Eric Wing: Welcome to today’s NTRA National Media Teleconference.
We’re here, of course, to focus in on the 137th Preakness Stakes. Again, the NBC family of networks will have all the TV coverage. On Friday they’ll have the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at 4 pm Eastern on the NBC Sports Network. Then the NBC Sports Network will have Preakness Day Undercard Races from 2:30 to 4:30, and at 4:30 things switch over NBC for the main event, the Preakness Stakes. And of course, the Horse Racing Radio Network will have coverage of all the Friday and Saturday festivities and action from Pimlico.
A little bit later in the call we’re going to talk to the winning Kentucky Derby jockey Mario Gutierrez. We’ll also talk to trainer Graham Motion who will have the fourth place finisher in the Derby, the late rushing Went The Day Well back for another go in the Preakness Stakes. And we’ll also check in with Tom Mullikin who is the General Manager of Sagamore Farm. Sagamore Farm, owned by Kevin Plank, will be sending out Tiger Walk in the Preakness.
First up, though, we have the man of the hour, the winning trainer of Kentucky Derby 138, Doug O’Neill. Doug, it’s Eric Wing in New York, thanks very much for being with us, and how has it been these last few days for you?
Doug O’Neill: It’s been incredible, Eric, thank you so much. Good talking to you.
Eric Wing: Same here, and I guess first and foremost, Doug, tell us how the horse has settled in there in Baltimore, and tell us also why you went a little bit against the grain, at least by recent years’ standards, and decided to ship him to Pimlico so early?
Doug O’Neill: Sure, you have a horse – I’ll Have Another came out of the Derby in fantastic shape, and, you know, my lack of knowledge of the main track at Churchill and Pimlico, I wasn’t – it didn’t really – I couldn’t make a case for why it would be better to stay at Churchill than going to Pimlico, and the thinking was to get him to Baltimore as soon as we can, get him settled in, get him over the track, and you know, have him fit and ready to go for the 19th.
Eric Wing: Doug, I turned on my television set this morning and saw you introducing the top plays on Sports Center with Neil Everett – have you enjoyed all the outside hoopla that kind of goes along with winning the Kentucky Derby?
Doug O’Neill: It’s been awesome. It’s been absolutely awesome and I’ve gotten to meet so many people that you never would have thought loved horse racing. That’s – you know, we met, actually we got (inaudible) and Kobe Bryant from the Lakers, through a charity event – got them, as owners, and (inaudible) comment loved horse racing and – so it’s just very cool to be part of, you know, a good story line that I can sit here with people that are interested in the game, and, you know, expose how great this game is.
Jon White: Congratulations again, Doug.
Doug O’Neill: Thank you, Jon, great to hear from you.
Jon White: What – do you have – do you know yet whether I’ll Have Another will have a workout before the Preakness at Pimlico?
Doug O’Neill: As of right now, Jon, he will gallop – he galloped this morning and I loved the way he went, and he cooled out great, he will have that kind of gallop right up to the race if all goes well. That’s the plan as we speak.
Scott Hazelton: Hey, Doug. Just wanted to ask you about Mario – it seemed like Mario, Derby week just kind of flew in five minutes before the Kentucky Derby, wins the thing and then sweeps out. Are you at all worried about all the attention that he’s going to receive leading up to the second jewel in the Triple Crown?
Doug O’Neill: You know I’m not, really, Scotty, and I don’t know Mario that well, but I’ve gotten to know him better here in the last few weeks, obviously, and he’s just wired – he’s programmed in such a calm, confident way that, you know, I know he’s just kind of soaking it all up, both Mario and I, you know, have talked numerous times about how amazing this run is, and who knows if we’ll ever have a horse like this again, so just want to enjoy every minute of it. Actually, if we could slow down a little bit and it’s all kind of gone so quick, and – from my conversations with Mario, he’s enjoying every bit of it and I’m not concerned at all that overwhelm him or zap his energy or his abilities at all.
