John Kimmel watched a few breezers on the Oklahoma Training Track's turf course Friday morning, hopped in his golf cart, drove back across Union Avenue to his four small and secluded barns in the northeast corner of the stable area along Union Avenue, talked about a couple horses with longtime assistant Loretta Lusteg and some of his grooms and took a deep breath.
Kimmel estimates that 60 percent of the horses he trains are 2-year-olds, a mixture from auctions or homebreds. The latter come from longtime patrons Chester and Mary Broman and he's well stocked from Tobey Morton, GoldMark Farm, Mandy Pope, Summit Thoroughbreds and others.
Kimmel knows taking his time with the babies will be critical.
"You've got to be patient," he said. "Sometimes you think you're going to get them all ready and the closer you get the more pressure you put on them the more fall by the wayside and aren't ready to go. But I think we do have a half-dozen that might make it to the races before we leave. Hopefully that will happen."
Kimmel wasn't in a rush Friday morning, despite finishing training after 10:30 and having two runners in later in the afternoon. He went stall-by-stall with The Special's Tom Law, even offering the writer the chance to join him inside several of the stalls to receive a truly authentic stable tour.
Nile Prince: "He's a 2-year-old colt by Pioneerof The Nile out of Princess Belle. Mr. Greeley mare. He was a $270,000 OBS April sale graduate. He's had a couple half-miles. I don't know if he'll make this meet but he's ready to break, half-mile fit. Just hope he's half of what American Pharoah is, then we'll be in good shape. It was probably a good time to buy a Pioneerof The Nile, before the big horse showed up in the Triple Crown races. He's owned by Tobey Morton."
Changewilldoyagood: "Medaglia d'Oro colt, he's a two-other-than New York-bred. Mr. Broman owns him and I think he's going to run his ass off. It was kind of weird he was fostering a hot right front foot and nothing ever really happened but it stayed warm and stayed warm and about two months ago it broke out at the coronary band with a little abscess. We got it under control, didn't do anything and then he breezed and the thing basically showed a quarter crack. We cleaned it out, repaired it and the thing went down probably an inch and a half. I'm sure that thing was sitting in there quite some time. He's been working lights out, 59 and change, out and 13. In the New York-bred division he's going to be pretty solid."
Parting Shot: "Two-year-old filly by Trappe Shot. She was an OBS April graduate for $125,000. I like her. She's another one right on the cusp of being here or Belmont."
Barbie On A Budget: "This is a Mineshaft filly, 2-year-old filly of Mr. Bromans. Just shipped in. She's out of a mare that I trained, they named one of those New York-bred stakes after her, Seeking The Ante."
Yes For Success: "She's a Yes It's True filly who ran here (fifth July 29). Owned by myself and Tobey Morton. She's a $49,000 Fasig-Tipton (Midlantic May 2014) graduate. She was in the race where Manuel Franco fell off, so everybody was checking. Her race before that she got beat in a photo. I thought she won." She's entered for Wednesday.
Spin Cycle: "He just worked on the turf course (half in :50.44 Friday). He made one start in the (Rockville Centre Stakes) because half the field was maidens. I think a lot of this colt. He's a Hard Spun out of a mare I trained named Submerge. She was a stakes winner for Mr. Broman. He got educated his first race, took dirt for 5 furlongs and galloped out terrific. I just wanted to see how he'd handle the grass because so many of these Hard Spuns handle grass. He was green out there, Johnny (Velazquez) said he was looking at everything, trying to get away from the horses he was running with. I might run him back on the dirt with blinkers one more time before I try grass." He's also entered for Wednesday.
Rain In Spain: "I like her, she just worked on the grass (half-mile in :53.41 Friday), 2-year-old filly by Pleasantly Perfect out of Espana. I think she's going to be a nice grass horse."
Bar Of Gold: "That dirt course doesn't hold speed. I thought she was home free (in the Grade 1 Test Aug. 8), I didn't think anyone could catch her 3 in front from there coming off a mile-and-a-sixteenth race. I might keep her sprinting and go in the Prioress. It's really weird for me because I thought distance would not be a problem for her. She's breezed that way, galloped out in her breezes, she finishes her breezes great, great closing kick and I thought Medaglia d'Oro out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare that won graded stakes on the grass going long and I've got her sprinting three-quarters."
Cloud Control: "This one's dead (well, dead asleep like a tired dog on a couch). New York-bred Freud colt out of a mare Amiga Del Sol that I trained. He worked this morning, half-mile fit, too."
More Than A Legend: "Nice filly. More Than Ready who just worked on the grass. She's out of a stakes-winning mare named Binalegend, who is a half-sister to Bedazzle, the dam of Street Sense. Tafel family. There's a chance she could sprint on the grass. I don't know if she'll be ready to go long but she could sprint before we leave here."
Singsong: "This filly will run here, probably the last book. An Unbridled's Song New York-bred. She did a little in the gate (Friday morning). She cost $300,000 at OBS April."
Broad Stripes: "She's a nice filly. By Bernardini out of Viva La Flag, who is out of On Parade. All Phipps breeding. She cost $325,000 OBS March graduate. She's got a shot to run here, too. She's a big, solid filly. Being out of a Rahy mare, they're usually a little smaller. She's been working with Singsong. I was thinking she'd outwork her on the grass but Singsong outworked her. Then she outworks Singsong on the dirt."
Diamond Eye: "She's a 3-year-old filly by Zanjero. I like her, she was fifth at Gulfstream this winter and then I tried her on grass (in April at Aqueduct) and she came back with a hot knee and I just gave her some time. She's been here probably about two weeks."
Bombaguia: "He's Grade 2 stakes-placed, second in the (2012) Bowling Green. He was on the farm, had a few physical issues and has just been back now. They sent him into me supposedly with a couple five-eighths under his belt. He's a cool horse. He was at GoldMark Farm. They own him."
Tizquick: "He just ran the other day, New York-bred two-other-than. He's won three; an a-other-than open or stakes-level horse. Upstart beat him in his first race (here last year) then he came back and won."
Bag Of Tricks: "This is a filly I kind of like. Third in her first start in the Lynnbrook, New York-bred filly stakes. Bernardini New York-bred filly for Mr. Bromans. She'll run up here, not in a stakes though. Try to get her some confidence. She was way back, finished with good energy, galloped out real good."
Montauk Man: "Another 2-year-old colt by Giant's Causeway out of a Kingmambo mare. Got him for $100,000 at Fasig-Tipton Florida."
Sailmate: "Big campaigner. Just had his first start here (July 25, sixth in a $50,000 claiming race). He's going to run next Wednesday or Thursday. He's 7 now. I'm probably going to run him for the tag in the two-other-than for $40,000. He ran seven-eighths the other day. Going a mile-and-an-eighth will be better for him than going seven-eighths here."
Bene: "He's by that new freshman sire they have at McMahon's, Here Comes Ben. I kind of like him. I tried to get Molto Bene (as a name), but they didn't have that one. He was a $60,000 OBS April sale graduate. He's not going to make the meet.
Miss Munnings: "She's a 2-year-old filly by Munnings, came out of the OBS April sale for $150,000. She's not going to run until later in the fall. Just now galloping. I like the Munnings, they've been running really well, right?"