Eric Wing: Welcome to today’s NTRA Communications National Media Teleconference. A big weekend of stakes action coming up: Saratoga, a pair of Grade I’s on Saturday in the Whitney and the Prioress; Del Mar with a Grade I of its own on Saturday, the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes and of course it’s the West Virginia Derby on Saturday, $750,000 on the table at Mountaineer Park. Then on Sunday another Grade I at the Spa, the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap going six furlongs. In addition to the races, I just want to give a quick reminder that Chantal Sutherland will be appearing on the Conan O’Brien show. It’s called Conan and that’s on TBS at 11PM Eastern, 10PM Central and if any of you miss the show or can’t stay up that late, they’re usually pretty good about putting the full episodes online at teamcoco.com, so Chantal will be with Conan tonight on TBS. Okay, a little later on in the call we’ll check in with Dr. Kendall Hansen. He of course the owner of last year’s two-year-old champion Hansen who will see action in the West Virginia Derby in the one daytime card of the meeting at Mountaineer Park. We’ll also talk to trainer John Sadler. He’s got a pair of top contenders in the weekend stakes events at Delmar. He’s got Switch in the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch on Saturday and he’s got the undefeated graded stakes winning, former claimer Scherer Magic set to go Sunday in the Grade II Best Pal Stakes. But first up, we’re delighted to have with us Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and he’ll have double barrel action in Saturday’s Whitney Invitational with Ron the Greek and Flat Out. Ron the Greek of course already has captured two very prestigious Grade I events thus far in 2012. Back in March he took the Big Cap, the Santa Anita Handicap venturing West to East over Setsuko and Uh Oh Bango and last time out, June 16th, he annexed the Stephen Foster Handicap over Wise Dan and Nates Mineshaft. Sandwiched in between those two Grade I stakes winning efforts was a very solid second despite a slow pace in the Oak Lawn Handicap back in April at Oak Lawn Park and of course with Flat Out Mott will be starting for the second time the horse who was the favorite in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Then in the barn of Charles Dickey, Flat Out ran fifth that day at 7:2 and he made his return with a nice second place finish in the July 7th Monmouth Cup at Monmouth Park and we’re pleased that we’re joined by Bill Mott. Bill, it’s Eric Wing in New York. How are you today?
Bill Mott: I’m doing great.
Eric Wing: Bill I want to actually start with Flat Out. We were just saying last year’s favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This will be his second start in your barn or since joining your barn. What has he shown you in the relatively brief time that you’ve had him?
Bill Mott: Well I mean he’s been a very straightforward horse. He’s been a pleasure to train. You know he’s a strong horse, willing to work and willing to train and so there’s been no issues so far. I think he’s always been a horse that’s had maybe a little bit of trouble with his feet. I think there’s been a little bit of a history there but one reason I think he came to New York, they sent to me up here so he could train on the surface at the Oklahoma track which is a fairly kind surface for horses with feet issues and it’s always a little bit on the deeper side and we’ve been pretty fortunate so far. We haven’t—things have gone very well for him and I thought his first race for us at Monmouth, although being sort of hemmed up in traffic most of the way, it was a very good race. He showed us that he was willing run. He finished up the race well and I think if he had—you know, I think if he had had a chance to run anywhere from the head of the stretch home he certainly would have challenged the winner for the lead.
Eric Wing: And Bill, even if Ron the Greek didn’t accomplish another thing this year, he has had a terrific 2012 already. Not many spots for the older Grade I males. Do you have any qualms at all about running Ron the Greek and Flat Out together in the same race?
Bill Mott: Well believe me, I never look forward to running against myself however we’ve got different owner interests. I mean both horses are training well and deserve to run in the race. I cannot keep one horse in the barn just because I’ve got another one in the race and, you know, a lot of times if there are two similar races running about the same time you can split them up but I think right now the only major races that they would have for the older horses would be on a different surfaces which these horses are both proven dirt horses and we want to keep them on the dirt. We don’t want to move them to the turf and we don’t want to move them to the synthetic surface at this point. There wouldn’t be any advantage in there.
Danny Brewer: Ron the Greek, he’s been pretty good this year against some real good competition. Has racing against better horses helped him in any way?
