Eric Wing: Welcome to today’s NTRA Communications national media teleconference. This weekend the “Summer at Saratoga” series rolls on on NBC. The NBC show will be two hours in duration starting at 4 p.m. Eastern, and it’ll feature the live runnings of the Travers Stakes, the Foxwoods King’s Bishop, the Test Stakes. Those first three are all Grade1 events, and also the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap; again 4 to 6 p.m. on NBC. And HRRN, the Horse Racing Radio Network, will also have radio coverage of all four of those big Saratoga Stakes in case you can’t make it out to the track or to a T.V. set. Their show also on from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern. You can listen to it on any of the HRRN affiliates or by tuning in to Sirius XM channel 92.
A good call on tap for today. A little later we’ll check in with a pair of women who have prominent roles in the weekend stakes action. We’ll talk to Terri Pompay, the trainer of Currency Swap, who will look to make it a perfect four for four at Saratoga when Currency Swap takes on Triniberg and the others in the Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes Grade 1 $500,000 race at 7 furlongs; part of the big Travers Day undercard. And we’ll also check in with Chantal Sutherland. She, of course, the regular rider of Game On Dude; on paper at least the horse to beat in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on Sunday at Del Mar.
First, though, we’re delighted to welcome in trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Kieran is coming off what was obviously a very thrilling Alabama Stakes on Saturday, and he’s got Alpha lined up for the Travers Stakes on Saturday. Kieran, it’s Eric Wing. How are you today?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Great, Eric. Thanks for having me.
Eric Wing: Thanks for being here, and belated congratulations on the Alabama. As we look forward to the Travers, Alpha to some degree showed a new dimension in the Jim Dandy going wire to wire. Of course with Hansen in the field, the Travers could conceivably have a somewhat destructive early pace. Will you be happy just to see Alpha taken well back of Hansen and whoever else might want to go up there with him?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Well, we’ll leave that up to Ramon. We’ll see how we draw. And, you know, we could be forwardly placed, you know, probably third or fourth, and I can see us first or second also if we draw inside. So we’ll see how the draw goes, but he’s doing well.
Eric Wing: And that draw of course tomorrow, so we’ll all be the wiser after that takes place. Kieran, Alpha by no means your only Grade 1 action of the weekend. You’ve got It’s Tricky lined up. Now, she’s already been entered for Friday’s Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes at 7 furlongs, but I know you might be just as likely to run her Sunday in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign. And I know there are no easy spots either way; you’d be facing Turbulent Descent on Friday in the Ballerina, obviously Royal Delta awaits the Personal Ensign, and anyone who chooses to run in that race. I suppose your decision is made slightly more interesting by the fact that, you know, with Questing you now have another top two-turn distaff runner. What are the pros and cons of the two spots as you see them?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Well, we—she’s undefeated at one turn, and she did win seven-eighths this year. Her best race of her life might’ve been the Acorn last year, a mile, where Turbulent Descent was second to us. She’s training great and she’s doing very well. The mile and an eighth is not a problem. Royal Delta’s a very nice filly; obviously it’s the one to beat, so it looks like we have one to beat in either spot. And you’re correct in thinking about Questing later being, you know, a Breeders’ Cup distaff filly, so we do have that, and It’s Tricky could go back to 7 furlongs Breeders’ Cup. So there’s a few things to look at and talk about, but it’s a jump—it’s a real close call.
Eric Wing: Yes, all things considered I guess these are good problems to have, Kieran. I’ll ask you another question or two later, but I want to throw things back over to Sarah right now so she can check in with the media to see what questions they have for you.
Kiaran McLaughlin: Okay.
Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question, please press star, one on your touch-tone phone. To withdraw your question, please press the pound sign, and if you’re using a speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering your request. Please stand by for the first question.
Danny Brewer: Can you talk for a moment about the It’s Tricky/Royal Delta rivalry and how that’s special for the sport?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Well, I think that they’ve beat each other earlier in their careers at different times, and it’s a pretty special rivalry to have them both doing well and continuing to race on as four year olds, and—because often it seems like they are retired early, so it’s nice to see them both running and doing well. It’s Tricky has really come on a lot this year as far as her mind. I think she’s matured a lot and filled out; much stronger and looks great. We were hoping to get a few more pounds from Royal Delta, but one pound is all we’ve got. But it’s a great rivalry.
