Features

The tour begins in Bill Mott’s office near the Oklahoma Training Track. The Hall of Famer shows some photos and paintings hanging on the wall of the spacious standalone office building. The walls and shelves contain a variety of Mott’s horses – Cigar, Theatrical, Royal Delta, Drosselmeyer and Singleton, winner of the Hazel Park Mile in 1979. In the photo, the gray gelding streaks across the line in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Michigan track. (Originally published in Sept. 1 edition of The Saratoga Special.)

“Biggest race they ever ran there. I was in my first full year when I was on my own as a public stable. I went on my own in the fall of ’78, I always had horses but this was my first public stable,” Mott said. “We claimed this horse for $25,000 down in Florida, won three stakes in a row. I trained him with the pony every day, 2 miles every day. He would run to the outside fence if you took a hold of him. He was a big powerful thing, I would lope him every day.”

Mott and The Special’s Sean Clancy toured the Hall of Fame trainer’s main barn late Friday morning. The feed tubs were hung, a couple of grooms raked inside and outside and assistant Neil Poznansky readied a couple for paddock schools.

Mott walked across the grass courtyard between his office and his barn, stopping to pet the lead pony first.

Round: “He’s still a little goosey sometimes, but he’s turning into a good pony. He’s a lot of fun. He’s a lot of fun.”

Length: Half-sister to Hopeful hopeful Mucho, she broke her maiden sprinting on the turf at the meet. “She was supposed to run the last day, but I see they put the extra up for the first day at Belmont. I tried her a mile on the grass, a mile on the grass, a mile on the grass and finally got it right going 5 1/2 on the grass. Looking at her, she’s scopey, I always thought she would go a mile, mile and a sixteenth. She didn’t train much as a 2-year-old, she was really green. She didn’t show speed away from the gate, she acted like she needed a mile.”

Blamed: Maryland-bred daughter of Blame won five in a row at Zia Park and Sunland Park, including the Sunland Parks Oaks, for trainer Joel Marr before a break and a relocation to Mott. “She was scheduled for the Kentucky Oaks, she had a little issue in a hind ankle. We just took over her training, I was to get her after the Oaks, but she didn’t make the Oaks. She’s breezed twice. She’s doing well.”

Golden Award: Bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro snorts at Mott like she’s never seen him before. “She’s a half to I’ll Have Another. I like her. She’s been second in her last two races. Both times they beat the field from here to the end of the barn, she’s just gotten in two tough races.”

Miss Mimosa: Daughter of Violence won a solid allowance here Aug. 23 for Cheyenne Stable. “She broke her maiden at Gulfstream, she won going a mile and an eighth here. She’ll go in a stakes race on the 22nd or the 30th of September. The Remington Oaks is the 30th, there’s a race at Charles Town, the Dogwood at Churchill. The Cotillion. We’ll nominate for those races.”

Americano: Two-year-old son of Tiznow finished seventh and ninth in his only two starts. “Big colt, run twice, once on the dirt, once on the turf, he’s been disappointing. Big, growthy colt, he’s been in his races but hasn’t finished up. Probably just needs more time.”

Elate: Runner-up in a controversial Personal Ensign, the stoic bay filly barely looks up from her late-morning breakfast. “She’s in the tub anyway, didn’t shy away, the numbers guys say she ran fast, like super fast. Both fillies. They beat the field by 10. You couldn’t come in half-cocked to win that race and she ran well but I suppose the final outcome was a disappointment for everybody. She didn’t let us down. Maybe we let her down.”

Dolce Lili: Daughter of Scat Daddy won two in a row at Monmouth last summer and has the hit the board in all four start this year. “Not an easy keeper, stays a little light. She eats but you have to be careful, she gets wound up in the paddock, she’s a handful. She gets herself geared up, which is probably why she doesn’t carry a lot of flesh, she runs well, though.”

Own Agenda: Juddmonte homebred is 1-for-4. “Broke his maiden at Churchill two turns. I tried him on the turf. I thought he worked well on the turf. I’ll put blinkers on him and run him back on the dirt. He’s useful.”

That’s Speightful: Bred by Kinsman Stable, 3-year-old filly has yet to hit the board in three tries. “Her granddam was Dream Supreme, I trained her mother and her grandmother. She had an entrapped epiglottis, so we did a little surgery on her, she should break her maiden.”

Vehement: Bred by Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider, son of War Front finished fourth in an off-the-turf sprint in his debut here. “His siblings have run well on the turf, he’s by War Front, so…he looks a little like a horse I had, Mosler, a strong-shouldered horse.”

Red Knight: Trinity Farm homebred won an open allowance on the turf last week. Mott chirps to him, the big, lengthy chestnut gelding pins his ears and glares. “You’d like to have him. This horse is pretty good, he rolled right through his New York-bred conditions and the open conditions. He’s won five and never run in a stake. There’s a New York-bred stake going 9 furlongs at Belmont. I’m thinking, this horse, going a mile and three, a mile and a half against open company, I don’t know how good he is, we’ll see.”