Bill Mott: Well obviously no, I suppose since he’s been in the races that he’s been in you could say that’s he gone to battle a few times and not that he hadn’t before but he’s actually run against the top competition around and come out the winner. Now he’s certainly come around since the first of the year. He’s had two good races, actually three good races. He was beaten at Oaklawn but it was still a very good race considering the pace was very modest and he probably could have—needed a little more ground to get up to—to get to the winning position but came back very good at Churchill in the Stephen Foster and warmed down. He’s just one of those horses that keeps grinding away and his pace—if pace is good enough for him he’s going to be a factor at the end. He’s a horse that seems to be doing very well right now. He’s bright. His works have been good. He’s been moving well and you know there’s certainly no reason not to run in here. I think he’s—I think we had kind of planned on giving him a little bit of a break somewhere along the line but we’ve—I guess up to this point you can say that we’ve spaced his races. We haven’t given him any vacations but we’ve spaced his races well enough and he seems to be coming back into this one in good order.
Danny Brewer: Because he won the Foster and at win and you’re in race, does that change what you do between the Whitney and the Breeders’ Cup Classic?
Bill Mott: No, not really. You know, he’s a horse that we would probably look to run in the 10 furlong race at Belmont and then of course the 10 furlong race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. So, you know, if he runs in the Whitney on Saturday, which, you know, is our plan and does well, chances are he wouldn’t—I wouldn’t suspect I would run him back in the Woodward at the end of the meet. I think we would probably bypass that and just wait for the Jockey Gold Cup. You know there’s nothing set in stone obviously but that would be my thinking right now.
Danny Brewer: I appreciate your time and I wish you the best of luck.
Bill Mott: Thank you.
Jeannie Rees: Hi Bill. Looking at the form, I remember this horse as a three-year-old and they kind of briefly thought he might be a derby type horse and then he just didn’t run well enough. When you got him I think he’d lost like eight straight races or something. What do you think has been the key with him and what did the owners tell you when you got the horse and what was your initial impression? I mean what’s happened to him that he’s morphed into this…?
Bill Mott: We waved the magic wand over him, Jeannie.
Jeannie Rees: Why don’t you wave it over more horses? I know you wave them over a lot.
Bill Mott: No, I’m just—I am trying to be funny but…
Jeannie Rees: Yes, I know.
Bill Mott: No, you know what? Of course when I got the horse he had new owners. Actually the owner/breeder stayed in for a piece of him and he—Adam Wachtel purchased the horse on behalf of himself and Mr. Brous and so they—obviously they owned a majority of the horse and I’d had some luck for them before and they sent him to me. The horse had had some good trainers before but I think it was just a matter of timing probably. He had come off some layoffs and maybe it was just—I think he’d run some very good races although in some of his better races he had actually been beaten and actually didn’t win the races but they were probably very, very good races and, you know, I think he’s probably moved forward a little bit but just as is usual I think mainly a timing issue. He’s a great big, strong horse that you could probably tell could not have been at his best at a two or three-year-old. I think he’s probably just one of those later developing horses. He’s an AP Indy line and you know I probably just got lucky and got him at the right time.
Jeannie Rees: Did they say anything we think this horse is a really, really top horse? Or what did they tell you when they sent you the horse?
Bill Mott: I don’t think anybody really expected him to do what he’s done now. I mean I thought—I think maybe the thoughts were that obviously when they hoped he would improve and be running in good company but whether—I’m not sure anybody thought he would be running in the Whitney. Our first race with the horse would have been Saratoga last year about this time and you know he was second in kind of an allowance race and I think that’s—we just had no idea. I had no idea he was going to wind up where he’s at so—and then winning two Grade I this year it’s just you know you do the best you can and try to nurture them along until their next race and he just seems to have gotten better and better.
Jeannie Rees: How much do you think about Horse of the Year? I mean he looks he’s hit Grade I races from now on out. Is it the kind of thing you think it will take care of itself or is it a consideration?
Bill Mott: It’s taking care of itself. I mean those things change so much. I mean those things can change from the—in the last two months of the year. So, you know, I think in order for that to happen I think you’ve got to be successful in the races like the Jockey Gold Cup and the Breeders’ Cup. I think it’s a little premature to be thinking about that right now although we’ve been in that position before and it’s worked out well but I think we’ve always let it kind of play itself out.