Danny Brewer: Yes, It’s Tricky, she has always been known for her spirit, if you will. Is she still pretty precocious and a little spirited?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Yes, she is; where she always has an escort. The pony goes with her every day. And luckily up here at Saratoga we’re able to train at Greentree, a private training center of Sheikh Mohammed’s. And she trains by herself every day, so we don’t have to worry about her doing too much wrong or having any—too much, you know, action on the racetrack and other horses. So she trains by herself and she’s doing fabulous.
Danny Brewer: Do you think that her spirit is one of the things that makes her so good, if you will?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Yes. I would say, yes, that is correct.
Bill Finley: Hey, Kiaran. As well as Alpha is doing, I think a lot of people might think that the best three year old in your barn is not a male, but Questing. And I know trainers don’t like to compare horses, but it is for the same ownership group, and how does Questing stack up to Alpha, and is there any thought in your mind that someday you would try her against males?
Kiaran McLaughlin: It’s hard to say how they stack up. Questing has just been a freakiest on the dirt. All three races this year she didn’t give us an indication that she was going to be able to run like this on the dirt. We’re just lucky that we put her over on the dirt, and she showed it and it was just an awesome performance. Alpha, I don’t think he has that in him, but maybe he does. But Alpha’s just training great; doing well. He’s put on a lot of weight since the Kentucky Derby and is doing great, but I think Questing is probably better than him. And hopefully we don’t have to run her against colts. There’s plenty of opportunities against fillies.
Bill Finley: And, Kiaran, completely in hindsight, because you—even as well as she’s done, you probably couldn’t have expected just that memorable explosive performance the other day in the Alabama. But would you have liked to have taken a crack at her in the Travers?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Well, being that Alpha’s one of the favorites, it’s, you know, a colt’s race, it’s—I would’ve thought that she would be tough to beat after the fact, we wouldn’t have expected that until if the Travers was a month from the Alabama we would’ve had to talk about it, but still, you know, there’s plenty of opportunities for fillies to run against fillies.
Jennie Rees: Yes, Kiaran, did the Kentucky Derby performance in any way, you know, leave you puzzled about what kind of horse you had with Alpha, or did you think, well, that race was just completely a throw-out; you know, we know he’s a lot better than this, or did you have some questions in your mind going into the Jim Dandy?
Kiaran McLaughlin: We didn’t have that many questions going into the Jim Dandy. We were very disappointed in—at Churchill, but we had so many reasons for his poor performance. It was hot it was and miserable it was, and he just—he lost it in the paddock. He was very upset, and washy, and dripping wet, and stepped on himself and lost a shoe, and he doesn’t obviously like Churchill Downs. But, you know, even if he would’ve run in the Belmont, I don’t know that he would’ve won the Belmont, because it was the next two months that he’s really been doing great since June 1st when he came up to Green Trees, just really been—excelled and doing fabulous. So the Churchill thing was disappointing, draw a line through it, but he could not be doing any better today.
Jennie Rees: Yes, I mean obviously : 49 and 1.14, you know, you think a horse like him he’s got a good chance to be in front with that, but did you think going into that race that he was a horse that would be, you know, happy and comfortable being on the front end?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Yes. Both Ramon and I thought if he breaks well from the inside the race with lightening pace, and being it’s a mile and an eighth racetrack, if you draw a seven, eight, and nine you can get hung out pretty good. So we wanted to go. We thought it was to our advantage to go and see how, you know, everybody else went into the first turn, and it worked out great. This will be a totally different race with 10 to 12 horses and where we’ll draw, so we might be laying fifth to eighth, and we might be lying first or second.
Jennie Rees: Could you just kind of comment on Dominguez and what is it about him that in these races he’s able to go three quarters in 1.14 and 1.15?
Kiaran McLaughlin: He’s a great rider. He’s got great hands, and he’s a very smart rider. Obviously he’s a leading rider riding with a lot of confidence, and he fits Alpha very well. We’re so happy to have him, because he gets along with him very, very well, and so we’ll leave a lot up to him after the gates open.
Jennie Rees: And the final question, I’m trying to think more quick on the probables for the Travers and you’ll know them better than me, but is he the only horse that ran in the Derby that’s going to be in the Travers?
Kiaran McLaughlin: He might very well be. That’s a good question. I’d have to look that up, but I would say, yes, off the top of my head.
