Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Teleconference – Dale Romans, Charles Lopresti, Rosie Napravnik, and Bill Spawr
Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Teleconference – Dale Romans, Charles Lopresti, Rosie Napravnik, and Bill Spawr
Eric Wing: Welcome to today’s NTRA Communications national media teleconference
Last week I believe we had 11 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races to ponder. This year—or this week rather, I believe we have 12. And as usual, the Horse Racing Radio Network is all over it. They’ll be on Sirius XM Satellite Radio Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; Friday from 5 to 6 with the Alcibiades and the Phoenix Stakes. Both of those are “Win and You’re Ins”. Saturday the 6th they’re on from 4 to 6 p.m. with the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, the Shadwell Turf Mile, Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, plus the Champagne and the Frizette from Belmont. And they’re back at it on Sunday, I believe, from 5 to 6 p.m. They’ll have all the grass races for the two year olds: the Bourbon, the Miss Grillo and the Pilgrim, plus the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes from Keeneland, so action aplenty.
And later we’ll talk to Rosie Napravnik, whose mount in the Foxwoods Champagne, Shanghai Bobby, will try to go—extend his record from—to four for four. We’ll also check in with Bill Spawr. He’s the trainer of the defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, Amazombie. We hope to check in with Charles Lopresti, who we understand will be entering Wise Dan today for Friday’s Shadwell Turf Mile.
And right now, we’re pleased to have with us a man who will be busy himself on Saturday saddling no fewer than four horses in Grade 1 races; Dale Romans. Dale, it’s Eric Wing. How are you today?
Dale Romans: I’m doing well. How are you?
Eric Wing: I’m fine, thank you. And looks like you’ve got Dullahan in the Jamaica, plus Craving Carrots, Silver Max and Tapitsfly at Keeneland. Apologies in advance if I’m missing anybody else. But, Dale, with Dullahan in the Grade 1 Jamaica for straight three years olds, is it simply the case where if he wins impressively in the Jamaica he’ll go on to the Breeders’ Cup Turf, and if not, he’ll go in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, or is it more complicated than that?
Dale Romans: Well, I think it’s a little more complicated than that. We’re going to leave the door open and actually just see what happens when we get out to California. I’m going to try to get out there early enough to get—train over the racetrack a little bit, and I’ll have Tammy work him on the dirt and then see what she has to say. Her opinion’s been very good so far. If she tells me he just bounces over it like he does the synthetic, it’s a little tighter, a little firmer like he likes it, then we’d have to think very seriously about the Classic.
Eric Wing: Okay, now you’ve got a pair of runners out at Keeneland on Saturday, Dale—or I guess Friday and Saturday. You’ve got Silver Max in the Shadwell Turf Mile—that’s the Saturday race as well—and also Tapitsfly in the First Lady. Now, is this simply a case where you’re turning each of them back to what would appear to be their optimal distance?
Dale Romans: Yes, you know, in the case of Silver Max, when you get a good turf three year old, you’ve got to try and stretch him for the two big races at—in Virginia and in Arlington. And he did it very well in Virginia, but, you know, he got pressed and he couldn’t really get it done in—at Arlington. But I think when it’s all said and done, he’s going to be an excellent miler the rest of this year and next year. And, you know, I don’t like hearing Wise Dan’s going to show up there, but we’ll have to take him out sooner or later.
Danny Brewer: Hey with Silver Max, did the Secretariat tell you anything about him as far as distance or maturity or anything like that?
Dale Romans: I think any time you have a speed horse you’re trying to stretch them as far as a mile and a quarter, but it’s all about pace. And he was a little unlucky with the pace scenario. They sent Daddy Long Legs up after him down the back side, and they went two seconds faster than we did in Arlington Million for the first three quarters. And I think he was just a victim of pace there, which will happen with those speed horses stretching.
Danny Brewer: Do you feel like the mile is his optimal distance?
Dale Romans: I think he can pretty much run all out for a flat mile, and it’s not as important that he has to go slow early. So, yes, it probably is right now. I mean who knows, he may mature like Little Mike did and next year go on and go a little bit further.
Danny Brewer: As far as Dullahan is concerned, is he still maturing and getting better, or do you think we’ve seen his peak yet?