Jeannie Rees: So just a final quick question. What about the geographic diversity he had? He’s won in California Grade I. He’s won in the Midwest a Grade I. If you could knock out a Grade I in New York, what does that say, A, about the horse?
Bill Mott: Well I think every—I think the more exposure he gets I think it gives him—you know, what’s always nice for me is to give a horse a good enough career where some day maybe he’ll have a chance as a stallion somewhere and you know that’s always—it’s nice to know when a horse leaves your barn that he’s got an opportunity to go on to another career. So the fact that he’s won one in so many different locales I think that will help him in some respects.
Jon White: Yes, To Honor and Serve had been mentioned possible for the Whitney. What do you have in mind for To Honor and Serve?
Bill Mott: Well just to go back to the—his past two races, I think we probably—the big challenge with him was to try to win the Met Mile within—for the first half of the season and we had a little bit of a rough trip in there. He ran a very good race. He was third and I think if you look at speed figures and the margin he was beaten, I think you can see that it was a very good race but he—we ran back in Suburban with him thinking that we needed another race or we wanted another race at that point going into the Whitney and it didn’t turn out very well for us. It was like a 97 degree day and I think he really didn’t respond very well in the heat. It looked like he was a horse that was very—he became very agitated. By the time we got to the paddock, he wasn’t happy and he ran a very lackluster race. He finished fourth and just since then I decided that I should probably give him a little more time given the fact that I didn’t think he ran his best race. I thought maybe a little more till the end of the meet and we’ve got right now the option of the foregoer, the Woodward for him. That would be the next two goals for him. I’d be fine with either one. I mean I think he’s a fantastic miler. He’s a horse that’s classy enough to stretch his speed to a mile and an eighth and he actually ran very well going a mile and a quarter in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year. He ran a pretty good race but going to wait until the end of the month and then just pick one of those two spots.
Jon White: How has Royal Delta been doing since her win in the Delaware Handicap?
Bill Mott: She’s doing great. We haven’t breezed her back yet but she’s in Saratoga and she’s cantering and galloping every day and doing fine. It looks like it really didn’t take too much out of her. I mean she ran a hard race at Delaware but she’s bounced back very well and right now we’d be pointed for I believe they call it the Personal Ensign at the end of the—on the 26th of August.
Jon White: And finally Bill, congratulations for winning with Alaura Michele Sunday and for yet again winning that race on your birthday. It’s becoming quite a tradition so congratulations.
Bill Mott: Well if I could stop the birthdays and keep winning the races that would be great.
Eric Wing: Last year at Breeders’ Cup time with Drosselmeyer and Royal Delta, you had two horses that were certainly making improvements as the year went on but really fired their best shot when it counted most on Breeders’ Cup weekend. Is it a different challenge at all with a horse like Ron the Greek who has already done so much this year to keep him at that high level? I’m sure you hope to be a player with him in early November at Santa Anita.
Bill Mott: Well it’s even a bigger challenge. I mean you have the horse fire a good shot like he did early in the year in Santa Anita and then have him still be around at the end of the year, I mean that’s, you know—I think that says a lot for the horse and obviously it’s a challenge for, you know—to draw the plans out and try to keep him good for the end of the year. And I think he’s doing very well right now and we have every intention of heading towards the Breeders’ Cup with him. I don’t think it means any less because we have won a couple of races for him although we’re really satisfied what he’s done already. We just hope we can get there and be competitive in November as well.
Eric Wing: Bill, very glad you could join us on the call today and best of luck with both of your runners Saturday in the Whitney.
Bill Mott: Okay, thank you.
Eric Wing: That’s Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. As noted earlier, he’s already had a banner year with Ron the Greek accounting for the big cap in the Stephen Foster. He’ll look to add the Whitney to that resume and if Ron the Greek doesn’t win the Whitney, Bill Mott certainly hopes that Flat Out does. Flat Out also a very strong horse in his own right, second in the pair of Grade I at Saratoga last year, the Whitney and the Woodward and will be making his second start for Bill Mott Saturday at Saratoga. Okay, time to focus on the three-year-olds. This Saturday is the Grade II $750,000 West Virginia Derby. By the way, that race will be televised live on selected Fox Sportsnet regional networks around the country so definitely check your local listings to see if the Fox Sports network in your area will have the race and if they do, it should be on from 5 to 6 PM and the most—the horse that most people will be watching most prominently that day undoubtedly last year’s two-year-old champion Hansen and with us now we’re joined by his owner Dr. Kendall Hansen. Dr. Hansen, it’s Eric Wing in New York. How are you today?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.