Scott Hazelton: You mentioned, too, just kind of just going with the flow and ending up at Pimlico right out of the Kentucky Derby, and it seems to be such a whirlwind, just a 13 day turnaround once you come to the track the next morning after the Kentucky Derby. What has been the biggest challenge or what do you think will be the biggest challenge from the first Saturday in May to two weeks later on Preakness Day?
Doug O’Neill: Well, you know, like every other sport, you just – you’ve just got to stay injury-free and healthy, and so far so good. He’s (audio interference) he hasn’t missed an oat in months. I mean, the horse’s appetite remains strong – knock on wood – he’s sound, he’s doing great, full of energy and – I guess that’s my biggest concern is just not having any hiccups, you just can’t afford to have any hiccups when you’re talking about a two-week turnaround. So, again, so far so good, and he looks great. If you talk to anybody who watched him on the track today, he looked fantastic out here.
Tim Wilkin: So Doug, is there any concern at all with the two-week turnaround? I mean most trainers don’t want to run a horse back that quick.
Doug O’Neill: No – I mean, there is, yes, but again you just can’t – in that short a period of time, you can’t have anything go wrong. So, you know, that’s a concern but we haven’t – knock on wood – we haven’t had any hiccups and you know I think that’s probably why no one’s won the Triple Crown since ’78, because it is so difficult to travel to three different states in that short period of time and not encounter one little cough, or one little hot foot, or one little pimple or something. So you’ve just got to be very lucky and very (audio interference) to get through, you know, each race in good shape, and so far so good here.
Tim Wilkin: And now why isn’t he in the Derby Winner’s stall?
Doug O’Neill: You know, I asked Pimlico if I could get – and I don’t know anything about the barns here, but it’s so funny, it’s literally one barn away, it’s really not that much different but I had – the way it had been described to me that it was going to be a huge hoopla of a barn, the stakes barn, but we’re one barn over and it’s very similar, so you know, I guess in hindsight we should have went over there. But I do like having my own quiet, serene spot, and so far so good that way. He’s settled in nice and the rest of the horses I brought are settled in nice. So just – we’re trying to keep a nice quiet environment.
John Grupp: The Triple Crown and the hiccups that can come with it – it’s been three years now since any horse even won two legs of it, and that’s – I think that’s the longest drought since maybe the mid ‘40s. What are the challenges that you see and what gives you confidence that I’ll Have Another can maybe break that string?
Doug O’Neill: Well you know, he’s three for three this year, so he’s just shown an amazing amount of will to win as we stretch him out through turns, and you know he’s just traveled brilliantly from California to Kentucky, and now Kentucky to Maryland, so, you know, I think he’s – I know he’s got stamina, and I know he’s got the heart, but it’s really a matter of having the luck of maintaining what we’ve got right now. So, you know, I think you’ve got a lot of the Derby horses are coming back in the Preakness and that’s always, you know, tough (inaudible) and then you’ve got a few top horses that have bypassed the Derby to come to the Preakness, so you’ve got some horses that are a little more fresh, who are talented as well. But it’s a tough spot, but (audio interference) doing and I think he’s – I don’t see any reason he can’t repeat his current form.
Frank Angst: A couple of the previous calls already touched on a few of my questions, so I’ll go with a different one here. I was curious; do you think the horse’s running style is something in his corner in terms of pace? It seems like his running style, he might be able adjust (audio interference) in that area?
Doug O’Neill: I think so, Frank, and that’s the beauty of I’ll Have Another, he’s got a tremendous first step out of the gate, you know, and he’s got speed after that if you want him to, so looks like there’s going to be speed signed on (ph) but if something happened and there wasn’t, he could be right up on the pace, and you know, if it’s a hot, heavy pace, he can be laying off it like he did in the Kentucky Derby. So I think he’s got a beautiful (audio interference), beautiful style, and he’s got that “it” factor of wanting to be the first one to the wire, and that’s – that you can’t train, they either have it or they don’t, and he’s got it.
