out at Santa Anita?
Shug McGaughey: I’m going to work him here on Sunday. He worked this past Sunday on the turf; that’s when we can get on it here, and (inaudible) let him go a decent half mile and ship him on Monday, and just kind of get him out there and get him settled in and hopefully our week will go well and looking forward to November 3rd.
Jim Gluckson: Well, we have, you know, not to put you on the spot here, but I’m going to put you on the spot. If we have a situation here in some of these other races where they don’t come up conclusively and he should win the Breeders’ Cup Turf, would you consider him for the—say that he has earned enough to be horse of the year.
Shug McGaughey: Well, he’s got a pretty darn good record, I mean let’s—you know, before I almost start tooting my horn too much I’d like to get by November 3rd, but I would think depending on what happens that day also, that you never can tell how the cards will fall, but I would sure have to think that that would be four or five—four Grade 1 wins and some pretty accomplished races that he sure has to be thought about (inaudible).
John Pricci: Good afternoon, Shug. In relation to Point of Entry, you know, he has a wonderful stride when he starts to stretch out through the lane and all; handled off the ground very nicely last time out. Well now you’re kind of going out there to run on a billiard table. Do you think that—do you think that with his long stride, the firm California course could actually suit him better?
Shug McGaughey: John, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. I was talking to (inaudible) about it yesterday that—how well he liked the training track—turf training track at Saratoga. And, they would let us work him on the rail there—Stake horses on the rail there, and I mean he just loved going around that quick turf course, and you know how hard it was up there this summer. And so I’ve been looking forward to getting him on a good firm turf course, and my initial thoughts were, it’s going to be kind of quick turns, but then when I got to thinking back on how well he handled that training track at Saratoga I kind of got excited about it.
Debbie Arrington: Well, the turf is recently—well, actually through the whole Breeders’ Cup there’s always been a big European influence in it. Have you had a chance to scope out the horses shipping in, and who do you think would be the main contenders coming from overseas?
Shug McGaughey: Well, I haven’t got a chance to look at it really well. You know, with the pre-entries coming out today, we’ll start getting— I’ll get it in the race performance. Some of them I know, St Nicholas Abbey, you know, from winning last year,, he’s not going to—he’s not going to bring an empty gun. And, I see some of the other horses. They’ll be (inaudible) but some of the American horses, too. I mean the horse of Todd’s is a nice horse, and Slim Shadey won on (Santa Anita) that course. So, you know, but I’ll get to take a good look at it here as we go along, we’ll just (inaudible) how it comes up.
Debbie Arrington: Okay, and you’ve had success at Santa Anita before. What’s your impression of the turf course this year?
Shug McGaughey: Well, I guess it’s the same as it’s always been. You know, I’ve always thought it was a good turf course. I mean I know in the past they’ve had some problems with it, but they seem to have gotten that straightened out in the last few years, and, you know, I’m looking forward to running over it.
Danny Brewer: The European factor is something that Debbie kind of touched on. Does that make this a little bit more of a challenge for Point of Entry because of the worldly influence, if you will?
Shug McGaughey: Well, I think it is a very worldly challenge, and, you know, it’s nothing that—I think that that’s what makes the Breeders’ Cup. I think without the European influence that the Breeders’ Cup wouldn’t be what it—you know—what it is. I’m looking forward to it, and if we were able to win, I think we’d have beaten—if we were able to win then we can say we’ve sort of finished in front of some of the best horses around internationally.
Danny Brewer: And maybe something that Jim touched on as far as the horse of the year, I mean if he beats the best in the world then he is the best, and maybe the horse of the year, too. You think so?
Shug McGaughey: I’m hoping we go out there and run well that I’ll have that argument come Saturday night.
Danny Brewer: Does the Europeans—I know you haven’t really studied them as yet, it is about anything that they do, or is it just letting Point of Entry roll like he rolls?
Shug McGaughey: Well, it won’t be—we’re just going to let him run his race that’s why Johnny Velasquez is the rider he is and he knows him and he’s kind of gotten to ride him quite a bit so he’s learned with him over the winter and back in the spring at Keeneland. And then when we ran in the Elkhorn at Keeneland races. Man ‘O War, Lezcano rode him because Johnnie was hurt, but, we saw another aspect of him when he laid up (inaudible) that he could do that. And then still the other day when Treasure Beach came over to run against him in the Joe Hirsch, they kind of changed their tactics a little bit over the soft turf, and we had—we were kind of down in the seam there and it took him when Little Mike started to slow down a little bit, you know, they went on, and, you know, we were—here he was out in the middle of the racetrack and we were still able to win. So, you know, it’ll be interesting.
Jim Gluckson: Shug, this is Jim again. I just wanted to ask you just one final comment about coming into this race—coming into this Breeders’ Cup; just your reflections on some of your great moments here, especially with Personal Ensign winning back in 1988. Can you just comment on that, please?