Eric Wing: Our pleasure and Dr. Hansen, you and Mike Maker were faced with the similar trilemma I guess you would say that the owners and trainers of all the really good three-year-olds face at this time of year. You were coming off the big race in Iowa at the Iowa Derby and so you had to decide between the Jim Dandy, the West Virginia Derby and the Haskell. How did the two of you arrive at the West Virginia Derby for Hansen’s next race?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: That was a really—it’s probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make so far. The—it’s too bad all three races came about at the same time. I wish they were spread out. Mike had been telling me about West Virginia for some time because he knows about the $150,000 bonus if you’re a Grade I winner so we’d kind of planned on that but the more I researched the Haskell and just saw just how famous a race it was and what the trophy looked like and all the previous horses that had won it and it just seemed like it was my one chance to go out there and win the Haskell so that really complicated matters because I wanted it so much. But I kind of let the decision fall back on Mike and followed his instincts and that seems to be working pretty well for the team. It would be nice to get another building race under Hansen and then hopefully run him 100% in the Travers and see if we can beat the other three-year-olds there that everybody is talking about.
Eric Wing: Dr. Hansen, it’s already been reported that Hansen will be running with his blue-tipped tail on Saturday. Seemingly much less red tape involved with doing that at Mountaineer compared to Keeneland. Has that been sort of an added bonus in your decision to go to Mountaineer, that you’ll actually be able to do this without too much outside problem?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: No, I’d actually kind of thought it was a done deal and forgot about it but then just a few days ago I talked to the stewards and they seemed agreeable but they wanted to run it by the West Virginia Racing Commission and they just kind of wanted to know why we’re doing it and we told them. They said fine. And we’re just doing it for fun and for a lot of Hansen’s younger fans and people that think they’re young and it was just kind of unfinished business for me from before. I was always a little sad we never got to pull it off. You know I took all the criticism for it. I never go to do it. I think even people that don’t think it’s a good idea probably would like to see it at least one time, then they’ll have more to criticize about but I think everybody wouldn’t mind seeing it once whether you like it or not.
Eric Wing: Well if he continues to race on a wide early lead, that blue tail will be even easier to spot.
Jon White: Yes, Dr. Hansen, Hansen had a workout this morning. What can you tell us about that workout?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Just a maintenance workout. He’s good. Mike actually thinks—and he doesn’t talk much as you know, but he actually said that Hansen is good to go and I asked him to try to elaborate on that. He actually thinks Hansen is better than he’s ever been going into any race so I’m excited about that.
Jon White: When does he ship?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: The plan is to go Thursday and Mike was going to van him out there himself.
Jon White: Great. Thank you so much, Dr. Hansen.
Danny Brewer: Dr. Hansen, is Breeders’ Cup your end of the year goal for this horse?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Exactly. No doubt about it. I got a big taste of that and I really enjoyed it.
Danny Brewer: That you mentioned about young fans and the fans that want to be young, the Derby chase I’m sure was something. The Breeders’ Cup chase, is that going to be just a fun thing, do you think?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: I think—yes, there’s no telling what I’ll do until my fiancée gets here. I’m kind of bored and obviously have extra time on my hands but when my fiancée gets here and I can hold onto her arm I’ll probably calm down a bit. But yeah, who knows what could happen till then? I’m just going to continue having fun and keep myself distracted and see if we can make horse racing as much fun as we can.
Danny Brewer: Is that part of the blue tail is just having fun?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Exactly.
Dan Johnson: After the Iowa Derby you were pretty ecstatic and I was just wondering looking back at that race, what impressed you the most about it and where do you think he stands now moving forward?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Hi Dan. Good to hear from you again. I think you guys threw a really good party out there.
Dan Johnson: Oh, thank you.
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Yeah, I want to bring him back for that taller trophy, the Cornhusker.
Dan Johnson: That’s cool.