Larry Stumes: (Inaudible) types of illnesses before the Derby and all I can remember is two six furlong workouts in Hollywood they were both designated breezes which in California is a very rare thing. Did that really indicate how great that horse was doing in his workouts?
Doug O’Neill: In my mind, it is – it was. And yes, he’s (inaudible) he’s got an amazing stride and he can – he cooks around there in 15-second eighths almost every morning just galloping, with the kid just absolutely sitting still on him, and he just really covers the ground with not a lot of effort. And you know breeze, that’s exactly what he was doing, and I know the clockers have really gotten to know him, and really respect him, and to me it’s almost as a sign of respect, because, you know, you’ll get some other horse sometimes that’ll breeze really nice and they still call it handily. But I think out of respect, they gave him breezy and it was well deserved. He was absolutely breezing in both those works, and it sure set him up good for both Derbies.
Debbie Arrington: Did Lava Man make the trip to Baltimore along with his star people?
Doug O’Neill: Yes, Debbie, he’s here. He was actually probably more so than any of the – anything else was why I wanted to be off the beaten path a little bit. And though we’re not, we’re right next to the stakes barn but – though he’s beginning to enjoy shipping, I think if he had his druthers he’d choose his comfortable stall there at Hollywood Park but he’s here, he looks great, and he accompanied the horses to the track this morning and you know, I’ll Have Another and Lava Man definitely have a real good rapport with each other and, we’re going to keep that going so they both – they’re acting very happy and settled in Baltimore.
Debbie Arrington: Watching Lava Man on TV with I’ll Have Another, it looked like Lava Man thought he was going to the gate too.
Doug O’Neill: I know it – it’s funny, he has a side of him where if he’s accompanying a real green baby he’ll kind of toughen up and be more studious, and if he’s with I’ll Have Another, who’s a pretty classy, calm horse, Lava Man will kind of strut his stuff. So he can turn it on and off, and I know with 155,000 people, I’m sure he thought hey, is this the senior tour here, what are we doing here? But he is, if you got a chance to see him I mean in the flesh, he just looks brilliant and he’s just a happy camper and we’re absolutely blessed to be with him every day and work with him every day, and he’s doing super.
Debbie Arrington: Do you think that I’ll Have Another some day could follow, like Lava Man, and win at all the major handicaps out here, as a four year old, looking ahead?
Doug O’Neill: I think so. I think so. I think with his pedigree and his mind that he should do nothing but get better with age and in racing, so, you know, I know the financial end of this business sometimes –
Debbie Arrington: Yes –
Doug O’Neill: It takes – it stops those opportunities from happening. But Paul Reddam is a successful kind of a blue collar turned into a successful businessman. I know he would much rather watch his horses compete at a high level than see them banned (ph) off to a stallion farm somewhere. So hopefully we’ll have that opportunity and that option.
Debbie Arrington: And one more question – have you got the hot tub yet?
Doug O’Neill: You know, it’s so funny, I had a hot tub dealer call me when I got back to Santa Monica the next day. I thought it was my buddy Mark on a phony phone call because he does that all the time. And so, Hey, this is Jimmy from Southern California Hot Tubs, and I’m like Okay, Mark, what’s going on? And he’s like, no, this is really Jimmy. And he said hey, would you mind if we – we’ll give you a free hot tub as long as you do an ad or – I was like I’m in. So, I told him I had a little something going on in Baltimore for a couple weeks, but looks like I might have an inexpensive hot tub from someone. So, very cool, the kids are all pumped up, and we’re making space as we speak.
Danny Brewer: Okay, before the Derby, I’ll Have Another seemed very relaxed. Is that one of the things that you’re trying to do now is keep him relaxed, and is that when he’s at his best?