Good Samaritan: Last year’s Jim Dandy winner failed to land a blow in the Whitney. “Going back to the turf next time. He’ll go to Canada for the (Woodbine) Mile. We’ve won two graded races on the dirt, Grade 1 placed on the dirt. The Whitney was a screw up, I went in believing we had a chance and within 15 minutes we had no chance when they held the race up. We went from having a perfect racetrack to where they were going in ankle deep. This racetrack when it gets too sloppy like that, nobody catches up. They said they sealed it, they can’t seal it, they floated it, but it still took on too much water. Had it been a real sealed track, where they had heavy equipment on it and the rain pounded it down, he trains beautiful over a track like that. I was watching them go up to the gate and the horses were going slop, slop, slop, they were literally up to the back of their fetlock walking in the mud. I said we have zero chance.”

Commend: Three-time winner hasn’t run since venturing to Presque Isle Downs. “Sprinter, we got some black type, trying to win a stake. He’s a half to Flatter and a half to Congrats. He’s a nice horse, a three other than, I’ve been dealing with some foot issues, I was going to send him to Kentucky Downs but I don’t know if I’m going to have him ready.”

Satisfy: Dream Maker Racing’s New York-bred owns two wins and a second. “She was supposed to run this weekend, the filly that beat her was actually second in the Ballerina, looking back that might be why we got back. I shipped her up here and they didn’t use the race. I’ve got her and Length up here and they’ve got to ship back. You’ve got to get lucky sometimes.”

Channel Maker: The dead-heat Bowling Green winner came back to finish second in last weekend’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer. He’s tries to grab Mott’s water bottle from his hand. “Hey, that’s mine. He’s almost an overachiever, I guess. He’s run hard, he’s had some trouble trips, beaten a length, a half-length, 2 lengths. He usually comes from behind but he did lay close the other day. I was worried he was too close but they went around the track like that. (Joel Rosario) rides him good, he’s a really difficult horse to ride, I think he’s hard to get comfortable on, you’ve got to sit still but you can’t make any bad moves on him. If you push too hard or pull too hard his head comes up and he goes in.”

Ilume: Bred for former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme, 2-year-old Malibu Moon colt cost $275,000 as a yearling. “We thought we were going to have him close to running but we sent him out before the meet, he was at Fair Hill for three months. He’s back galloping now.”

Flip: Foxcroft Farm’s homebred 2-year-old by Curlin is out of the stakes-placed Malibu Moon mare Malibu Moon Dance. “He just came back in with the other one, this one had shins, the other horse had bruised hind ankles, they had 60 days off and now they’re back jogging and galloping. The both came back in looking good.”

Southern Bridge: James Karp’s 2-year-old Lemon Drop Kid colt finished fifth in his debut and returns in today in similar 1 1/16-mile maiden race. “He’s OK. He ran good the first time, trailed the field, slow pace, finished fifth, came running. He’s been scratched twice because races came off the grass.”

Greatreviews: Jack Hammer’s 4-year-old homebred Leroidesanimaux filly finished third, beaten a head, in 7-furlong optional claimer Aug. 15. She’s won three of nine and earned $138,340. “She’s a half to Ron The Greek. She’s got a wonderful disposition but she doesn’t want to run as far as Ron The Greek. This filly is more of a sprinter, you can look at her chest. Ron was a big stout horse, but he had a little more leg under him. She looks like seven-eighths is probably her cup of tea. She ran so hard the other day and they just nailed her on the wire, she got beat two noses. She’s just starting to look good. We clipped her, I always leave a little patch on their withers so they don’t rub and in July, she hadn’t shed out yet. Now, her hair is nice and smooth.”

Yoshida: Grade 1-winning Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry makes dirt debut in today’s Woodward. “How you doing? We’ve got two horses who can slip their halter within five seconds of being tied up. He can and Hofburg can. If you’re in the stall brushing them you can tie them up, but otherwise, as soon as you leave, it’ll be off. He’s got two halters, one small one and one normal one. The dirt is something we need to do, I’m perfectly fine with it, it’s just something that has to be done, the way he’s trained, the way he’s bred. For his future, it’s important to find out. The only thing I would hope is it’s black or white, you’re either in or you’re not. OK, don’t stagger home and finish third beaten 5 lengths and have a little trouble on the way where you say, ‘Ah, well, he got bothered, maybe we can…’ I would be equally as confident as (Good Samaritan in the Jim Dandy), I think in these situations, maybe sometimes you have a real strong feeling, but for me, I have a wait and see, let’s get him over there, get him saddled and I want to see the result. He came back from the race on the turf with an eye that was completely closed up, that’s what may have happened in that race, he took a big clod in his eye and I think it stunned him.”