Dale Romans: I don’t know. I mean you never know when their peak is. Hopefully just continues to improve. I think he’s a better horse now than he was back when the Derby ran, and I was very impressed with his work this weekend at Belmont, and I just—I hope he continues to get better and better.
Jennie Rees: Hey, Dale. What does Silver Max have to do in the race at Keeneland to go onto the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf?
Dale Romans: That’s a good question, because I was—I’ve been trying to figure that myself. And I guess we just have to run him and get a good gut feeling about how he ran and what we think he can do out there. Because, you know, if he wins, of course, he goes because you don’t have to lay out all the expense, but it’s a pretty expensive venture to go to run in the Breeders’ Cup if you don’t have a “Win and You’re In”. So I’ll have to sit down with the owners after the race and evaluate his race and see if we want to take Wise Dan on again if we don’t beat him this time, and, you know, maybe we pass.
Jennie Rees: Yes. And with Silver Max, this go around he won’t, you know, be a real heavy favorite. If Wise Dan is there, he won’t be a favorite.
Dale Romans: No.
Jennie Rees: But do you think that that could be helpful at all, though, that they can’t concentrate on him; that there is—I mean just looking at the bright side of what could be a tougher race?
Dale Romans: Well, yes, I was going to say I’d like to be a favorite every time I run. But, you know, we’re asking a lot out of him even without Wise Dan to step up against some of these older, tougher, you know, more seasoned colts for the first time. So we’ll see what he’s made of. I think he’s a very talented horse; he’s shown it all year, and now he needs to step up and go to the next level.
Jennie Rees: And a final question on Dullahan. It’s a mile and an eighth versus a mile and a half, and you’d said maybe that gives you more options. Is the distance strictly a factor, or is it one more chance to go against three years olds that would give you your best chance for another G-1 on the year, and thinking about things like championships be it three year old or turf?
Dale Romans: Well, yes, that comes into play. I mean he’s the first colt I’ve ever had to win three Grade 1s, and then, you know, he could win another one this year making three for this year. And it—but it does. And the distance is a—was the biggest factor. It gives us the opportunity if we decide to back up to the mile we can still do that. We can still stretch him to the mile and a half, or to go back to the mile and a quarter on the dirt. I think if we run him a mile and a half it’s kind of tough to back down.
Jay Privman: Hey, Dale. I have two questions for you; the first being, please, if you could just elaborate more on your potential travel plans with Dullahan in terms of sending him out here?
Dale Romans: I’m not sure. I want to get there early. I want to see how this weekend ends up and how many horses we have, and if we have enough to charter a whole plane, or if we just—well, if we kind have to go with (inaudible) and schedule. But I’m going to try and get on—if we’re going with their schedule, I’m going to try to get on as early a flight as possible.
Jay Privman: And then the second question, please, is just regarding a potential start in the Classic. Does the possibly of a jockey conflict enter into your thinking?
Dale Romans: No, that won’t—that’ll be the least of my problems. It’ll just be surface. If he goes out there and works like he belongs on that surface, then, you know, as you all know, Tammy’s been a great help and her opinions has been very good so far which helps me in making these decisions, and what she has to tell me when he breezes will be deciding factor.
Eric Wing: Dale, you’ve—Dullahan’s been very good to you, but you’ve got a lot of horses running at Keeneland. Where are you going to be on Saturday?
Dale Romans: I’m actually going to be at Keeneland. I mean it’s home. And I was up there for his breeze the other day. I didn’t make it to the Pacific Classic and he didn’t seem to need me, so I figured he’d be all right by himself in New York.
Eric Wing: And lastly, how about can you give us a quick update on Little Mike and Shackleford? Did they come out of Saturday’s action fine?
Dale Romans: They did. I think we got a little bit unlucky with the rain; as much as New York had. It seemed like even though Little Mike handled it well at Arlington, it was a lot softer at Belmont and he didn’t seem to like it at all. But he came out of the race in good shape. And Shack, I mean Shack’s—he showed glimpses of his earlier form this year, and I think that race will set him up well. I mean we would’ve loved to come away from it with a win, but I think that’s the best he’s run on a wet racetrack in his life, and showed a little bit of his old self in the first part of it. And he came out of it in good shape, and he’ll be ready for California.