Doug O’Neill: It is. I think most horses, and most people, are at their best when they’re relaxed. You know, you’ll see the rare horse kind of wash out and get all anxious and still go kick butt, but you know if you can get them to conserve their energy they’re going to show more, usually, in their races. But that’s I think my job as a trainer is to keep them healthy, relaxed, keep the whole crew healthy and relaxed and not – you know, we’re all patting each other on the back but at the same time, you know, Paul Reddam is a big hockey fan – he keeps saying “Hey, we just, we’re ahead one-nothing, but it’s the first period. You know, we have two more period to go and let’s enjoy but let’s not forget we’ve still got – you know we’re not finished.” So, it’s one of those, just trying to keep everyone on the ground, relaxed, and focused, and happy and healthy.
Danny Brewer: You know, you talk about staying focused and everything – you seem to be a fun-loving guy and your whole team seems to like having fun – is that important to make sure that you’re having fun and not get caught up in the pressures of the Triple Crown right now?
Doug O’Neill: Big time. Big time, you know – thanks to the Reddams we had rented a house there in Louisville and the whole staff ate in the house, and you know, barbeques every night and it was just – it was a lot of laughing and conversations about a lot of things, not just the Derby. And it’s the same thing here, we’ve got a townhouse with a view of the water in downtown Baltimore here that’s beautiful, and the whole crew’s going to stay here, and they’ll stay there and just everyone sticking together and, you know it’s a fun way to see new parts of the country, as well, instead of being by yourself, and it’s a great way to kind of keep everyone pumped up. You’ll even see at the barn here, there’s a bunch of media watching him get bathed. I think we have three different people – like a car wash, three different people bathing I’ll Have Another. So just everyone kind of stepping in, helping each other out, and, you know enjoying, but at the same time doing the right thing and keeping the horse happy and sound.
John Pricci: Congratulations, Doug. A few questions from me. First of all you were on the NBC pre-game, and someone had asked you, “Gee, what was that ride in the Santa Anita Derby all about?” You know, it seemed that Mario kind of went out of his way to take him back and keep him wide on the first turn and, you know, you would think it would be a little dangerous to have a horse like Creative Cause get first run on you, and all of that happened, and yet he just allowed his horse to kind of continue to drift at the top of the stretch as if to say, you know, I’ve got you every step of the way, and I just want to be out here in the clear. Did he say any – did you discuss this after the Derby. Did you find out anything more about that situation?
Doug O’Neill: You know, Mario’s a tremendously confident rider, and you know he rode up at Hastings, on a Bull Ring up there in Vancouver. So he’s used to tight riding and he knew where he was, he knew what he wanted to do, I think, have Creative Cause come up on the inside of them as opposed to getting the first jump on the outside of them, and you know once Creative Cause came streaming up on the inside of them and then Mario asked I’ll Have Another – you know, he kind of engaged him with Creative Cause and got into a stretch run. And Mario just said – I have asked him about that – he’s just very confident he was sitting on a lot of horse and it was going to take a monster to beat him, and once Creative Cause got in front of him he engaged with him, he felt that he had him the whole time. I know it was a real heart-attack moment for the rest of us, but I think the way Mario rides horses, it tends to – you tend to see him come out of the races (audio interference) abuse them he doesn’t ride real aggressively he just really takes care of them and he does what he has to do and it’s a little nerve-wracking sometimes to watch, it’s beautiful when he comes out on top.
John Pricci: Number two for me is the shock wave therapy. Now are you using this prophylactically, or are you dealing with a, you know whatever, a back issue, soft tissue, bone issue, or whatever? If you would speak to that, and, will he be having any special treatment between Derby and Preakness?
Doug O’Neill: You know, we’ll use the shock wave therapy as just that – a therapy for sore–spotty soreness, and I worked him on the 19th of April and on the 20th we went over him really well and he just had a little tightness in his lumbar area, right in the area where it’s kind of common for them to get a little tightness right behind where the saddle sits, and talked to the vet, the vet suggested the shock wave therapy. I talked to the Reddams, they said go for it and we did it, and you know in California (audio interference) California it’s highly regulated, you’ve got to go up to the hospital and they check your tattoo and they – you know, it’s kind of a big to-do, but it’s a real useful piece of therapy and it helps create blood flow and helps treat any kind of, you know, healing for any kind of soreness that might be going on.