Jennie Rees: And does that say anything?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Other than I’m a real good trainer? No, I don’t know what it says, no.
Donna Brothers: Well, I don’t really have a question, because I’ve been bugging Kiaran all week long, but, Jennie, I’ve got the PPs in front of me, and the—and I know Jennie can’t talk to me right now, but the probable PPs right now say that Liaison and Hansen both ran in the Derby and will be headed to the—or at least are probables right now for the Travers Stakes.
Kiaran McLaughlin: Donna, yes.
Geffrey Reems: I’m wondering if you could tell me, you’ve got Questing, Alpha, and It’s Tricky. Can you see them, given their ownership, as sort of Dubai World Cup horses at all?
Kiaran McLaughlin: That’s a good question. It’s Tricky doubtful being that’s she’s a mare, and, you know, might be retired at the end of this year, but it’s not up to me. Questing possibly, and Alpha possibly yes. It’s—you know—totally up to Simon Crisford and Sheikh Mohammed. I’m happy to bring them over there or give them to them to train up to the world cups. They’re possible, although it seems like they’re better on the dirt.
Jeffrey Reems: And also, what is it—for you to have Alpha and Questing place (inaudible), I mean what does that mean for you as a trainer?
Kiaran McLaughlin: It’s fabulous. It’s just a great feeling, because, you know, they’re both homebreds, and by Hard Spun and Bernadini. It’s a great team that we all work together at Godolphin and Darley, so it helps their stallions, and it helps, you know, their stables also, and it helps all of us that work underneath Darley and Godolphin.
Jeffrey Reems: And lastly, I mean obviously Royal Delta ran in Dubai, I mean what will—what do you—you touched on the rivalry earlier, what do you have to do to beat her do you think?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Well, we—hopefully we have the jump on her at the half mile full if we move ahead of her hopefully we can stay in front of her. But she’s a very good filly and tough on the day, but maybe giving us a pound and see how the race unfolds, and we’re just doing very well. We’re undefeated this year, and she’s just doing great; It’s Tricky. So we have a lot of respect for Bill Mott and the filly, and Sheikh Mohammed actually owns her little sister, a two year old filly. So, you know, it’s a good situation.
Jeffrey Reems: What’s the name of that two year old filly that you referred to, sorry?
Kiaran McLaughlin: She hasn’t run this year and she won’t run. She went home and we only had her for a little while, so I’m not coming with her name real quick.
Jeffrey Reems: Okay. Thank you very much.
Kiaran McLaughlin: Okay, I will in a couple of minutes though. It’s Carnival Court.
Operator: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’d like to ask a question, please press star, one on your touch-tone phone. There are no more questions at this time. Please continue.
Eric Wing: Okay, Kiaran, and thanks for coming up with Carnival Court there. Of all the many Grade 1s you’ve won, the Travers has eluded you to date. What would it mean to you personally to add the Travers to your lengthy list of training accomplishments?
Kiaran McLaughlin: It would be great, you know, and it would be fabulous to win. I’ve been in New York a lot of years, and I feel like I’m born and raised in Kentucky but I’m a New Yorker now, and it would be fabulous because it’s the biggest race up here, and to see that canoe painted in Godolphin colors would be fabulous.
Eric Wing: And lastly, Kiaran, you know, as I just touched upon, you’ve experienced some of the highest highs there are to experience; the Breeders’ Cup Classic win, a Belmont Stakes win. But stripping that aside, whether it’s in a Grade 1 like the Alabama or in a one other than, what’s it like to see a horse that you train who might be a tad under the radar explode like Questing did on Saturday and kind of indicate that, you know, she might be a little more than had previously met the eye?
Kiaran McLaughlin: Yes, exactly. I mean that’s—it was just a wild experience. She just was a freakish race. And we thought she would run very well, but to run like that was just—it was unexpected by all around her, and to see her win like that was really—you had to almost pinch yourself and say is it really happening? So we just feel blessed to have such nice horses to work with, and, you know, all of them the pedigrees are great with an opportune family, and we’re—we feel honored and privileged to have those horses looking over the webbing (ph).
Eric Wing: All right, well, Kiaran, as always we appreciate your participation on these calls. Also appreciate your good humor, and we wish you the best of luck on Saturday with Alpha in the Travers, and on Friday or Sunday as the case may be with It’s Tricky. Thanks again.