Eric Wing: And though he’s kind of overshadowed by some of these other horses we’ve been talking about, are you kind of excited to run Craving Carrots in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity if for no other reason just because of the success you had there last year with Dullahan?
Dale Romans: Yes, you know, he has a similar form as Dullahan, and I am anxious to run him. This is—I really like this colt. I think he’s a very good colt. If anybody saw the With Anticipation, he never got a chance to run in the entire race. And so he needs to draw through that and hope he bounces back in this race and earns himself a spot in California.
You know, we’ve got a couple of others running. O’Prado again is coming up in the Indiana Derby; first start this year. I’m expecting him to run very well. And we have a two year old filly running on Sunday in the Miss Grillo, and I really liked Moonwalk. I think that she has a chance to be a special filly.
Eric Wing: Okay. Well we’ll keep an eye on all of those runners, as well as your Belmont and Keeneland entrants. Dale, thank you, again, for coming on the call, and we wish you the best of luck with all of them this weekend.
Dale Romans: Thanks for calling.
Eric Wing: Thank you. That’s trainer Dale Romans. Career year for him, and it’s not over yet; plenty more action to come starting with this weekend at Belmont, Keeneland, Hoosier Park, and perhaps elsewhere. Anyway, very nice of Dale to come on with us.
And also very nice of Charles Lopresti to join us now. Charles, as we know, is going to enter with the intent of running Wise Dan in Saturday’s Grade 1 $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile. Charlie, it’s Eric Wing in New York. How are you today?
Charles Lopresti: I’m good. How are you today?
Eric Wing: Fine, thank you, Charlie. And in this day and age when trainers seem to go for maximum race spacing, you’ve elected to get one more race into Wise Dan between the Woodbine Mile and the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Why did you make that choice?
Charles Lopresti: Well, I tell you, he come out of the Woodbine Mile very, very well. It didn’t take much out of him. It makes a lot of sense to look at this race. It’s—all we have to do is lead him across the street, and we’ve had to ship him everywhere this year. And if you look at his races this year, he’s been very lightly raced. This was only his fourth start. And Mr. Fink and I talked about it and said, you know, it’s worth a look at, because we did sort of the same thing last year. We ran him in the Shadwell; then we ran him in the Fayette. He won that and then he won the Clark. So I don’t think we’re doing the wrong thing in running him too often, because he has been very (audio interference). All horses take the winter off, as you know.
Eric Wing: Charlie, his Fayette last year was just awesome, but one could say that his Fourstardave and his Woodbine Mile were awesome in their own rights. Is it safe to say that Wise Dan’s never been better?
Charles Lopresti: Well, I think he’s really good. I worked him the other day, and he worked with the authority that he worked when he had that workout at Saratoga after the Fourstardave. He’s such an incredible workhorse that that’s one of the reasons I made my decision. I thought, you know, if I don’t run—I’m going to have to breeze this horse probably Saturday or next Tuesday or somewhere along in there, and then I’m going to have to work him two, maybe more times for the Breeders’ Cup. And I thought, you know what, all I really have to do is lead him across the street and run him. And maybe I’m doing the wrong thing, but it’s kind of hard to look into the crystal ball. But the horse is—he’s never been better, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.
Jennie Rees: Yes, Charlie, you did leave it open a crack that you might not run. What would be the factors going into that?
Charles Lopresti: Oh, I think the factor would be if over the next couple of days he shows me any indication that he’s not ready to run. I mean if he would get a temperature. We’ve run blood work on him. His blood work is perfect. But if there was any even question, any hiccup in the road over the next couple of days, then I wouldn’t run him, Jennie. If he stays like he was this morning when I left the barn, I mean it’s all systems go, but if he shows me any indication otherwise, he would not.
Jennie Rees: So basically it’s the trainer’s standard caveat, as long as my horse is doing well he’s going to run?
Charles Lopresti: Yes (cross talking). I think he’s, you know, he’s just—the way he trains and the way he works, I mean his workouts have been incredible, and, you know, when horses work like that, I don’t think you want to work them too many times. And all I, you know, so I thought if I ran him in the Shadwell, then we probably wouldn’t work him one more time before the Breeders’ Cup. So to answer your question, I wouldn’t have to do as much to keep him, you know, to keep him to the Breeders’ Cup.