Dr. Kendall Hansen: That’s a very nice looking trophy. I was just—I liked how he was in the post parade. He’s not perfect but he was calmer in the post parade which usually means good things for Hansen. The most calm he was in any race was in the Gotham and we’re trying to get him back to that mental state. But I just like that he did it so easily. He just relaxed all the way around and he ran right through the finish line. You know he wasn’t slowing down and it just looked like he could take a lot more distance easily and that’s what was exciting to see and it was his best Beyer Figure to date and I think he’s on an upward trend. You know a lot of horses run in cycles. Definitely he’s in an upswing right now.
Dan Johnson: Okay, thanks. Also, the Hansen dolls people loved him. They ran out of them so quick you wouldn’t believe it.
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Oh great. Well we’ve got—for the next race the tails are painted blue, just perfect timing for the next race so I even think some of the Hansen girls that came out for the Bluegrass might be coming to this race too so we’re looking for some more fun.
Jeannie Rees: Yes, doc, I wondered if you’ve seen the entries for the West Virginia Derby, if you have any thoughts on the competition.
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Just—well I got a little bad news. Somebody—I was talking to somebody that was talking about (Inaudible). Mike is not—or that Bob is not shipping anybody out. And I know there’s a Bernardini horse that Kiaran McLaughlin has that can run a bit but you see the list of names and I think the horse that ran second behind is at Prairie Meadows and will be coming out, the upset winner from the spring. I’m blocking on a name. But I know—do you have a list for me? I’d love to see it.
Jeannie Rees: No, I’m waiting for the overnight to come out. It hasn’t come out yet. I guess there was 10 horses I guess that went in but yeah, I’m not that familiar with them. But I mean do you think this is—I mean it’s certainly a different sort of competition than what you faced in the Derby and in the Bluegrass and…
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Yes, I’d like somebody to push Hansen a little bit so he gets a fair amount out of the race but I really think he’s set to go for the Travers so this—either way even if he has to work hard and earn it, that’s great, but either way it was still somewhat of a workout for the Travers.
Jeannie Rees: Have the objectives changed with him at all? I mean once he got beat in the Bluegrass and (inaudible) in the Bluegrass, with a couple of losses does it change how you go about campaigning him?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Well there was a lot of discussion amongst us if we should go towards the King’s Bishop as a final goal but Mike’s just convinced us all that he still hasn’t proven that he can go a mile and a quarter so I guess we’ll all know in less than a month. And there’s more classic races, especially the Breeders’ Cup Classic at the mile and a quarter distance so we don’t want to quite give up on that and I know you writers must get tired of owners that keep thinking their milers can go a mile and a quarter and then keeps failing because there’s been a lot of that going on the last few years and I apologize but we really do think that he can do it.
Jeannie Rees: Let me ask you this, if you were—you are a handicapper as well as an owner. If you take the owner out of it, as a handicapper, what would you think? Would you think that Hansen can go a mile and a quarter? If you were looking at it from the outside.
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Just on paper? No. But I’ve got some inside information so I know more than a handicapper.
Eric Wing: Dr. Hansen, Hansen will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith in the West Virginia Derby breaking a string of six straight rides by Ramon Dominguez who is staying in Saratoga. Any concern, disappointment, anger that you won’t have Dominguez again?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: No. I mean it’s a business and you know we’ve had some talks with Ramon throughout the races and we’re only one horse in a faraway location and you’ve got to keep owners and trainers happy as best you can everywhere else and he can pick and choose because he’s obviously number one in the Eclipse Award the last couple of years and we’re glad to have him when we can but we’re also excited that we have Mike. Mike actually called asking to ride Hansen the day before we heard Ramon couldn’t come so it was just perfect timing.
Eric Wing: And lastly, Dr. Hansen, despite the fact that I believe you said all along that you’d be shooting for the Travers, there have been some critics online that look at the going to Prairie Meadows and then Mountaineer and saying that you’re ducking the big shots in the three-year-old ranks, does that kind of talk tick you off? Amuse you? How do you treat that stuff?
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Well it upsets me but you know I’m thinking if I get upset about it maybe there’s some truth to it. So obviously do I want to run against Bodemeister or Paynter every month? No, but do I want to eventually run against them to prove that I’m better? My answer is yes. Hansen’s—I’m just shocked at how many fans this white horse has and I think it’s part of my responsibility to make sure he’s going to keep running as a four- and five-year-old and if you go out there and run against a Bodemeister or Paynter every month, your horse probably isn’t going to be running at four or five. So we are picking our spots and we’re trying to do what’s best and safest for the horse but also by the end of it all the fans will eventually see what he can do.
