Bill Mott juiced about potential double double in Classic races
November 1, 2012 8:46PM
LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 04: Royal Delta, riden by Jose Lezcano, crosses the finish line to win the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic during the 2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on November 4, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
AT A GLANCE
What: Breeders’ Cup
When: Friday and Saturday
Where: Santa Anita Park,
On TV: 3 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN
Full entries on page 55
• Juvenile Sprint (ungraded $500,000)
• Marathon (Grade II, $500,000)
• Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade I, $500,000)
• Juvenile Fillies (Grade I, $2 million)
• Filly & Mare Turf (Grade I, $2 million)
• Ladies’ Classic (Grade I, $2 million)
Updated: December 3, 2012 6:48AM
ARCADIA, Calif. — Bill Mott is in position to duplicate the ultimate daily double. The Hall of Fame trainer swept the $2 million Ladies’ Classic and $5 million Classic at last year’s Breeders’ Cup. He could do it again this weekend, with Royal Delta defending her Ladies’ title and three of his horses running in the big race.
The Breeders’ Cup has been dominated by females in recent years, led by Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra and Havre de Grace, whose body of work garnered Horse of the Year honors for each.
It could happen again starting Friday, when Royal Delta heads one of the deepest fields ever in the Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita. She’s the 9-5 favorite for the 11/8-mile race. She could help Mott make history, too, as the first trainer to win the race three consecutive years and fifth time overall.
Two undefeated fillies are in her way. Awesome Feather is 10-0, while My Miss Aurelia is 6-0. Both won the BC Juvenile Fillies as 2-year-olds.
Mott comes back strong on Saturday with Flat Out, Ron the Greek and To Honor and Serve in the Classic. The 9-5 early favorite for the 11/4-mile race is Game On Dude.
“It’s pretty unusual to have three horses of that quality in that type of race,” Mott said. “If you really asked me who I would pick, one over the other, I couldn’t do it. That’s how well they’re doing.”
Game On Dude led most of the way in last year’s Classic at Churchill Downs before Drosselmeyer overhauled him in the closing strides to win for Mott, who could become the second trainer since Jay Robbins in 2000-2001 to repeat in North America’s richest race. John Shirreffs completed the BC double in 2009 with Life is Sweet in the Ladies’ Classic and Zenyatta in the Classic.
“I’m not trying to do it just because we did it last year,” Mott said about his attempted double. “I feel no pressure to do that. I just want to do it because we’re in there. I’ve got three good horses in the Classic and any one of them could win the race on their big day.”
Mott had bid Royal Delta farewell a week after her victory at Churchill Downs last November. Her breeder-owner, Prince Saud bin Khaled, had died and his racing stable was sold to settle his estate. Royal Delta was sold to Benjiman Leon for $8.5 million.
“I had no expectations of getting her back,” Mott said. “It was a sad day when I had to walk her down to that van and send her to Keeneland.”
Mott attended the Keeneland sale and congratulated Leon after his purchase. The new owner told Mott to call him in a week or two, and that’s when he found Royal Delta was coming back to his barn.