Jovial, witty and distinctly British, 33-year-old U.K. transplant Tom Morley recently enjoyed his best Saratoga Race Course meeting highlighted by two graded stakes victories by Haveyougoneaway.
Morley won six races at Saratoga in 2016, five more than last year and three more than in 2014. Haveyougoneaway, a New York-bred daughter of Congrats, gave Morley his first graded stakes victories winning the Grade 2 Honorable Miss and the Grade 1 Ballerina.
While he was in the midst of his successful Saratoga meet Morley took time out to talk about two special horses that inspired his love of racing, including one he considers his Horse Who Changed Everything, at least for now. That horse is three-time Group 1-winning sprinter Lochsong.
"I come from a racing family in England," Morley said in early August. "I've been surrounded by horses all my life.
"There was a day when she ran in the Nunthorpe at York and I was a very under-aged bettor and I played a bet called the Placepot. She was my single in a Group 1 and she hit the rail coming out of the paddock and bolted to the start with Frankie Dettori and didn't win.
"I would have won over 100,000 (pounds) if she hadn't bolted to the start. But I still ove her and she was just as fast a filly as you've ever seen in your life. I guess I was at an age where she was the reason I fell in love with this game."
Lochsong won 15 of 27 starts in her career, including two editions of the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and the Group 1 Keeneland Nunthorpe Stakes. The daughter of Song was retired following a 14th-place finish in the 1994 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.
Another special horse near and dear to Morley's heart was Celeric, who won England's most prestigious staying race for his family in front of Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the nation.
"He was a homebred who was trained by my uncle (David Morley) owned by another uncle and my father," Morley said. "He won the Ascot Gold Cup in 1997. That was a pretty special day."
Haveyougoneaway certainly inched herself into the same league as those two as the meet rolled on, perhaps even surpassed, and Morley hopes her success leads to future opportunities with other quality, well-bred horses.
"Hopefully this is the one that changes everything going forward," Morley said. "We've been doing well but we needed a big horse to come forward and put us on the map. In the space of 26 days she's certainly made an impression on a lot of people to be my first stakes winner and first graded stakes winner.
"To be at home, it means a lot to do it in New York, I don't have any issue with traveling to win a stake but to win one at Belmont and one at Saratoga with a filly is very special. Especially because she's a New York-bred as well, it's really cool. So hopefully she's the one that means the floodgates open and the barn is full of really good Tapits and Medaglia d'Oros."