French Quarter

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Rodolphe Brisset knows what it feels like to sit on an Alabama winner. And not just any Alabama winner. Being Royal Delta’s regular exercise rider was one of Brisset’s personal highlights during his 11-year run with Bill Mott.

 “Having a filly with a shot in the Alabama after what happened with Royal Delta, Saturday will be very special,” the 34-year-old native of France said. “When she won the Alabama (in 2011), when she won the Personal Ensign, that was special. Of course, I was close with her. She’s always been special to me.”

Brisset hopes to be able to say he has ridden two Alabama winners after today’s edition of the historic Grade 1. Only 15 months after going out on his own, Brisset rides – and trains – Talk Veuve To Me, 5-2 second choice on the morning line in the $600,000 stakes for 3-year-old fillies at the testing distance of 1 1/4 miles.

Talk Veuve To Me and the rest of Brisset’s string are bedded down just a few paces from Mott’s courtyard and shedrow, where Brisset and Royal Delta circled numerous times.

“I was very happy they put us here. I’m very close with all the staff,” Brisset said after he finished scrubbing down Talk Veuve To Me’s legs. “Of course, I’m not working for him anymore, but I think he’s happy with what we have done so far. I really want to keep going, it’s very important for me to have everybody from the old Mott team to be proud of what we’re doing.”

While an important member of the Mott team, Brisset had his name pronounced many ways when he worked for the Hall of Famer. Racetrackers still can’t quite figure it out. For those keeping score at home, it’s Rodolphe (Ro, not Ru like the reindeer) Brisset (Bre-say). The trainer laughed when asked his reaction to how Americans pronounce his name.

“Everybody calls me Rudy because Bill called me Rudy for so many years. It’s not an easy name to say,” he said. “People call me Rudolph, Bill called me Rodolphe sometimes. I don’t get mad over it. There are more important things.”

Thursday morning, Brisset rode Talk Veuve To Me (whose name has also been mispronounced many times this year) in back of Mott’s barn, around Shug McGaughey’s, and to the Oklahoma Training Track’s gap near Fifth Avenue. Talk Veuve To Me was led by Brisset’s wife Brooke Baker, an instrumental part of the barn’s early success.

To read the rest of the Alabama preview, download Saturday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by EasyFix Stable Solutions.