Eric Wing: And certainly that $750,000 pot out at Mountaineer is a nice inducement to go run for some serious money in the West Virginia Derby I would imagine.
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Yes well the money is good in most of these races so that’s not really part of the decision with that extra $150,000 bonus it’s like a million dollar race so that is interesting and we have taken note of that.
Eric Wing: Well Dr. Hansen, plenty of people have taken note of your horse over the last 10 months or so. Always appreciate you coming on these calls and wish you and Mike Maker the very best of racing luck Saturday in the West Virginia Derby.
Dr. Kendall Hansen: Thank you so much.
Eric Wing: Thank you. That’s Dr. Kendall Hansen. He will be out there in Chester, West Virginia along with Mike Maker and Mike Smith with Hansen, the 2011 two-year-old champion, and looking to add to his 2012 resume which already includes wins in the Gotham Stakes and the Iowa Derby. Saturday, Hansen will see action in the Grade II $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park. Again, I want to remind everybody that Chantal Sutherland will be a guest tonight on Conan which of course airs on TBS, 11 o’clock Eastern, 10PM Central. Teamcoco.com if you want to go there the next day, tomorrow to watch a replay of that show but she’ll be on along with Jeff Daniels and some musical group I’m not quite familiar with. But anyway, time now to focus in on Del Mar and to help us do that and look at the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes and the Best Pal Stakes on Sunday is the gentlemen who will be saddling horses in both of those races, trainer John Sadler. He’s got Switch who was third in the Clement L. Hirsch last year and Scherer Magic who is coming off a very nice win in the Hollywood Juvenile Championships. John, it’s Eric Wing in New York. How are you today?
John Sadler: Good, how are you this morning?
Eric Wing: Just fine, thank you John. You know with Switch, she’s a multiple Grade I winner going short and I know you did your darnedest last year to get her that Grade I win going to two turns and after the Clement Hirsch last year it seemed like you abandoned those plans but is this kind of one last shot to get her that two-turn Grade I on Saturday?
John Sadler: Well you know she’s got quite a resume so we’re thinking that the other stakes down here, the Rancho Bernardo at six and a half furlongs is a little short for her. So she’s run really well in some of these mile and sixteenth races before. We think the field is coming up right. She is doing very well. She’s really scheduled for just like two or three more races, you know, because after the Breeders’ Cup she’ll be off to the breeding shed next year. But she’s doing well. She had a really good workout here on Monday so we’re going to give it another go and see if we can get some redemption from last year.
Eric Wing: Yes, she did everything but win, not just the Hirsch but a couple of those other starts last year.
John Sadler: Well yeah, I mean she ran with Havre de Grace, Blind Luck, so she’s—I mean you don’t have to apologize for her record too much.
Eric Wing: Not at all. John, is it back to one turn for sure after the Hirsch or does that depend on the Hirsch outcome?
John Sadler: It depends on the Hirsch outcome and then it will depend on the landscape of when we get back to Santa Anita. The reason we kept her in training this year was to give her another shot at the Breeders’ Cup. She’s been two seconds the last two years in the seven furlong race but this year they cut the Santa Anita where she has been very good in the past and if you had to put a gun to my head today I would probably say seven but you know we’ll see what happens. With horses a lot can change. Horses go up, horses go down, horses drop out but I’d like to say both at this point but we’ll make that decision when we get closer.
Eric Wing: And John, on Sunday you’ll be saddling Scherer Magic. The horse has already won himself out from your $50,000 claim from his debut. He earned $90,000 in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship which he also won. I understand that there were many, many people—I don’t know, five or six at least, who were involved in the shake for that claim, so you not just won the next race with him but you also won the shake. What was so impressive about Scherer Magic that so many people were lined up on the day of his debut?