Jennie Rees: Yes, speaking of, are you set on the mile on turf, or is the Classic possible, or…?
Charles Lopresti: Well, we’re really not going to know. You know, after the Woodbine Mile we had a pretty good indication we’re going to go in the mile on the turf, and I’m still thinking that way in the Breeders’ Cup. But let’s see what happens if we run him Saturday, you know, and then I’ll have a better idea what I want to do with him. I mean, you know, this—and that’s the thing that worries me; I mean this race could knock him out. And if it does, well, then we’ll have to readjust. But to answer your question, I think we’re still leaning towards the mile on turf.
Jennie Rees: And just a final question. He’s so versatile, you could be confident to run him on any surface. Does that make these decisions easier or in some regards maybe even harder, because you want to be so sure you pick the right spot?
Charles Lopresti: Well, you’re never sure about the right spot, but it is easy with a horse like this. And now the way he won at Saratoga when it rained that day and the turf was so soft, that’s a question that I had in my mind. Every time I’ve run this horse I’ve had a question in my mind about a mile and an eighth, about soft turf, about dirt, synthetic, turf, and he’s handled everything. The only thing that I don’t know is the mile and a quarter, and the only way to really learn about the mile and a quarter is run him a mile and a quarter. So we’ll have to just see what happens after this week and it’ll tell us more.
John Pricci: Good afternoon, Charlie. I was wondering would you be cross-entering your colt on the—for the Breeders’ Cup?
Charles Lopresti: Well, again, we’ll see how this race goes this weekend. And then after this race, Mr. Fink and I will discuss what we want to do. I mean we would not rule out the Classic, but we’re still leaning towards the mile on turf. But as it gets closer, I could probably answer that question a little bit better, but that definitely is a possibility.
John Pricci: How heavily is the possibility of the Horse of the Year title enter into that decision? And if you do decide to go ahead and run him in the mile on Breeders’ Cup day, provided everything goes okay up until that point, would you then possibly consider coming back in the Clark?
Charles Lopresti: Well, the Clark is going to be out of the question because, I looked at it and the Clark is actually earlier this year than it was last year. I think it’s like the 23rd. So that would be really—I mean I think that’s out of the question trying to push him to run him into the Clark. The only way we ever would’ve considered the Clark is if he didn’t go to Breeders’ Cup. If he ran in the Shadwell, and, let’s say, you know, it knocked him out or one thing went wrong or another, then that would be our only option at the end of the year. But if we went to the Breeders’ Cup, we—and we ran the mile on the grass, I think that’s what you’re asking me, the Clark is definitely out of the question. Whatever he runs in the Breeders’ Cup, that would be the last race of the year.
John Pricci: All right. I wasn’t aware of that spacing this year; that spacing change, so that’s my bad. But just to get back to the Horse of the Year issue, how heavily does that weigh on yours and the owner’s mind?
Charles Lopresti: You know, he’s a gelding, so we’re really not too overly concerned about that. I mean it would be nice to get it, but more than anything, I am—I just want to get my horse to the races and do a good job with him. And he’s not a stallion, so it’s not like we’re worried about stallion value or anything like that. That’s not the important thing. The important thing is to pick the right races in the right spot for him.
John Pricci: Well, he’s done a great job, so have a safe trip on Saturday.
Danny Brewer: Doing fine. Hey, surface has never been an issue for Wise Dan, so when it comes to Breeders’ Cup time, will you go early just to see whether he likes the dirt or the turf better, or is that not any concern for you at all?
Charles Lopresti: No, I’m pretty sure that when we—if we go to California, we’ll have it in our mind where we’re going to run, and we’ll probably ship him there like we do anywhere else; like we did at Woodbine, maybe two to three days before whatever they ask us to be with him we’ll just run.
Danny Brewer: He’s always run real big at Keeneland. You looking for another—is that—are you expecting the same in the Shadwell this Saturday?
Charles Lopresti: I would think so. The way he’s training I would think that he would run that kind of race. I mean otherwise I wouldn’t put him in there.