Kiaran McLaughlin: Thank you, Eric. Thanks.
Eric Wing: That’s Kiaran McLaughlin. He’s got Alpha lined up for the million dollar Travers. Again, that race will be on NBC 4 to 6 p.m. He’s also got It’s Tricky, who was already entered in the Ballerina Stakes, but might well opt instead for the Grade 1 $600,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Sunday; that race at a mile and an eighth. And I should’ve mentioned earlier the Personal Ensign is a “Win and You’re In” event leading to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. I also want to correct one misstatement I made at the top of the call. The four races on NBC and on the Horse Racing Radio Network coverage are the Travers, the Foxwoods King’s Bishop, the Test Stakes, and not the Bernard Baruch Handicap; I was a week ahead of myself there, but rather the Ballston Spa Handicap, a Grade 2 for fillies and mares on the grass. So Ballston Spa and not the Bernard Baruch, and thank you, Mike Hayne (ph) for noticing that slip of the tongue on my part. Okay, time to check in with our next guest. She is a Saratoga Springs native, and she trains a horse that runs as if he’s a Saratoga Springs native, because he’s a perfect three for three over the Spa main track. His—arguably his biggest win, at least grade-wise, was certainly the Hopeful Stakes last year. The last time out he captured the Amsterdam Stakes, and this Saturday Currency Swap will look to make it four for four at the Spa when he sees action in the Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes. We’re delighted now to welcome in Currency Swaps’ trainer Terri Pompay. Terri, it’s Eric Wing in New York. How are you today?
Terri Pompay: I’m doing great; doing fine.
Eric Wing: Terri, two races back—and we were talking with Kiaran McLaughlin earlier and he mentioned a little rivalry of sorts that’s kind of been brewing between It’s Tricky and Royal Delta. I suppose you could say there’s a mini rivalry of sorts brewing between Currency Swap and Triniberg. You’ve split a pair of decisions so far. Saturday will be the rubber match. You—Currency Swap took it to Triniberg in the Woody Stephens two races ago. Are you kind of hoping that somebody else does that dirty work with Triniberg this time?
Terri Pompay: Yes. That’s wasn’t our plan in that race, in the Woody Stevens. We were hoping someone would go and nobody did so we had to. And it’s really—I think my horse just wants to get a little breather. He likes to break shot and just have a little breather and then go, and he had to kind of go balls to the walls the whole way in that race, and, you know, he didn’t catch him. So I’m kind of hoping, there is some other speed that—if they all enter, the ones I’ve heard are going to enter, and I’m hoping someone else goes out and softens Triniberg up a little bit, and we can be ready to pounce from there.
Eric Wing: Terri, what is it about Saratoga that seems to bring out the best in certain horses like Currency Swap, and also so many others?
Terri Pompay: I was just thinking he’s going to make me look good in my hometown. But I don’t know,—he’s been doing better every race, so I think part of it is he’s just getting bigger and stronger, wider, he’s got a great head on his shoulders, he’s got a lot of confidence, so part of it is that. But I will say that when he goes up there, he knows he’s a handful and he walks around there like he owns the place. He loves the track surface there also. I don’t know why, he just does. We shipped him on Sunday, and I’m not there yet, my assistant went with them, and took him out for a jog yesterday and he said he just loves it there. He’s shaking his head; he’s happy. So I don’t know, it’s—I don’t know what it is, but he does love it there.
Eric Wing: All right. Well, Terri, I’ll ask you some more later, but, again, I’ll throw it back to our announcer, Sarah, and she’ll check in with the writers and broadcasters to see if they have any questions for you.
Tom Keyser: Yes, Terri, could you please sort of talk a little bit about your Saratoga background and how that led into racing?
Terri Pompay: Well, I was born there. My family still lives there; most of them. I just grew up—I was addicted to horses from the time I saw my first horse at three, and I road show horses, hunters, and jumpers, I took lessons. I worked every day after school at the barn going to horse shows on the weekend, and then I started galloping to try to offset some of the expenses with the show horses, and fell in love with the sport of racing. I always loved racing and I started galloping, and I was as a freelance rider basically after the first couple years. And you know, I went to college, I went to Russell Sage, which is in Troy and basically just stayed close to the horses. And then it just progressed. I went on the road. After I got out of college I realized that I definitely was addicted and there was just no way I was going to be a business management, economics person like I thought, and went on the road with the horses and worked my way up to—I was an assistant trainer for years, and then left that and got an opportunity to start training. And it’s just in my blood. I don’t know, I guess being from Saratoga and also loving all kinds of animals, but the horse was always number one.