John Pricci: And the last one for me – do you think that your horse is getting the respect which is normally deserved for a Derby winner? You know, all sorts of talk about Bodey doing all the dirty work and what not. So my question is, I know Frank Carulli the odds-maker at Pimlico says if Bodey starts, he will be the favorite in the race. I was wondering what you thought about that and if Bodey does decide to run, are you looking forward to that, or would you like sort of the easier spot it he doesn’t show up?
Doug O’Neill: I probably sound wimpy to say that but I’d rather the easiest spot possible. But I respect Bodemeister and his connections big time, and you know, what he did in Arkansas was just wowing. And then to come back and do what he did in the Kentucky Derby was incredible. And so, you know, I’d rather he didn’t run, but if he runs, you know, I think we have a colt that’s good enough and versatile enough to, you know, sit closer if we have to, or just kind of play it by ear, and not let Bodemeister have everything his own way. So, as far as not getting the respect, you know, I could see this year, this crop of three-year-olds is so evenly matched, you’ve got so many horses that are so closely – in speed numbers and Rag numbers and Beyer numbers and – actually, Bodey probably has been the most consistent high Beyer horse (audio interference). So it’s a wide open group, but the one my colt has is three for three this year and he just – he’s done nothing but win, so as long as he keeps doing that, I’m okay with a little higher odds.
Beth Harris: I was going to address the respect issue, but somebody beat me to it, so, I’ll move on to, you know, obviously, your previous medication violations are getting some attention along the Triple Crown trail, and I’m wondering, are you concerned they might put you or I’ll Have Another in a negative light.
Doug O’Neill: You know, that’s a good question. I haven’t been asked that by (audio interference). You know, I think I just – right know, I owe it to the owners and to the fans, and to the horse to just focus in on I’ll Have Another, and he’s – he went through every medication and every physical exam, and every exam you can think of all three races this year, and he’s – he’s just an amazing athlete and, you know, I think with all that previous stuff, I think I’m going to come out on the good end there and you know, hopefully, we can kick some butt in the Preakness and kick some butt in the Belmont and after that we can sit down and talk about all that. But my main focus is on I’ll Have Another and how great he’s doing, and stay focused on that.
Scott Hazelton: Doug, just jumping back in here, you mentioned your lack of experience there with the track surface at Pimlico, how many horses have you started at Pimlico in the past?
Doug O’Neill: You know, that’s a good question Scott. I’ve I think only started one and I think it was in a turf sprint, if that’s possible. So I haven’t – I have very little experience here but, you know, I know I’ve heard that last year was a little bit more tiring than Churchill Downs, so going off that, I though getting here a little earlier too wouldn’t hurt. As we put everything together, just getting here when we did seemed to make sense.
Scott Hazelton: And also, how did you and Dennis find this horse and get away with getting this horse for only, what, $35,000?
Doug O’Neill: Unbelievable. Yes, Dennis is – he has these really kind of self-taught, but he just has a really good eye for these (inaudible) and training sales and he’s got a lot of confidence in what he sees, you know. And he really liked this colt, ran it by Paul – he runs a lot of horses by Paul Reddam, and Paul pooh-poohs a lot of them, but when Paul sees what Dennis sees and they’re on the same page, we’ve had a lot of success with those kind of horses. And this is one of them.
Liz Clarke: I just wanted to ask a few about you and your background. Did you have a particular mentor or, you know, teacher as you learned to train horses, and could you talk a bit about that person, if he or she existed? And then – well, I’ve got one after that if you can bear it. Thanks.