Eric Wing: Charlie, with John Velazquez committed to ride in New York on Saturday, you’ll be giving a leg up to Jose Lezcano for the first time aboard Wise Dan. Is he at all a tricky horse to ride? Will you need to give Jose any special instructions?
Charles Lopresti: I don’t think so. He’s pretty straightforward now. But I’m going to let Johnny talk to him. You know, they’re going to talk about it. That’s was one of the things that I wanted to make sure that Johnny would talk to him and tell him everything that he knows about him. And I think Jose is a good rider, and he’s watched enough of his races and he can look at the tapes, and I mean I think he’s pretty straightforward.
Eric Wing: Very good. Well, Charlie, really appreciate you taking time out to chat with us. I know Dale Romans isn’t thrilled with the idea of you entering Wise Dan in the Shadwell Turf Mile, but I’m sure racing fans are very pleased that you did. Thanks again for joining us, and best of luck Saturday with Wise Dan.
Charles Lopresti: Thank you very much.
Eric Wing: Thank you. That’s Charles Lopresti. He will—tomorrow he’ll enter what would appear to be the horse to beat in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile; that being Wise Dan. Very nice pot at Keeneland for that race; $750,000. And that, of course, is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event; one of 12 coming up this weekend, so lots and lots of fees paid—berths to be bestowed this weekend by Breeders’ Cup Limited.
Our next guest rides an undefeated two years old, and she’ll also have some action going on Friday at Keeneland. We’re pleased now to be welcomed by jockey Rosie Napravnik. Rosie, it’s Eric Wing in New York. How are you today?
Rosie Napravnik: I’m good, Eric. How are you?
Eric Wing: Just fine, thank you, Rosie. And you mentioned to us before the Hopeful that Shanghai Bobby would probably improve as he got a little more professional. Did he put it all together in the Hopeful, or do you think we maybe still haven’t seen his very, very best?
Rosie Napravnik: You know what, I think he’s maturing all the time, but I do think that, you know, we haven’t seen nearly his best. That day, I mean he won that race very easily, and did it in a ratable fashion. You know, he rated, which he had showed in his first race that he could do that 4.5 furlongs, and doing that 7 furlongs was a bit different. But he’s a very versatile horse, and he’s been, you know, he’s been going excellent. I just breezed him the other morning, and he’s—I mean he’s still manageable in a breeze. I mean he just really is responsive; he’ll do whatever you ask him to do, so really looking forward to the stretch out, and this race coming up.
Eric Wing: Rosie, I’m sure we’ll get some more Shanghai Bobby questions for you later from the media, but I want to ask you about the two stakes runners you’ll be riding at Keeneland on Friday. Now, I’m not going to ask you about Hamiltonian who you ride in the Phoenix for Larry Jones, because you’ve never been on him before, but Magical Moon is a very intriguing entrant in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades. You rode her last time to a 10 and a quarter length victory, sprinting on the Saratoga turf. Now, unfortunately I suppose you drew post 13 out of 14 for the Alcibiades. First of all, can you just tell us about that maiden win, and if you think it’ll translate nicely to two turns or perhaps even a wide two turns?
Rosie Napravnik: Yes, you know, she was very impressive in her maiden win, and that was actually the first time I’d sat on her. I watched her breeze in the morning over the dirt surface actually at Saratoga, and she’s just got a stride that unbelievable. I mean she’s really a pretty big filly for a two year old and an exceptional mover, and when she got out on the turf I mean she just coasted over it, and I basically—I didn’t get a super sharp start out of the gate that day, but she came around wide and just was so much the best and did that so easily. She was very impressive.
So it’s going to be a test of distance, which I don’t think she should have any problem with, as her breeding show as well, and also the surface; the poly track as well. So, you know, we’ll have to see what kind of trip (ph) that we can work out from the outside, and, you know, that’s something that we don’t have any control over, but she’s—she should have some tactical speed especially coming off the 5.5 and we’ll see how she adapts to the poly track, because it seems like—I know Al was expecting a big performance out of her in her first race at Churchill on the dirt, and perhaps was a little disappointed. And the first time out, you know, you never really know what to expect, but I knew that she does travel well over the dirt. She absolutely is fantastic over the turf, and so we’re going to see how she does over the poly. But she’s a really great mover, and she was ultra-impressive that day, so looking forward to that and the stretch out there as too as well.