Forge: Juddmonte homebred 5-year-old English-bred by Dubawi knocked on the door in several graded stakes, including a seconds in last year’s Grade 2 Bernard Baruch and this year’s Grade 3 Tampa Bay. He’s entered in Monday’s Bernard Baruch. “He’s an every-other-time runner, one time good, one time bad, one time good, one time bad. I don’t know why. His sister was a little inconsistent. He’s got some ability, he’s graded placed, he’s a useful horse. He’s run a couple of real big races for us and sometimes he’ll come back and be a little disappointing. I had his sister, Radiator. Early in her career she ran one or two good races in Europe and then lost all her form. They brought her over here, we freshened her for the winter and ran her at Keeneland and, whew, like visually it was really good, and she never fired again.”

Hail: Juddmonte’s 3-year-old Tapit filly is 1-for-5, winning a maiden race at Aqueduct Dec. 30. “She’s a half to Lockdown and Close Hatches. She broke her maiden last winter, finished third in the Busanda and she’s run twice this year, we’re waiting for the turnaround. She’s not as good as her two sisters. She’s a big pretty filly. A lot of scope. I don’t know why, she trains OK, I’ve tried short, long, turf. We’re going to shorten her back up again and maybe try seven-eighths.”

Seismic Wave: Mott goes in to pet Juddmonte’s homebred 2-year-old by Tapit. He’s breezed seven times in Saratoga, including his last two on the Oklahoma turf. “Come here ornery. Pretty horse. He’s a sweetheart in his stall. He’s very active out of the stall. I’ve had a couple of siblings out of the mare, this horse worked OK on the grass, I worked him with Vehement, he worked pretty well with him. He’s all turf.”

Mucho: Mott smooches to the 2-year-old and then rubs in the trough between his jaws. The Blame colt loves it. A maiden winner Aug. 4, he runs in Monday’s Grade 1 Hopeful. “What are you doing? I trained his mother and his grandmother, he’s a half to Length. I had another sister named Size, she won the Oaks in Iowa. I ran her in the Alabama and I finished her off. You had to catch her mother with a butterfly net but he’s nice. We’ll wait and see, each one’s a new challenge, right?”

Hofburg: Juddmonte’s Tapit colt won the Curlin and was bound for the Travers until a fever knocked him out of the race. Second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, he finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and third the Belmont Stakes. The chestnut colt barges toward the front of the stall. “I’m not letting you out. He looks better than when we scratched him before the Travers. I gave him a week of walking and he just turned around. That’s what I’ve been saying about him, things happen for a reason sometimes. I was looking at him coming to the Travers, he’s OK, but he’s not thriving. He got the fever, we walked him seven, eight days, we had to treat him, he was off his feed a little. At the end of the week, he just blossomed, we’re talking two weeks time. We’ll go to the PA Derby.”

Starting Point: WinStar’s homebred 2-year-old Paynter colt made two starts at the meet, finishing fifth in a 7-furlong off-the-turf maiden on Fourstardave Day and third in a 6-furlong maiden on Travers Day. White-faced colt turned and walked to the front of the stall. “Hey Whitey, come here. He’s run twice on the dirt, he’ll probably have to go the turf. He’s run good both times but he just doesn’t finish it off. Both jocks said, ‘Maybe the turf.’ He’s shown speed, he’s broke on the lead both times he’s run.”

Noble Alma: Two-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid went through the ring at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings last year and breeder Brant Laue bought her back for $145,000. She breezed 3 furlongs in :37.05 at Belmont Aug. 23. She’s a recent arrival. “She just came up from Belmont. We’re getting her house set up. I trained her granddam and her dam. Her mother, the year she was a 3-year-old, we had run her once at Belmont, she was second. I waited to run her here, I said, ‘This is a slam dunk, all I have to do is put her in the entry box.’ She broke her maiden in her ninth start, then she won four in a row and the last was a Grade 2.”

Capla Temptress: Team Valor’s Grade 1 winner finished second in Grade 2 Lake Placid on Alabama Day, beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Rushing Fall. Has won three of eight and earned $268,456. Irish-bred filly stood on the wash pad waiting to be shod. “Second in the Lake Placid. She’ll go to the (Grade 2 Sands Point) on the 15th at Belmont.”

Teletype: Stone Farm’s homebred bay 2-year-old Data Link filly waits for the blacksmith. Fourth in two starts at the meet, she’s entered in Monday’s sixth going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. “Are we going to have to shoe this filly?” Mott picks up four hooves. “She would get by,” before leaving the decision for the blacksmith. “She’s in Monday. She ran twice on the dirt, she was fourth the first time, she laid second, she goes well on the bridle. She’s got feet like this and she’s bred top and bottom for turf. I probably should have scratched her the second time.”