John Sadler: Well he had some really good workouts at Hollywood Park. You know we subscribe, I subscribe to two or three different clocking services. The reports on him were very good works so when you’re looking at a young horse with good works you’re not necessarily thinking you’re going to win a big stake with him but you’re thinking is he going to be worth the money? So when he came over I liked the looks of him. I’d had another stakes winner by that stallion, Noble Court. He’s a son of Doneraile Court also. I liked him. He’s athletic looking, not particularly big and you know it’s all kind of a hunch feel thing for me claiming, knowing the players, knowing that maybe he was bred in a small state. Maybe they thought they weren’t going to lose him because he was Iowa-bred or you know it’s all kind of your guts. It’s like I consider like poker. And we got in there with two which is the maximum you can drop, give us the best possible chance and we won the shake so we’re very excited.
Eric Wing: Could you just explain that, John? When you say you got in there with two which is the most you could drop.
John Sadler: Yes, I mean in California, in our state, you can put two claims in for one horse but for different ownerships. So I put a claim in for Gary Barber and I put one in for a Barber Partnership so, you know, if there was five in there, we had two of the five or if it was six—it was either five or six, you know we had as good a chance as we can get.
Eric Wing: Interesting. So at least you improved your odds in the shake.
John Sadler: Slightly. Somewhat.
Eric Wing: Okay. Somewhat. John, I’m going to ask you another question or two later on but I’m going to throw things back one last time to Michelle and she’ll see what questions the writers and broadcasters have for you.
Dan Johnson: Hi. Scherer Magic is the first Iowa-bred ever to win a grade stakes race? Do you have any idea, I mean just from the time you’ve had him now, how he looks going forward now as the competition will get better? Can you tell is he someone who should continue to be successful or is he maybe just someone who develops real quickly or any way to tell that?
John Sadler: I mean I think he’s got a chance to be a pretty nice horse. You know he’s only two races into his career. He won his first one very easily and he showed a lot of versatility in his second race. You know there was a (inaudible) and picked him up. He’s got a very good stride, very athletic. He had a fabulous black-letter work here Monday at Del Mar so we think he could be pretty good. With young horses two or three races into a career you don’t really know exactly how far or how good they’re going to get but he hasn’t shown me anything yet, any limitations on his distance or his ability so we’re excited about going out there for number three and see if he can do it again. John Talamo worked him on Monday and he loves the way he went so it’s pretty exciting.
Dan Johnson: Also I think I read in one of the stories that you were considering supplementing him for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Juvenile Sprint.
John Sadler: Yes, we did that. That actually closed after the Hollywood Juvenile so with the $12,000 fee to keep him eligible for the two-year-old race at Breeders’ Cup.
Dan Johnson: So did you do that then or not?
John Sadler: Yes.
Dan Johnson: Okay.
John Sadler: Yes.
Dan Johnson: Hopefully he’ll make it there.
John Sadler: Yes, that’s—well we’re thinking that, you know, and especially it’s out here in our land over here so we put up the money for that. He is eligible for the Breeders’ Cup.
Danny Brewer: The Del Mar synthetic surface, how is that playing this year and is that an advantage for the horse you run in the Best Pal Stakes?
John Sadler: Well he comes off a synthetic track at Hollywood, although the synthetics are a little different. He’s had a good experience over at—being at Hollywood before he came here. This year Del Mar is playing I’d say pretty fair the first part of the meet. It always can change with the weather. It seems to affect this track but right now I’d say it is playing fairly fair. They’re not closing from like last. That would be maybe the difference over sometimes when it gets really hot, it gets really sticky. The (inaudible) does terrible. Right now I’d say it’s the horses that are stalking and then the horses in front have done pretty well so that seems how it’s playing so far.
Danny Brewer: As far as Switch is concerned, is this kind of a decision making race whether she continues to go long or whether you shorten her back up?
John Sadler: Yes, it really is. She is—we gave her three months off after the Breeders’ Cup last year. She came back and she needed a little bit of racing. She took a couple of starts to catch her best form so she’s—we’ll run her here Saturday and see what we’re going to do, whether we’re going to go in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint or maybe the Ladies’ Classic. There’s some good fillies in the East with Royal Delta obviously and Awesome Maria. I have another filly I hope will be back for the Breeders’ Cup in Zazu so we’ll see how it goes Saturday and then go from there.
Jon White: Hi John. Switch had a six furlong workout Sunday. What can you tell us about that workout?
John Sadler: Very good. She went—it was a bolus (ph). She worked 1:11, (inaudible) in 24, good work over the track. With her I wanted to get a good work in her and see if her energy level looks good enough for this race on Saturday and I was happy with the work and she looked very good yesterday and today so we’re moving forward on Saturday.