Shug McGaughey: Well, Jim, I’m a big fan of the Breeders’ Cup. It’s been good to us over the years, and I’ve enjoyed competing in it. You know, I’ve enjoyed some of the horses I’ve got to watch in it. I remember when we were in Texas and watching Ouija Board out there just training it was a big thrill, and to have had the success we’ve had, Easy Goer, Sunday Silence race was I think was—along with Personal Ensign’s race were some of the races that kind of helped bring the Breeders’ Cup along, and it was sure a pleasure being in it. And when Personal Ensign was able to win on a racetrack that she probably didn’t really cherish, and to beat two really good fillies in Winning Color and Goodbye Halo over the Derby and Oaks winners that day, you know, it sure put a big feather in my cap and my career. She was—13/13 was a career-maker, and, it hadn’t been done before until Frankel did it the other day, and it’s—for him to retire as a champion as well as she did, it still shows you what a good horse she was.
Jim Gluckson: Thank you, Shug. Thank you very much, and best of luck to you in California coming up.
Shug McGaughey: Well, thank you. We’re looking forward to it.
Jim Gluckson: Thanks, everyone. Shug McGaughey. When we—we’ll have to—we’ll move on now to our next guest, and he is Bill Mott. Bill Mott has joined us. Bill has won eight Breeders’ Cup races in his career. He has won the Classic twice, the Cigar and he won it last year with Dresselmeyer. He also won the Ladies’ Classic with Royal Delta, one of four horses he has pre-entered for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Bill, thanks for joining us today.
Bill Mott: Okay, thank you for having me. Bill, it’s Jim Gluckson here with Tom Robbins, and with Rick Hammerle, Bob Elliston, and Craig Fravel, the Breeders’ Cup President, is also on the line. Thank you for joining us today. Why don’t we get right into it and discuss Royal Delta pre-entered first for the Ladies’ Classic, but also entered second choice for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Bill, what is going into your decision as to where she may go?
Bill Mott: Well, you know, I think we’re leaning toward the Ladies’—the Classic. We just wanted to leave an option open, and, have it there before us and just have a look at it. Mr. Leon was interested in having a look at the race and knowing what his options were, and it looks as though we could do it without any harm, so that’s really about it.
Jim Gluckson: Okay. All right. So let’s talk about—quickly, I know the other media will have questions about your decision, but talk just quickly about the development here for Ron the Greek and for To honor and Serve, and for Flat Out. Let’s actually start with Flat Out first and talk about him for a second.
Bill Mott: Doing very well. You know, lightly raced the second half of the year. I mean he’s had a little break after his races in Florida, and we picked him up and he’s run three good efforts. You know, I thought he ran a winning race in the Whitney, although we did—you know—we finished third, but it was a super race. He—you know, he had a little bit of a wide trip, and, you know, I think he probably moved a step forward off of that, and, you know, was able to win the Gold Cup—the Jockey Gold Cup. So, you know, he’s a horse that shows that he likes the 10 furlongs, and he seems to be, you know, lightly raced enough to, you know, at least the second half of the year that he should have a little gas left in the tank. So we’re obviously we’re hoping for a good effort from him.
Jim Gluckson: All right. Yes, Ron the Greek won the Santa Anita Handicap here back in the late winter. I’d like you to talk about his development.
Bill Mott: Done well. He’s—you know—had a very consistent year; actually probably ran one of his worst races the last time he ran. Although it was the same day that Flat Out won, Ron the Greek didn’t really seem to handle the track. He’d had a lot of mud the day before and it was kind of a drying out racetrack, and I think that’s the only thing that can attribute the poor effort.
Jim Gluckson: All right.
Bill Mott: We, you know, he did show that he liked the Santa Anita racetrack earlier in the year, and, of course, the 10 furlong distance out there. But, of course, and I know they’ve done—they’ve done some changes to the racetrack; they’ve made some changes. I don’t know how much that’s going to affect him.
Debbie Arrington: Bill, thanks a lot for coming on today. Ron the Greek was very impressive in the Santa Anita Handicap. Is he coming up to this race as well as he was last March?
Bill Mott: He really seems to be. You know, we worked him on Monday and he was—had a very good work and really warming up. It looked like he was moving as good as I’ve seen him all year. You know, he looked enthusiastic and happy and striding out very well, and he went, you know, went around there in a minute and change, and I thought it was a very nice work for him. It seemed like he came back good and he’s happy.
We were pretty excited, you know, when he won the Santa Anita Handicap just knowing that the Breeders’ Cup was there being run at the same distance this fall, so we’ve been shooting for that race for a good while now. And the only difference is, as I had said earlier, I don’t know how much difference there is in the racetrack. I know they’ve put a little sand on it. I know he sure seemed to like it in the spring, and I hope he likes it as much this fall as he did the way it was this spring.
Debbie Arrington: And what do you think of the new track?
Bill Mott: I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. I’ve heard that it was a little loose and cuppy; you know, that’s the reports we got when they opened up there, but, you know, I guess they’ve been sending out some reports that maybe it’s tightened up a little bit and it’s a little better shape and maybe a little faster since, you know, it’s got a chance to settle in and maybe they’ve gotten the chance to get more moisture in it.