Tom Keyser: Now, did you gallop horses at Saratoga?
Terri Pompay: Yes, I did. Actually, my first job was with the Phipps family for Jonathan Russell. I was 16 or 17. I started galloping just in August. The next year I went with Fred Hooper, and I actually galloped Copeland. And then they opened up the Oklahoma track from April to November so I started basically just freelancing a lot of New York breds. A lot of people had stayed up there at that time, you know, during that period, and I used to get on 12, 15 horses a day; as many as I could fit in. I was the first one there and the first one—the last one to leave as far as exercise riders. And I actually rode a couple races after I got out of college, but realized that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t have the backing, and it’s a tough life. And I didn’t really want to run at the real cheap tracks, I didn’t want to ride horses there, and so I just kept on the training end of it.
Tom Keyser: Did you ride at Saratoga?
Terri Pompay: Yes, I did. We don’t talk about it too much, though.
Tom Keyser: Oh, okay. And did you—do you happen to know how many races you’ve won at Saratoga?
Terri Pompay: No, I don’t. I’m sorry.
Tom Keyser: Okay. All right. And how…?
Terri Pompay: If you can tell me that sometime, it would be interesting to know.
Tom Keyser: All right. And of all the places to win, is it most special to win at Saratoga for you?
Terri Pompay: Oh, absolutely. It’s—it always—I mean this year obviously I’ve won a lot more horses than I normally do. I usually pick a few out and go up. I have a lot better stock thanks to Seth Klaravich and Bill Lawrence, and I’ve been able to come up a few times with some nice horses; a couple two year old fillies I won with. So, yes, it’s great because, you know, you have a lot of people behind you rooting for you, and my family and my distant relatives all show up. It’s very exciting. And its fun to come out and kind of show that you’ve been halfway successful, you know, in what you’ve chosen to do.
Tom Keyser: And just a couple of other quick things. I don’t mean to dominate this thing, but is Currency Swap the best horse you’ve trained?
Terri Pompay: Oh, no question about it. I mean I’ve had other horses I’ve really like that have been so good to me like Mannington (ph) was a hard knocker, but as far as quality, you know, just the class of horse that he is and —how fast he is and the races he’s won, he’s definitely the best horse I’ve had.
Tom Keyser: And how many horses are you training now?
Terri Pompay: I have about 38 at Monmouth Park.
Tom Keyser: Okay. And your schedule is Monmouth and where do you go from there?
Terri Pompay: Gulfstream
Tom Keyser: Okay. And last thing, when are you coming to Saratoga and where will you be? Where will you stable?
Terri Pompay: I actually have four stalls in the stakes barn across from the paddock. I’ve had them the whole meet and I’ve been just pretty much just swapping horses in and out. And I’m coming tomorrow morning and I’m going to train here, because I sent my assistant up with Currency Swap and another colt I’m running that day. Someone had to stay here at least until Wednesday, and then I’m going to go up.
Tom Keyser: Okay. And as far as Currency Swap, what happened in the Illinois Derby?
Terri Pompay: Oh, it was just a disaster. He was training very well up to it, but in the race around the first turn, (inaudible) and the (inaudible) horse was on the fence with the bug rider. He kind of bounced off the fence and he hit us, and it made us go like five wide, and then Currency just got a little bit ranked (inaudible), and Sean was trying to keep him out of trouble and he was wide up on the back end of the horses, and he finally got him out. So he made like this big middle move and then he came up empty. And in his defense, it was his first time going two turns; it was just too much happened to him in the race. He just used himself up in the beginning and maybe he just wasn’t quite as tight as he should’ve been either. He’s like an average size horse, but he’s very wide and very muscular, and it just took a little bit to get him really, into top racing fitness this year.
Carol Holden: Hi, Terri. Thanks for joining us today. You gave a good explanation of all of the background you’ve had, and all the work over the many years and that, but actually even though you’ve certainly had success to get to this point, it was really Currency Swap’s big win last year at Saratoga that in a way put you on the national map and gave you even more recognition. I wonder if you could address that as far as all those years of hard work, and I know you’re still working hard, but then suddenly to be basically at a different level and a different circumstance than what you had worked your way through.