Danny Brewer: Listen, Shanghai Bobby, have you bonded with him? And is that important in his development, do you think?
Rosie Napravnik: Actually, he is a horse that I have sort of bonded with. I’ve been on him a bunch of times in the morning, and as well as all three of his races. And I was telling Patty, the girl who gallops him for Fletcher, that, you know, the last time I got off of him in the morning I said, you know, regardless of how good this horse is, he’s just one of those horses that is just so exciting to be around. I mean he’s got a great personality, and it’s been great to see how he’s maturing in every one of his races. So I think, you know, it’s something that it’s a little bit—it’s something actually that I enjoy because I really like working with horses and communicating and seeing them develop, and especially being part of that is really excellent for me. And, you know, he’s just—he’s just always going the right way, so I’m very excited about the way that he is maturing.
Danny Brewer: Now as far as—I know you can’t tell the future, but do you think he’s a horse that could be starting on the first Saturday in May next year?
Rosie Napravnik: Well, I think that’s probably the ultimate goal for all of his connections, although, you know, it’s very early to say that, and, you know, there’s a lot of things that can happen between now and then, but I’d say I’m hoping so.
Danny Brewer: Now as far as you’re concerned, (inaudible) at Churchill, you’re going to be there. Is that correct? And are you excited about that?
Rosie Napravnik: I’m going to finish with the Keeneland meet here, and I will be riding at Churchill on the first week of Churchill and then off to Breeders’ Cup. After that I’m actually—will be taking a honeymoon with my husband, which is pretty exciting. We’re coming up on our one year anniversary, so I figured it was about time, and I put my foot down. So I’ll miss out on probably the bulk of the Churchill meet, but you will see me there.
John White: Hi, Rosie. Congratulations for getting your first win in Santa Anita.
Rosie Napravnik: Hi, John. Thank you so much.
John White: Tell me what your impressions were of riding at Santa Anita?
Rosie Napravnik: It was great. California was—everybody was very nice out there, and the area is beautiful. And the racetrack, I really enjoyed riding at Santa—on the track there. It’s a very fast track, and I won my first race out there, whether it was a $20,000 claimer or not. So I had a great time, and the horses that I went out there to ride ran very well. I was happy to be out there to run on the track before the Breeders’ Cup.
John White: And, Rosie, would you give any thoughts of perhaps riding at Santa Anita somewhere down the line in the future?
Rosie Napravnik: Well, I guess I couldn’t really give any though to that now, because it’s not in the cards for me right now, but I did enjoy riding at the track.
John White: Well, we certainly would love to have you if you would ever come here. Congratulations, again, for your first win, and congratulations for coming up on the one year anniversary of your marriage.
Rosie Napravnik: Oh, thank you.
John White: Thanks a lot, Rosie.
Operator: Thank you. The next question comes from Carol Holden of Trackside Radio. Please go ahead.
Carol Holden: Hi, Rosie. Thanks a lot for joining us today. You’ve been very successful, and you always sound very upbeat, but I was wondering if there was just one thing about your job that you would like to change? If there is anything that just doesn’t quite sit the way you would like it with your job in racing?
Rosie Napravnik: That’s an interesting question. I guess if there is one downfall of being a jockey and working in this industry it would be the lifestyle of travelling all the time. I would much rather be in one place for a little bit longer of a period of time. But, you know, you’ve got to travel with the business and with the horses, and I’ve been fortunate enough to come across some very talented horses and very special horses in the last few years, so I’ve really enjoyed it.
Carol Holden: Thank you, and best of luck with Shanghai Bobby and all the other horses you ride. Appreciate it.
Ed McNamara: Rosie, you’ve had quite a big year this year; you won the Oaks, you won stakes at Saratoga. Would you say that this has been your best year in terms of taking an even bigger leap forward in your career?