Debbie Arrington: And when they went—moved on back to the dirt track from the synthetic, did you like running on the dirt more than the synthetic?
Bill Mott: Well, I certainly liked it this year with four of—you know—three horses, you know, being able to run in the race. I don’t know that any one of them would be running if it was a synthetic racetrack. Frankly, I don’t think that any of the horses that have got in the Classic, at least the colts, would be running on it if it was on synthetic. We did run a horse the one year that it was on synthetic, the horse Go Between, and I thought he had a good chance to win the race that year, and he, you know, wound up having kind of a rough trip and didn’t get to show his best self that day.
But I’m glad it’s back to dirt. I think America is about traditional dirt racing, and I think if they had the synthetic track somewhere where we had the option to use it when the weather was bad that’s fine, but apart from that I’m glad that Santa Anita is back to a dirt track, and that’s the way I hope they keep it.
Tim Wilkin: They forgot to ask you about To Honor and Serve. How’s he doing?
Bill Mott: He’s real good. I’m very happy with him. He’s, you know, he looked like he had a little bit of a dull effort when we ran him back in four weeks off the win in the Woodward. The Woodward was a huge race, and I think he really put on a good, solid effort in there, and I just felt that I wanted to have another race in between the Woodward and the Breeders’ Cup. And actually he ran a little bit of a stinker that day and didn’t show up, didn’t try, but came back good and is training good since. And I’m, you know, as I said before, I’ll make no apologies for running him in the Kelso even though he didn’t run any good. I think that’s what I wanted to do to get him to where we’re going, you know, for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. So hopefully he’ll show up on Breeders’ Cup day.
But he’s doing good. He’s a very capable horse. Ten furlongs probably stretches him to his max, but he’s showed that he was effective at 10 furlongs last year when he only got beat three and a half lengths or so in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill, and he was, you know, he was right there with some very good horses; Flat out and Havre de Grace were within a half length of, you know, of him, so.
Tim Wilkin: Do you think of the three possibly four horses you would run in the Classic he would be the one most overlooked?
Bill Mott: Probably would be just based on his most previous effort. I think it was a little bit of a dull effort, and I think people are going to look at that and probably exclude him, but I don’t know that they should really. I think if you look back on some of his better races you can see where he’s pretty capable. And, you know, he’s got good speed and I’m sure he’ll be a factor somewhere in the race.
Tim Wilkin: And you won the Ladies’ Classic and the Classic last year. Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that you could be in a position to possibly do it again back to back years?
Bill Mott: Well, I don’t know, I mean, you know, you come in and, you know, you’d like to. I mean we’d like to do it again this year, but just—not because I did it last year and want an exact repeat, but I think just because we’re in both races and we want to try and win them both. I’d like the best for each horse and I hope they all show up and run their best race and they get a chance to show how good they are.
Jennie Rees: Yes, Bill. I’m just following up on Tim’s question. You know, how do you feel going into the races this year versus a year ago when Royal Delta was second but beaten pretty handily by Havre de Grace, and this year she put the hurt on the other horses? And you had two horses last year and now you’ve got at least three in the Classic. Yes, just how do you…?
Bill Mott: Well, we ran a pair in the Classic last year and, you know, I wish I had the crystal ball and I knew beforehand how it’s all going to turn out. I just know that last year all our horses were doing very well going into their races. We’d trained at Churchill all month and everybody was working well and I thought that they’d run well. You never know that they’re going to win or what they’re going to do. And then I think I can say the same this year. Up until this point I think everybody’s done pretty well, so I feel pretty good about all our entries really.
Jennie Rees: Is there a little bit of, I wouldn’t say cause, but just the fact that they’ve been training very well but they’ve been training at Belmont, and it is going to be a different track, unlike last year when they were, what, a month at Churchill Downs?
Bill Mott: It’s always a little more of a challenge I suppose when you’re shipping across country, but we opted to ship into Belmont and train there, and that’s kind of our home track. And we’ve shipped out before in the same fashion where we’ll fly out on Monday, and, you know, run on Friday and Saturday. And we’ve done that in the past and I thought our horses did very well that way. I thought they shipped well and trained well and got to the paddock and got to the racetrack in good order, and we’re just going to do the same thing. I think the fact that we didn’t go out a month ago, you know, I think we’re better off just shipping in the week of the race.
Jennie Rees: Could you talk about how they maybe complement each other, or do you have any concerns that maybe some of them are kind of—have a similar style, or do you think that—do you have to (cross talking) all your bases covered?
Bill Mott: The horses that I’ve got in the Classic really have three completely different styles altogether. I think we’ve got a horse like To Honor and Serve that has good early speed and he’s always going to be up, you know, if he’s going to run his race he’s going to be up close to the pace or tending the pace or at least in a very close stalking position. Flat Out seems to be sort of a mid-pack sort of a stalker, and then Ron the Greek usually comes from nine miles out of it. I don’t think the running style of—should interfere with one another.