Terri Pompay: It was amazing. It actually took me probably a week to realize the full magnitude of winning a great long, especially, you know, the Saratoga and the Hopeful. I worked years and years, and I almost felt like after I won it, well, now I’ve done everything, I can retire. But then you know that doesn’t happen; you’re always looking for the next one. But it was just great I mean to know that I could do that and then hopefully go on and that—winning that race hopefully would bring me more horses; better horses. I don’t want to get huge, but I would like to keep on upgrading my stock would be what I would like, and winning the Hopeful has got people to notice. You know, people that matter in the horse racing game they know who I am now when before no one did. So it’s helped. I mean I haven’t seen a flood of horses coming my way yet, but I think it’s a pretty slow process. The Klaravich people they’ve been very good with me; they appreciate, the success I’ve had with the horses they’ve sent, and hopefully a few more people will see that also. As I said, I don’t want to get huge. I like to keep kind of a manageable number, just improve the quality all the time.
Carol Holden: How many horses do you have for Mr. Klaravich and Mr. Lawrence?
Terri Pompay: I think I have about 18 right now at latest count. We’ve tried a few (inaudible) at the Saratoga. They also like to drop some of them in for claimers and kind of move them along because they always have a nice new crop of babies coming in, so—and I think that at last count I had about 18 for them.
Eric Wing: Terri, for the benefit of Tom Keyser I feel duty bound to report the following statistics, which you may not like that much about your riding career at Saratoga.
Terri Pompay: Oh!
Eric Wing: According to Equine Line, you rode three races at Saratoga and were 0/3, so you’ve been to the winner’s circle much more often as a trainer than as a jockey. One for nine overall riding in 1983 with the one win coming from Five Mounts at Finger Lakes, and 0/1 at Belmont if the numbers are correct. And, again, that’s…
Terri Pompay: That sounds about right.
Eric Wing: Okay. All right, so you’re not going to—you’re not appealing this finding then?
Terri Pompay: No, no. I knew—I mean I was good—I just wasn’t a good jockey. I didn’t have anyone to really show me the ropes. I was a better exercise rider, and, you know, I knew that. I knew there was no future in that.
Eric Wing: Terri, you said before that racing and horses were in your blood. Was it really in your blood? Did you have family members who were into it, or did you just kind of pick it up as a horse-crazy little girl?
Terri Pompay: Well, my grandfather on both sides, but particularly on my dad’s side was a—he lived for Saratoga races. He’d save his pennies all year to go to the races every day during the meet was on. We always loved the horses. No, they weren’t hands on people, but they always loved the racing season and the horses; real Saratogans. Then actually my grandfather sat me on a horse when I was three years old in the—we live on Geyser Road in Saratoga and there was a horse walking to the vet and I sat on it, and I had that picture and I remember that, and that’s what started the whole thing for me.
Eric Wing: Well, it’s led to some exciting places, Terri, and the next exciting place certainly will be the paddock before the Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes on Saturday. We wish you and Currency Swap the best of luck and we appreciate very much you coming on with us today.
Terri Pompay: Okay, thank you.
Eric Wing: Thank you. That’s Terri Pompay. She trains the Grade 1 winning Currency Swap; 3/3 lifetime at Saratoga; Terri hoping that can stretch out to 4/4 when Currency Swap takes on his three year old contemporaries in that half million dollar Grade 1 race at Saratoga. Okay, time for our third and final guest today, and we have with us now the regular rider of another Grade 1 winner, a multiple Grade 1 winner: Game on Dude. And Game on Dude will be seeing action in Sunday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic. That event a “Win and You’re II” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Happy to be joined now by Chantal Sutherland. Chantal, it’s Eric Wing in New York. How are you today?
Chantal Sutherland: Good. How are you?
Eric Wing: I’m fine, thank you. And, Chantal, there can be no doubt that Game on Dude is talented and the two of you make a great team. One of the very rare blemishes, if you want to call it that, on his record was last year’s Pacific Classic. Now we know Game on Dude can handle Hollywood, though they say that track plays more like dirt. The Del Mar race last year and maybe more dramatically the Meydan Race in Dubai, not two of his better efforts. How has he been training and are you confident he can fire his A race at Del Mar this year?