Doug O’Neill: Yes, of course. You know, my mentor was actually a history professor at Santa Monica Junior College named Dr. Arthur Verge, and he’s still alive today, and just a brilliant man and the closest thing I can ever come to like a John Wooten type of person. Dr. Verge was just one of those that always stressed seeing the good in everything, and you know, I’d rather have a 50% friend than a 100% enemy, and really instilled just respecting people, and respecting animals, respecting everyone.
And as I got involved, right out of high school at age 18, Jude Feld was kind enough to give me my first job without any horseman skills, and so I (inaudible) horses for a few months, and then I worked my way up to groom, I groomed for a couple years, and then I went to work for Hector Palma, and groomed for him for a couple years, and then I worked for like a cup of coffee for Dick Mandella for a short period of time and then worked with Doug Peterson as his assistant for about six months. Doug, you know was the last trainer of the great Seattle Slew. So you know, all those guys were really good horsemen, they all had their own little different ways of doing things. And I think this game – you know, a good horse you can probably do about a thousand different training methods with a good horse. So I think I took a little bit of what I’ve learned from those guys, and then just being so blessed to train in Southern California, and you’ve got the Bafferts and the – back in the day the Whittinghams and the Frankels and just shutting up and keeping your eyes open and your ears open you just really learned a lot just watching the way those guys (a) took care of the horses, and (b) trained the horses. So I have just picked up a little bit from a lot of people and tried to make my own little thing, but I’m still learning every day and trying to get better every day.
Liz Clarke: And it’s wonderful. Thank you. Just as a quick follow up, you have spoken a bit about your desire to have your own little quiet space there at Pimlico for you and your horse, but if I were to ask you, you know, what’s the one thing that’s different about your approach with a quality horse? Is it that, or is it something else? Is there kind of a defining thing that sets you apart from all those good things you took from other people?
Doug O’Neill: One thing that Doug Peterson – one of his things of training that I remember when I first started working for him I thought he was absolutely crazy – and Doug would admit he was a little bit crazy, but he was really adamant with his riders to let the horse put their feet where they wanted to put them. And you’d get some horses that really ripped around there every day, but that was their comfort zone. You’d other horses that went around there kind of nice and easy and that was their comfort zone, so I think I’ve tried to pick that up and it’s a way of maintaining fitness, you know, individually, and I think that’s kind of a unique thing. Most of us trainers will kind of easy gallop or medium gallop and then work once a week, you know, speed workout once a week. I’m guilty of that from time but I try not to do a lot of speed workouts if I don’t have to. I’d rather do comfortable gallops, whatever is the proper speed for that individual. Seems to work.
Liz Clarke: And let the horse kind of dictate that.
Doug O’Neill: Exactly, let him dictate his – you know, when you’re working them in company, when you do that, one of the two horses is not putting their feet where they want to put them, because they’re waiting on the other one, so it’s – I try to, in an ideal world they all – even when we breeze them we try to breeze them by themselves and let them do it at their own comfortable pace, and sometimes you might not put up the black letter works, but you know you have a – in an ideal world you have a happy, sound, fit horse.
Marc Doche: Hey Doug, congratulations. Have you had a chance to have it soak in, what it means to you to have the first horse to win the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby since Sunday Silence did it in 1989?
Doug O’Neill: That’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool. Again, we’ve got a great family effort here at the barn, so we’ve been doing a lot of – you know, having an adult beverage from time to time and reliving the first Saturday in May this year. So we’ve – I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet, but we’ve sure talked a lot about it and it sure brings a smile to all of our faces with the journey we’ve been on and what this horse is, you know, the pleasure he has given all of us here and – he’s an amazing horse and I think, you know, it’s not like a flukish thing at all, I think he’s worthy of any praise he receives, because he’s a darn good horse.
Marc Doche: In retrospect, the decision to skip the San Felipe, do you feel that gives you guys an advantage right now in having a fresher horse for these next two races?
Doug O’Neill: I think so. I think so, and you know, his big effort in the Bob Lewis off a five month layoff is what – said hey, you know there’s no need to run in the San Felipe, we can sit tight, let him recover, even though he came out of the Bob Lewis great, you know, we were able to give him nine weeks and really let him absorb that big effort and then kind of get some momentum going for the Santa Anita Derby and then the Kentucky Derby, and hopefully we can carry it through a couple more.