Jennie Rees: Do you feel you have all your bases covered except for maybe (inaudible) with Game On Dude at his hometown track?
Bill Mott: Well, he’s tough. He’s been training there and that’s a tough horse. I mean you’ve got to give that horse credit. He’s always a good competitor. If there’s anything you could say about him, I guess the mile and a quarter sometimes gets to telling on him a little bit at the end. He’s got a tremendous amount of speed and a durable tough horse, I guess with our fellas we just hope we can be running at him at the finish.
Jennie Rees: Good deal. Thank you, Bill.
John Pricci: Good afternoon, Bill. Gender notwithstanding, and I’m not asking you to compare the horses necessarily horse to horse, but what do you think is the deeper field talent-wise, the Ladies’ Classic or the Classic?
Bill Mott: You know, John, I was just looking at that. I pulled up the PPs on all the pre-entries, and both races are very, very interesting, and I think the competition is deep in both. Tthe fillies race, Awesome Feather is a, you can’t say anything negative about her other than she’s only had two races this year and two races last year. But it seems like when they lead her over there if they get her to the starting gate it looks as though she’s a very tough horse. And I think it’s a deep field. I think both fields are good horses. I don’t know; what are your feeling about this?
John Pricci: I’m not sure anybody wants to know. Let me ask you, you know, if the big mare was—were to run against the colts, I guess you’re going to get four pounds. Do you think the 10 furlongs works to her benefit? If it does work against Game On Dude’s chances, who everybody agrees is probably the right favorite for the race, if you have concerns about his possibly getting the mile and a quarter, how do you think that Royal Delta’s ability to get a mile and a quarter helps you in that situation?
Bill Mott: Well, I think she’s effective at 9 or 10 furlongs. I think the only thing you could probably say is maybe with some horses maybe 10 furlongs is a limiting factor. However, I’ve got two other colts in the race as far as—in the Classic that are well proven at 10 furlongs as well, Ron the Greek and Flat Out – they’ve already won at that distance.
Jim Gluckson: John, can you just hold for a second. Bill, this is Jim again. We have to move on quickly for a second. We’d like to have you join again if possible, but we have Charlie Lopresti waiting for a call. He’s running a horse very shortly and we did want to bring him on. So I’m sorry to interrupt. If we can call you back in a little bit, we’d like to hear Charlie for a few questions. But sorry for the interruption, but we’d like to move on if we could and get back to you.
Bill Mott: Very good. Great.
Jim Gluckson: Thank you, Bill. All right, let’s bring in now Charlie Lopresti, who has a very talented and versatile Wise Dan. Charlie, it’s Jim Gluckson here in California with Rick Hammerle, Racing Secretary at Santa Anita.
Jim Gluckson: Thank you. Charlie, good afternoon. Jim Gluckson here with the Breeders’ Cup in California, and we’re joined by Craig Fravel, the Breeders’ Cup President on the line with Rick Hammerle, Racing Secretary, and Tom Robbins, the Chairman of the Racing Panel here—the Breeders’ Cup Racing Panel. Thank you for joining us. We’ll be quick. We know that you’re on a tight schedule. And we want to first welcome you. How are you doing today?
Charlie Lopresti: I’m doing great, and thank you for having me.
Jim Gluckson: Great. Charlie, Wise Dan has been an extremely exciting and talented horse, as I was saying just earlier. He’s probably been arguably the most versatile horse in racing this year running on synthetic and on turf. I’d like you to comment on your decision, if you could, you had some decisions to make between the Classic and to run in the Mile. What made you decide to go for the Mile?
Charlie Lopresti: Well, Mr. Fink and I talked about it, and we know that he’s very, very good on turf right now, and I think it would be easier to come out there and run on the turf rather than to come and run on the dirt, only because I wouldn’t have enough time I feel like to prepare him to run on the dirt, especially against a horse like Game On Dude who’s so dominant on that track, and that’s his home track.
Jim Gluckson: Okay. Charlie, he has had a terrific year. Again, I’d like to ask you being how this is a wide open kind of Breeders’ Cup in a number of races, should he go on and win the mile, which is a tremendous field, would you say that Wise Dan should be horse of the year?
Charlie Lopresti: Well, that’s up to the turf writers. I just hope he comes out there and does well, and if he does win that race then I think he should be considered for one of the best horses in the country this year, sure.
Geoffrey Riddle: (Inaudible) Celebration is considered the second highest racing horse in the world. Would you say that if Wise Dan did beat him, he should maybe be considered one of the best horses in the America, but probably the best in the world?
Charlie Lopresti: You know, I would say that if Wise Dan wins the Breeders’ Cup Mile that he should be considered for one of the best; not the best, but one of the best. It’s very hard to say who would be the best.
Geoffrey Riddle: And given his versatility, I’m wondering if you’d be considering more (inaudible) next year or maybe even Dubai?