Rosie Napravnik: I think there’s a lot of things that happened this year, you know, including the Oaks, the second time out to Fair Grounds, and winning a couple of graded stakes at Saratoga that have really been milestones in my career probably, and as well as I’ve already—I believe I’ve already surpassed my greatest year of earnings, and we’re only in October. So in a way it has been the best year of my career, especially, you know, with the historical win in the Oaks. But it’s also been a little bit up and down, and I’ve moved around a lot, so—and I’ve got a lot of things still to look forward to. So it’s been a great year, and I’m just hoping to finish it out as well as it started.
Ed McNamara: Would you consider coming back to New York, you know, doing basically the same schedule next year?
Rosie Napravnik: Absolutely. I mean it’s a little bit of a unique circuit, but I’ve—I am probably the only one on it; there down to New York and Saratoga. But, you know, it’ll all depend on, you know, what the situation is coming to the end of Fair Grounds, as it did last year; the horses that I’m riding and people that I’m riding for, and what the situation is in New York. So—but it’s definitely a possibility, and I’m hoping to come back to New York next year.
Eric Wing: Rosie, Shanghai Bobby certainly has speed, but he’s not speed crazy. Is he the kind of horse that going a one-turn mile you’ll sort of let him place himself in the early stages?
Rosie Napravnik: Yes, I would say, you know, depending on who else is in there and the speed, I mean he’s obviously very versatile, so, you know, if it ends up a situation where he might, you know—if he ends up on the lead early, I mean I don’t think there’s a probably with that. But he’s absolutely ratable, and as he proved in the Hopeful, you know, he can come from a bit off the pace. And he actually—you know—we hit the lead a little bit earlier than I even planned in that race, and I think it was probably just because he had outrun everybody at that point already early in the race. So I think he can probably do whatever. He can adjust to whatever position we want to be in, you know, obviously depending on the rest of the field.
Eric Wing: And, Rosie, belated congratulations for your win aboard Kauai Katie in the Matron on Sunday. It’s sort of a unique situation in which the connections already have a horse they’re reportedly targeting for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, but if anything at all were to go amiss with Dreaming of Julia, do you see Kauai Katie as a horse that either in November or down the line would indeed be successful around two turns?
Rosie Napravnik: You know, it’s—Kauai Katie is—it’s kind of a funny situation because there’s never been anything to tell us that she wouldn’t stretch. out I know that, you know, Todd was considering either Breeders’ Cup race for the filly; the sprint or the—or going long, and it is, you know, a unique situation considering that they already have a Stonestreet horse in the longer division. And Katie is so good at what she’s doing at this time sprinting, so I mean I don’t know if they’ve made the decision yet. I don’t think that they’ve made the decision what race that they’re going to go with her next, but I would think that she could do whatever they ask of her. She did really—she really was very impressive the other day in the Matron.
Carol Holden: Hi, Rosie. Again, you were asked about coming back to New York maybe next year, and you sort of said depending on the circumstances in New York. I was wondering if you were talking about the possibility of the horses that you would have to ride, or perhaps the political circumstances and the changes in the process in New York?
Rosie Napravnik: No, I’m—I was referring to the circumstances of my business and the people that I’m riding for and the horses that I’d be riding, and what business I would think that I would have there if—you know—if I did go back.
Carol Holden: Okay. Have a great honeymoon, and good luck in New Orleans and also Churchill.
Eric Wing: Rosie, where are you going on your honeymoon?
Rosie Napravnik: South Africa. And the travel agent was surprised to hear that we wanted to go on a horseback safari.
Eric Wing: Well, I had a feeling it was going to be some place exotic and exciting, because it sounded like you had blocked out a nice chunk of time. And it sounds like it’ll be a terrific trip, and one worth waiting for. And in the meantime, we so appreciate you taking the time out to join us today, and wish you the best of luck Friday at Keeneland and Saturday at Belmont with all your horses.
Rosie Napravnik: All right. Thank you all very much.
Eric Wing: Thank you. That’s jockey Rosie Napravnik. As mentioned, she’s had a great 2012 as an encore to her outstanding 2011. And she’ll be aboard Hamiltonian in the Stoll Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, along with Magical Moon for Al Stall in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades on Friday. And then Saturday she climbs aboard Shanghai Bobby for a fourth straight time; looking to make it four wins from as many starts in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne Stakes.