Tom Wolski: Hey, Doug. We’re familiar with Mario up here in Vancouver, but down south at Santa Anita, what was it like to pitch Mario to Paul Reddam? Or have Paul Reddam pitch him to you? He’s an unknown down there, popular up here. Just interesting.
Doug O’Neill: Yes, you know, I generally like the jocks who are under the radar screen, and I love having a jockey who the race means – whatever race it is, whether it’s a claiming race or a stakes race. Everyone in Southern California wants (inaudible) and Rosario, we couldn’t get either one of those two guys, and we’re far enough out that Paul had watched Mario ride, was really impressed by his hands, his finesse, and the way he finished, and so when Paul brought it up it didn’t take but a split second for me to say, I would love it – sounds great to me, Paul. So having his personality match his riding ability was – that was a huge refreshing thing. Because, as good a rider as he is, from what I’ve gotten to know him, he’s just an even better person. He’s such a great kid, and so I – so glad Paul that up because he could have brought up about anyone who was a little bit under the radar screen and I would have jumped all over it, and I don’t think we would have had the success that we’ve had with Mario.
Tom Wolski: Doug, thank you for doing this, I know there’s a lot of people on line so I’ll just limit it to the one question and talk to Mario later. Thanks from Vancouver.
David Grening: I was wondering if, in watching the replay of the Derby, if anybody’s trip, who is expected to run against you in the Preakness, if anybody caught your eye with their trip that they had that you felt okay, I need to worry about that horse coming back?
Doug O’Neill: You know, to be honest with you David, I’ve only watched the replay a couple times, and I continue just selfishly to be focused on I’ll Have Another, but I have read where Went The Day Well had a troubled trip, and obviously Bodemeister didn’t have a troubled trip, but had a taxing trip, so I mean, those two horses would be scary. And – who else am I forgetting? You know, it just seems from focusing on my horse like it was a pretty clean trip by everybody but we all know Union Rags had a rough go at start – he’s not coming back for the Preakness, but – the Graham Motion horse I guess would be the one who with a clear trip he could be more of a factor.
Jay Privman: Hey Doug, I was just wondering what your schedule is like over the next week and a half, if you’re staying in Baltimore or if you’re going to be coming back and forth to Hollywood at all this weekend.
Doug O’Neill: The plan, Jay, is to stay in Baltimore.
Jay Privman: And I was just wondering if you’ve limbered up your arm for Tuesday night.
Doug O’Neill: Yes, you know, I’ve been tossing some bread rolls around the table here with the boys, but yes, I’m self-confident – the people here at Pimlico have just absolutely rolled out the red carpet for all of us here at the barn; they’re talking about maybe taking us down to the Ravens’ summer camp and meeting some of the football players, so it’s just been – you know, they’re treating us like we’re celebrities and until they realize we’re not, we’re going to soak it all in.
Jerry Bossert: Thanks for talking about the medication violations. I just want to know if the California Horse Racing Board set a date yet to you or anything like that?
Doug O’Neill: No, they haven’t. But I know I’ve spent a lot of money in legal fees, you know, to fight it. But honest to God, I know for a fact, not that I know stuff’s been written that – you know, I’m going to get suspended before the end of the Triple Crown, and there’s zero chance of that happening. But I think everything’s going to be fine in the end. And again, my main focus, I just feel like I owe it to the Reddams and to the horse, and this particular horse has been through every possible physical exam, blood exams, urine exams, I mean they’ve done everything but pick him up by the hooves and shake his ears, you know, but he’s a brilliant horse, and I’m just focused on a week from Saturday, and I would love to, you know, sit down when everything calms down and address all the stuff from the past. For right now we’re just pumped and excited about the Preakness.
Ed Zieralski: Good luck with that.