Charlie Lopresti: I would think that we would consider Dubai, because of the Tapeta synthetic track that they have, and he’s already won a race on the Tapeta track at the Presque Isle Mile.
Geoffrey Riddle: And I know you just said his races used to be a bit more spaced out, but this time he’s sort of—he’s coming in off a more condensed preparation. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
Charlie Lopresti: Yes, I can. Really going into the Woodbine Mile he was very lightly raced. And that was the plan all along. He—you know—he’s been lightly raced all through the spring and the summer. We just got a little aggressive with him more towards the middle of to the end of the summer. And the only reason for the Shadwell race was because it was at home, we didn’t have to ship, and the horse was doing so well that I thought it would be pointless to breeze him two or three times when I could get another race into him right there on his home track.
Debbie Arrington: Wise Dan certainly is exciting. We’re very much looking forward to seeing him out here. Are there any other horses in the mile that you’re particularly keeping an eye out for?
Charlie Lopresti: You know what, I tell everybody I keep an eye out for all horses. I don’t want to come into this race thinking that I’m just a superstar and it would be almost impossible to beat me. I—you know—I watch every race. And as I said in the Shadwell Mile, when you’re going to have a full field like that, you always have to be, you know, worried about traffic trouble. I think they’ll probably—I think there was 13 pre-entered. So, you know, I mean Wise Dan’s a very good horse, he’s a very talented horse, but there’s some horses there that the whole field is going to be—from top to bottom it’s going to be a tough field. I don’t know that I would say there was one—be one horse that I’m particularly afraid of. I would watch out for every horse, and hopefully we get a good trip and we get a fair shot to win.
Debbie Arrington: And you’ve had Wise Dan for quite awhile now. What is he like to be around? What’s he like to work with?
Charlie Lopresti: He is a very, very nice horse. He’s very smart and he’s very kind. He ships very well. I mean any place that I’ve been with him he settles in the stall in a day’s time, and he’s just a pleasure to be around. I mean, you know, you train horses all your life and this is a horse of a dream right now. The way he’s doing and the way he’s come around right now, as I said, I don’t want to sound real cocky, but I couldn’t have him any better as of this morning coming into this race.
Danny Brewer: Wise Dan, he’s been a little aggressive in his scheduling here lately. Is the Breeders’ Cup his last race of the year or could he come back in the Clark in the Churchill Fall Meet?
Charlie Lopresti: Absolutely he will not come back in the Clark. That was what I said all along. If—looking at the Shadwell, if I ran in the Shadwell then that would be the only race into the Breeders’ Cup. The only reason that I had the Clark—we talked about that—if the Shadwell would’ve knocked him out, then we—if we had to miss the Breeders’ Cup then we would have another option to run him one more time in a Grade 1 at the end of the year. But to answer your question, the Breeders’ Cup is the last race of the year.
Danny Brewer: Because of the size of the field and the competitiveness, do you do anything differently in the training of Wise Dan, or do you just let him be him?
Charlie Lopresti: I just think you let him be him. I mean he got a lot out of that Shadwell race. He was good going into it. He got a lot out of it. He had one breeze going in—coming into the Breeders’ Cup, and I think we just bring him out there and keep him happy for three, four, five days or whatever it is, and just run him and I think he should do fine. I don’t just—I mean if he’s not fit enough now to run in a race like that he’s never going to be.
Jim Gluckson: All right, Charlie, we know you’re on a tight schedule. Thank you so much for joining us. Good luck with Wise Dan at the Breeders’ Cup. Thank you for being here today.
Charlie Lopresti: Well, thank you guys very much, and hope we can make a good showing of Wise Dan. Thank you.
Jim Gluckson: All right. We are now going to have Bill Mott rejoin us. I know there was some questions for Bill that were remaining from some of the members of the media. So, Bill—can we resume with Bill at this time?
Bill Mott: Sure.
Danny Brewer: As far as Royal Delta’s last race, was it so good it was almost scary?
Bill Mott: You know, it looked good. I mean it was a very good race. I think it was similar, you know, visually as what her race was at Churchill in the Fleur de Lis. You know, we know she’s got that kind of race in her. And she didn’t seem to put that same effort in the Personal Ensign, but we did give the winner 10 pounds, and 10 pounds is 10 pounds, and I guess she beat us, you know, less than half a length, so it’s, you know, we’ll all be on even terms here. And I hope she fires that same shot back in the Breeders’ Cup. She’ll probably have to win. I think there’s with Awesome Feather coming into the race, who is a very good horse, you know, we’re going to have to have a repeat performance of one of her better efforts to win it.
Danny Brewer: The field is flat loaded. What about Love and Pride that got you the Personal Ensign? Is that a horse that you’re concerned with or are you just worried about them all because they’re all so good.