Chantal Sutherland: Yes, you know, sorry I’m working out at the gym the same time we’re doing this interview because there’s a lot of interviews this week. But he’s doing really good, and (inaudible) you know, he’s handling the track well. I watched him train a lot (inaudible); so pretty impressive. My only concern is the racetrack; will he handle this racetrack, you know, as far as if the track is playing so weird lately that, you know, it’s favoring closers. And I just want to make sure, you know, that he gets a fair shot at it; the track’s not, you know, really deep or really too tiring. I want it to be fair for both closers and for frontrunners.
Eric Wing: And does that track change a lot as, you know, from week to week or day to days, Chantal, or has it been pretty consistent?
Chantal Sutherland: No, it changes a lot, and what’s weird about it is you don’t want to handicap yourself, but try to get a grip or handle on how the track is going to be playing by just watching the races. But it’s hard. It changes from the early couple races and then later in the day it seems to be, you know, more off the pace or tiring. So it makes it difficult for a jockey to, you know, decide how you’re supposed to ride your race. But, you know, having said that, Game on Dude is—he’s got his style.
Danny Brewer: Eric’s brought up an interesting point. Depending on how the earlier races play, will you try to change anything Game on Dude does, or is he just needs to be him?
Chantal Sutherland: You know what, I won’t change my style or how I’m going to ride him, but it’s going to make me more concerned about who’s closing. And I know, it’s no lie that Richard’s Kid made a big move on me in that last race, so I’ve got to make sure I’ve got fuel in the tank to fight him off if he comes at me. So I’ve just got to be aware of everything, still ride my race, still do what I do on Game on Dude, but I’ve just got to be really focused.
Danny Brewer: Acclimation not being there, does that help as far as maybe the pace not being quite as high and then being pushed as strong early in the race?
Chantal Sutherland: I hate any horse to get hurt or sore, but I mean believe me, I’d rather not have Acclimation there to, you know, have that kind of an effect there.
Danny Brewer: Now, hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, do you wish that Game on Dude would’ve ran in the Santa Anita Handicap?
Chantal Sutherland: Yes, that’s a great question. Yes, I guess looking back, but it was a really good experience in Dubai, and—yes, I think that would’ve—now looking back that would’ve been maybe a good decision. But hindsight’s 20/20, right?
Danny Brewer: Exactly. And, you know, it’s just that if he had ran and won that then he could be going for the California Triple Crown, and there’s only been one horse, and that’s Lava Man, that’s done it in the same year, so he would have that opportunity. And right now he’s really arguably California’s best, do you think?
Chantal Sutherland: Well, I think so.
Eric Wing: Chantal, I feel compelled to ask you, what was it like being on—on with Conan a week or two ago.
Chantal Sutherland: You know what, it was a great experience. He’s really nice, and (inaudible) he’s actually a very, very nice man.
Eric Wing: And very tall I understand?
Chantal Sutherland: Yes, he is very tall. And to be honest, I had on high heels—pretty high heels on, and him and his partner I still looked pretty small next to them.
Eric Wing: Well, you’ll have to get higher heels the next time perhaps.
Chantal Sutherland: I guess so, yes.
Eric Wing: Chantal, are you on a treadmill by any chance?
Chantal Sutherland: I’m actually doing squats at the gym on a Bosu Ball with my trainer.
Eric Wing: Well, I’m very impressed. You’re obviously—I mean we know all jockeys are, but you’re clearly in tip top condition to be able to workout and conduct a conversation at the same time. Most of us are huffing and puffing, and can’t get a word out on the rare opportunities when people like me workout. But, Chantal, can’t thank you enough for coming on. Obviously you have a very busy schedule, and we’ll all be watching on Sunday when you climb aboard Game on Dude, and we wish you the best of luck.
Chantal Sutherland: Thank you so much.
Eric Wing: Thank you. That’s Chantal Sutherland. She’ll be the woman of the hour when the field takes the track for the million dollar TVG Pacific Classic. That race a mile and a quarter at Del Mar; part of a big card on tap for Sunday out there. And, again, that race is a “Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Okay, that’ll bring an end to today’s call. Want to thank all three of our guests: Kiaran McLaughlin, Terri Pompay, and Chantal Sutherland. So glad you could be with us today, and hope you can join us again next Tuesday. Thank you.