And our final guest today is situated out on the West Coast with one very big-time sprinter. It’s trainer Bill Spawr, who will saddle the defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, Amazombie, in Saturday’s Grade 1 $250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Bill, it’s Eric Wing in New York. Thanks for being with us today.
Bill Spawr: Good morning, Eric.
Eric Wing: Bill, for those of us out east, we’ve been hearing a lot of talk that the track is playing a little bit different at Santa Anita over the early portions of the meet; maybe a little slower or somehow different. Do you agree? And if so, how did Amazombie seem to get over this perhaps new surface in his work last Saturday; 6 furlongs in one thirteen and three?
Bill Spawr: He got over it just fine. But it is true that it seems like as these frontrunners keep running on the track that it is slower than last year than the winner (ph), but it seems like so far that the frontrunners have had more of an advantage.
Eric Wing: Now, when you talk about frontrunners, Amazombie is not—certainly not without speed, but would you expect to be stalking the filly, Reneesgotzip, or are you—would you prefer that somebody else does that dirty work?
Bill Spawr: Well, we’d prefer somebody else do the dirty work. It’s not really his style to do that. We tried it once against Shackleford, and it sure didn’t work out.
Eric Wing: That being at the—in the Churchill Downs Stakes on the Derby Undercard. Okay, well hopefully for your sake there will be other speed signed on to the race in addition to Reneesgotzip.
Danny Brewer: Repeating is tough in any sport. Does it give you a big advantage as far as the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the Ancient Title or Santa Anita Sprint or whatever they call it, does it give you a big advantage because it’s at Santa Anita this year both of those races?
Bill Spawr: I would think so. He’s run very well over this track here at Santa Anita being home, and I think it’s a definite advantage.
Danny Brewer: As far as his training is concerned, he’s been light—you know—a little lighter raced this year. Has that been a big advantage do you think also?
Bill Spawr: It sure has been, Danny. We feel that he’s a stronger horse. He’s probably carrying more muscle and weight this year than last year, and we purposely did that—spaced him a little more so he had more power at the end of the meeting—at the end of the year for the Breeders’ Cup.
Danny Brewer: Now, we talked about this once before as far as he’s been solid I think 17 straight times in the money in sprint races. Will repeating in both of these races kind of vindicate him as the champion that he truly is?
Bill Spawr: I would think it would.
Eric Wing: Bill, we were chatting with trainer Bill Kaplan a couple of weeks ago regarding Musical Romance, and how he kind of guided her through a quieter schedule this year. He said last year we were just so intent and gung-ho on trying to prove that she belonged, whereas this year now that she—after having won a Breeders’ Cup Sprint race he felt he could play his cards a little more close to the vest and be a little more judicious in picking out spots. Is that kind of the way the year has played out for you with Amazombie? Has the year had a different feel to it?
Bill Spawr: Yes, it has. I agree with Bill that—it’s the same with us. We feel that spacing—I mean we passed a couple so we’d have a dead aim on the Breeders’ Cup being at home.
Eric Wing: All right, well, Bill, it’s never easy to get a horse—keep a horse at the top of his game for two years, and perhaps doubly difficult with sprinters. Congratulations on the great job you’ve already done with Amazombie in 2012, and we wish you continued success on Saturday and thereafter with your champion sprinter.
Bill Spawr: Thank you for having me on.
Eric Wing: Thank you, Bill. That’s trainer Bill Spawr. He conditions the defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, Amazombie. And that horse is also the defending—I guess you would say the defending Santa Anita Sprint Championship winner, even though the race was the Ancient Title last year. But same race, and Bill is hoping it’s got the same winner this year, albeit with a different race name.
Okay, well that’ll bring an end to today’s call. I’d like to thank all four of our excellent guests: Dale Romans, Charles Lopresti, Rosie Napravnik, and Bill Spawr. Also want to thank our announcer, Michelle, along with Pam working behind the scenes there to make everybody sound good. And also, of course, our producer here in New York, Joan Lawrence.
Our next NTRA Communications national media teleconference will be the Breeders’ Cup Pre-Entry call Wednesday, October 24th—Wednesday, October 24th at 1 p.m.