Bill Mott: Well, we’re worried about all of them. I think we’re, you know, in probably a better position to beat her since we’re on equal weight (ph). You know, I she might’ve—you know—on that particular day it gave her an edge having ten pounds from us, so I hope, you know, the (inaudible) the equal weights will kind of even things back out a little bit. We did beat her in Delaware the time before, so, you know, it’s—we have beaten her, and I think with our best—with her best effort I think we have a good chance of beating her again.
Geoffrey Riddle: Hi there, Bill. It’s interesting to hear your comments about dirt and how Santa Anita has got it again. I’m just wondering, Breeders’ Cup bills itself as the world championships. Do you think by having dirt you’re restricting horses coming from around the world? Frankel probably—probably would’ve come if it had been Pro-Ride.
Bill Mott: Well, you know, I really don’t think so, because we have a—you know—they have a—the Breeders’ Cup has a mile turf race and a mile and a half turf race, which, you know, I think would probably fit into most schedules for, you know, the conditions for most horses that come from abroad. I don’t know that too many of them are looking to run on Pro-Ride. I think that gives them an option, and I think it’s, you know, the traditional surface for America is dirt. I mean we—usually it’s dirt and turf, and, you know, we’ve had a few of the poly track and Pro-Ride tracks I guess, but they seem to be going by the wayside recently.
Jay Privman: Hey, Bill. It’s obvious from, you know, all your answers in recent weeks and even on this call that the chances of Royal Delta running in the Classic are fairly remote. But I was just wondering if on Monday, since you would be allowed to enter her in both races since they’re on different days and you wouldn’t be excluding anybody from either race, if you might do that just to allow yourself more time to contemplate things, or if you will make a decision on Monday?
Bill Mott: Well, really I guess the thing about that would be if we decided to enter her in both and run in the Ladies’, I’m not sure we’d have a refund coming, it costs $150,000 to get into the Classic, that’s a serious amount of money. And I don’t know that I want to be doing that. If we enter her in the Classic I think that’s where we’re going to run, so I don’t think we need to be playing around with $150,000.
Jay Privman: So what you’re saying basically is you’ll make a firm decision Monday, you won’t enter both races?
Bill Mott: Well, I would say so. I mean that—and that’s me speaking. There’s more people involved in this than just me. I’m not the one that has to write the check. Of course as far as our entry fees and nomination fees and starting fees go we’ve won two “Win and You’re In” races for the filly and mare race—for the filly championships. I would opt to go there just because I think it’s a better business deal. You know, we’re paid as far—you know—our entry fees are paid upfront because we’ve earned them, and going in the Classic we’d have to put up $150,000. I think it’s nothing to turn your nose up at. I think you’ve got to think about it, so.
Jay Privman: Great. No, thank you.
Jim Gluckson: Okay. Bill, thanks so much for coming back and joining the call today, and best of luck to you and your arsenal of horses at the Breeders’ Cup.
Bill Mott: Okay, thanks a lot. Bye.
Jim Gluckson: Bye-bye. Okay, our next guest is Graham Motion, who has Animal Kingdom, last year’s Kentucky Derby winner pre-entered for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Graham, welcome. Jim Gluckson here in California with Rick Hammerle, the Racing Secretary; Tom Robbins, who is Chairman of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors and Secretaries Panel; and Breeders’ Cup President, Craig Fravel, on the line. Thank you and welcome.
Graham Motion: Hey, guys. Thanks for having me.
Jim Gluckson: Graham, let’s get right into the decision and its genesis to run—put Animal Kingdom in the Mile as opposed to another race?
Graham Motion: This is something I mentioned Barry over the summer that I thought if the horse is doing well it would be a realistic goal. You know, at this time of year, for a horse of his quality there aren’t a huge amount of opportunities. That doesn’t necessarily justify running him in the Breeders’ Cup, but I just feel that he’s that caliber horse, and I—you know—I said to Barry, I think he can be ready in time.
Frank Angst: In your training career, have you had an instance quite like this when you’re getting a horse this good ready for a race this good off—this long a way off?
Graham Motion: I doubt it. I mean I’ve never had a horse probably this good, so. You know, I think he’s an exceptional horse, and that’s why we’re doing something that’s a little out of the ordinary I guess. But, no, I think to answer your question, I have not, no.
Frank Angst: What can you get out of training as opposed to racing? I mean is there any advantage to a preparation like this? And I know part of it (cross talking).
Graham Motion: I think only in as much as sometimes, you know, sometimes I think you’re better off having a fresh horse. I always said to Barry that I would rather not be looking for a track (ph) for this horse. You know, I think we were in a different scenario in the spring when we were looking to go to Dubai and he hadn’t run since the Belmont. I think we needed to get him to the racetrack in that situation. I think this is a very different situation, and I think there’s something to be said for being a fresh horse; yes, I do.
Frank Angst: Thanks, Graham.
Debbie Arrington: Hi, Graham. Thank you very much for coming on, and a lot of fans out here in California are very excited to see a Derby winner. You’ve had him, you know, in your barn for a long time now. How has he changed since he—back last spring when he won the Derby?