Jon White: And you mentioned Zazu. Kind of give us an update on her.
John Sadler: Yes, she came up with kind of a stifle—a hot area in her stifle. We put her in the nuke scan at Santa Anita and that showed what that was. She needed about 45 days of light training before she goes back into heavy training and I’m hoping to get her back for the fall. So she’s looking very good right now. She’s not quite all the way up to where she’s doing anything heavy yet but I think she’ll come back really well.
Jon White: And Lady of Shamrock won the American Oaks. How is she doing?
John Sadler: She’s doing beautiful. Lady of Shamrock will run in the Del Mar Oaks. I think it’s August 18th. She looks just tremendous and we’re looking forward to her next start down here.
Jon White: What can you tell us about the owners of Lady of Shamrock?
John Sadler: Lady of Shamrock? It’s a new group, Hronis Racing. They’re out of Delano, California. They are big grape growers. They’re in kind of the tradition of the Valprado family where they’re growing a lot of—they grow primarily citrus but they’re one of the largest citrus growers in the Western United States and always they grew up going to Santa Anita like the lot of us and now they’re getting into horses and having some really good luck.
Eric Wing: John, back on July 14th you had a great day. Lady of Shamrock won, Scherer Magic won, Switch won, so three stakes in one day: a Grade I, a Grade II, a Grade III. Now you just said Lady of Shamrock will come back on August 18th hopefully in the Del Mar Oaks. Scherer Magic and Switch, a quicker turnaround; does that worry you at all with either of those two?
John Sadler: Well I mean a little bit but that’s where the—Del Mar is kind of a boutique meet where we have a short meet. Really Switch’s choices are only two down here and Scherer Magic would have two races at the most here so both of them seem to come out of it really well, bounce out of their last races good. So, you know, they’re certainly not over-raced horses. Scherer Magic only the third start of his career and Switch had the winter off. Like with her she’s going to run two or three more times so we’re going to give her a go on Saturday and then look forward to the Breeders’ Cup.
Eric Wing: And John, one thing about this time of year, both at Del Mar and at Saratoga is that talented two-year-olds have a way coming into focus on an almost daily basis, or bursting onto the scene I should say. Out east we’re certainly well familiar with Scherer Magic and also with Bob Baffert’s filly Executiveprivilege. Anybody else out there catch your eye or look like a possible new star on the horizon, whether it is in your barn or somebody else’s?
John Sadler: Well there’s a lot of good two-year-olds who will come up at Del Mar. I’m going to be running two-year-olds this weekend. I’m running Street Boss on Saturday that looks very good and I’ll be running at least one filly in the two-year-old filly race on Sunday. I have I believe it’s a City Zip filly looks very good, so they’re coming out. Peter Miller won a couple of high claimers the other day. (Inaudible) ran very fast so there’s a lot of good two-year-olds coming down. I’m sure Baffert will have probably two for every two-year-old race going forward so we’ll see how it shapes up. We had those two-year-old maidens last week, had a horse, Forest Boy, first time out. We had a very good second 10 and change. He got beat about a neck. I think he’s going to be a good one.
Eric Wing: All right, well I’m sure that’s a very fluid situation and we’ll do our best to try and stay on top of that. John, always a treat to have you on these calls and we wish you good luck and good success both Saturday and Sunday with Switch and Scherer Magic.
John Sadler: Well I appreciate it. I would just encourage everybody to come out to Del Mar this summer. We’re having great crowds. The energy has been fabulous. The weather is really good, so I’ll see you at Del Mar.
Eric Wing: No place better. Thanks very much, John.
John Sadler: Okay. Take care.
Eric Wing: You too. That’s trainer John Sadler. He’s got the multiple Grade I winner Switch stretching out to two turns once again in the Clement L. Hirsch $300,000 Grade I event going a mile and a sixteenth on the main track Saturday, and Scherer Magic who is perfect two for two thus far and he’ll look to make it three for three in Sunday’s Grade II Best Pal Stakes going six and a half furlongs out at Del Mar. Okay, that will bring an end to today’s call. I want to thank all three of our guests, Bill Mott, Dr. Kendall Hansen and John Sadler.