Graham Motion: I think mostly physically he’s probably filled out even more. I mean he’s a massive horse this horse. He’s on the scale he’s one of the heaviest horses I’ve ever had, and I think that’s part of the reason why it’s been a little bit hard to keep him sound. He’s a very fast horse and he’s a very big horse, so logically speaking I think that’s why we’ve had trouble keeping him sound. But I think mentally and physically he’s really developed. Actually, he’s trained really well this time coming back. I think he’s training better this fall than perhaps he did in the spring to be honest.
Debbie Arrington: And does he act like he really wants to get back out on the track?
Graham Motion: Yes, he’s always been very willing like that. You know, he’s always been a horse that’s just—first of all, he’s always been a spectacular workhorse. He’s always been a horse that kind of wants to get on and get about his business, so, yes, I would say he’s ready.
Debbie Arrington: Great. Well, best of luck.
Graham Motion: Thank you.
Joe Drape: The Lasix question. Todd was on here earlier. He has one owner who didn’t come, but plenty who did, and he seemed to think, you know, we’re going to go do it in uncharted territory. You’ve had exposure to running with it and without it. I think I did a quick look and you have one in the juvenile race that you’ve kept off it. Is that correct?
Graham Motion: Yes, we, you know, Mr. Strawbridge is one of the owners that did not want to run his two year olds on Lasix, so that’s the route I’ve taken obviously with his two year olds. Kitten’s Point is it doesn’t matter. She has not been treated with Lasix following her races.
Joe Drape: Now is this really a hurdle—an obstacle? What are your thoughts on this? Is—are you—do you feel at a disadvantage?
Graham Motion: No. I mean I don’t feel at a disadvantage because I think we’re all going to be on the same playing field obviously on Breeders’ Cup day. I’m a little disappointed I guess in some respect that I see that just mentioned since the pre-entries came out that the Juvenile Fillies might be a small field, and I think if that’s an effect of Lasix, I think that’s pretty narrow-sighted; you know, short-sighted of people, and I have no idea if that’s historically why that’s happened. I don’t think it’s that big of hurdle to overcome, let’s put it that way. You know, certainly if I had a filly that was a bad breed, I would be—I would have reservations about running her in the Breeders’ Cup for sure without Lasix
Joe Drape: And of the hundreds, probably thousands of horses you’ve been around, how many of them are bad bleeders? Can you give us a sense of that? Is it something that you deal with every day or rarely?
Graham Motion: Yes, I think a very large percent of them end up bleeding at some point, and I don’t get the argument, you know, that I hear from Europe and such that horses don’t bleed over there. I don’t believe that. I mean, you know, probably 80, 90% of my horses at some point bleed. Whether or not they need to be treated with Lasix to run, that’s a different story. Certainly some of them do; some of the bad bleeders do. Probably not all of them.
Joe Drape: Real good, and have a good Breeders’ Cup.
Graham Motion: Okay, thank you.
Jennie Rees: Graham, could you give us workout plan today and time if you know for Animal Kingdom at Keeneland before he ships?
Graham Motion: You know, Jennie, I’m not exactly sure what the protocol is over at Keeneland, but I think—I want to say it’s like around 9:30 or 10 o’clock is that what they normally do.
Jennie Rees: Oh, okay, so you go work on the turf?
Graham Motion: Yes, we go work on the turf.
Jennie Rees: Okay.
Graham Motion: At Keeneland on Friday, yes.
Jennie Rees: Okay. Also, if you ever thought you were going to have a Kentucky Derby winner, would you have been surprised to find out then the Breeders’ Cup race that you would run him in is not a mile and a quarter on turf?
Graham Motion: I don’t know, Jennie. I mean this horse I think he can do anything, I really do. I think it’s probably a credit to him that he was able to win doing a mile and a quarter on the dirt, because I think ultimately the turf is probably his preferred surface, you know? So I guess, yes. To answer your question, yes, I would’ve been surprised if you’d told me that. But I really do think this horse can – I think he’s one of those horses that probably do quite a few different things, you know?
Jennie Rees: Yes, and that’s one thing I was going to ask you is about, you know, now—not that you’ve had a whole lot more races since the Derby, but you do feel that grass is really probably—you know—maybe like a Wise Dan, good on anything, but maybe grass is his…?
Graham Motion: Yes, I think a really good horse can run on anything. I think Wise Dan’s shown that, and I think probably my horse has shown that; not to the extent of him obviously. I always worked him on the grass leading up to the Derby. You know, maybe this was that I wasn’t smart enough to realize he was a Derby horse in February of his three year old year, but, he did most of his pre-Derby work on the grass or the synthetic, so I’ve always kind of thought that was his natural surface. And I think now that he’s had a couple of injuries, I do think the turf is a kinder surface to train him on and to bring him back on to race him on, and that’s kind of why I’ve done it the way I’ve done it at Fair Hill if you like.
Jennie Rees: But so he’ll probably never run on dirt again would you say?
Graham Motion: I wouldn’t say that. No, I wouldn’t say that. No, I think, —I’m thinking he’s going to have a proper campaign next year, and that’s what Barry’s always wanted to do and the partners. So I think it’s a credit to them they wanted to keep him going, and I think there’s definitely the chance that he’ll come back on the dirt at some point. But, mostly, ow, if we get through this hurdle in the Breeders’ Cup, I think we’d love to take a look at the Dubai World Cup. That was always Barry’s idea.
Jennie Rees: And just to clarify, it’s Friday he’ll be working on the turf at Keeneland as opposed to…?
Graham Motion: Correct. He works Friday and ships right out on Saturday.
Jennie Rees: Okay. All right, great. Thanks, Graham.
Graham Motion: You bet.
Danny Brewer: Who’s going to have the mount on Animal Kingdom?
Graham Motion: Most likely Rafael Bejarano. You know, I had a clause with—an agreement with him that if something was to happen to Wise Dan where he didn’t ship or they decided, you know, for whatever reason they couldn’t go, such as the situation, we had—before the Derby I didn’t want to get in the position where Johnny couldn’t ride him; in a strange situation, but Bejarano most likely will ride him. And certainly if Wise Dan runs, Bejarano will ride him.
Danny Brewer: Now what went into that? Do you feel like familiarity with the West Coast helped you with Bejarano?
Graham Motion: I think so. You know, he’s a top rider. He’s riding there every day. You know, it was kind of a no brainer I guess at the end of the day.
Danny Brewer: And as far Breeders’ Cup history goes, it’s tough for a horse to come back off of injury and win, but another chance to be a great chapter in Breeders’ Cup history and Animal Kingdom is the horse that can do it you feel like?
Graham Motion: Yes, I mean certainly I do or we wouldn’t be doing it, you know? Look, I realize it’s asking a tremendous amount of the horse, and quite frankly, if he could hit the board in this race it would be a very credible effort for him. But I strongly feel that he deserves a shot in there and that he’s good enough to be in there, yes.
Tim Wilkin: Graham. Was there any thought ever of trying something lesser than the Breeders’ Cup, or was it always the Breeders’ Cup when you guys thought about this in the summer?
Graham Motion: You know, this is just something I had in my mind over the summer, and I didn’t even mention it to Barry early on. But, you know, once we kind of got further along in his training and saw how well he was doing we talked about it and this is something I’ve kind of had in my—or we’ve kind of had in our sights for a long time. So I guess to answer your question, we really hadn’t looked at anything else.
Tim Wilkin: Did you ever think to yourself, boy, we are really chewing a big piece off here?
Graham Motion: Yes, I think when I first thought of this in May it seemed like an amazing, brilliant idea, and then as you get closer you get slightly more nervous about the decision you’ve made, but I think that’s human nature.
Tim Wilkin: But obviously the horse is telling you he’s ready to do it?
Graham Motion: The horse is doing great. I would not be doing it if he wasn’t doing well obviously, so I’m excited about the chance to do it, and I realize it’s a big undertaking.
Jerry Bossert: Hey, Graham. You answered my question. I was just curious to see who was going to ride the horse in the race. Unless you wanted to say anything else about Bejarano’s decision you could answer that, otherwise I’m fine.
Graham Motion: Yes, no, this has—you know—and certainly we had several people—quite a few people that were interested in riding him, and I was, you know, fortunate that on a day like this you’ve got so many great jockeys to choose from. But it was kind of an easy decision with the fact that, you know, Rafael’s kind of dominated out there, and he’s ridden quite a bit for me in the past as well.
Geoffrey Riddle: I’m wondering could you briefly outline if Animal Kingdom runs a decent race at the Breeders’ Cup what you sort of hope—I mean you’re schedule from, you know, you said over next year?
Graham Motion: You know, I think—s soon as we were not able to go to the Dubai World Cup last year, one of the first things Barry said to me, well, , let’s shoot for the Dubai World Cup next year, which I felt was very optimistic as a trainer. I was probably not that optimistic. But I mean that’s the idea to shoot for Dubai, and I would imagine probably he’ll only have one race at some point in the spring before we do that if that’s still the plan.
Jim Gluckson: All right. Well, Graham, thank you for taking the time today to join us. Best of luck to you and Animal Kingdom in the Breeders’ Cup Mile; Animal Kingdom trying to become the first Kentucky Derby winner since Unbridled in 1990 to win a Breeders’ Cup race. So good luck to you, Graham, and thanks for joining us today.
Graham Motion: Okay, not at all. Thank you.
Jim Gluckson: And as this concludes our call, we thank all our guests that have been on here today, and we wish you all well. Those that are attending the Breeders’ Cup we look forward to seeing you coming out next week. Thank you very much to the NTRA, to Eric Wing who moderates these calls every year; does a brilliant job, and to Joan Lawrence, our producer in New York, who does a terrific job putting all these calls together. Thank you very much, everyone, and have a great day.