May 22, 2022

2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Transcript

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Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Transcript

Friday, November 1, 2019

  • Flavien Prat
  • Ryan Exline
  • David Bernsen
  • Peter A. Eurton

THE MODERATOR: Peter, I want to get your reaction first to this stunning upset.

PETER A. EURTON: I don’t know what to say other than I’m just so proud of this little horse. He just never stops trying. When he was on the lead like he was in his original first race, he had three horses tackle him that day. And so I knew he was going to fight, but I just didn’t know if there was going to be something so strong that he couldn’t fight back.

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But just his heart. It’s amazing little horse. And he’s not that little anymore, actually. He’s grown a bit since we bought him, obviously, a good two, three inches.

But feels pretty good.

THE MODERATOR: Flavien, I understand that you were the one who suggested adding blinkers. That turned out to be a key suggestion. Can you tell us what made you think that would be a good idea after the last start?

FLAVIEN PRAT: Well, I thought last time he ran a little green. He broke well, and then he was kind of looking around. On the back side he kind of lose his focus and kind of dropped back.

So I thought the blinkers might help him. And so actually it did, and I think that the fact that he run two times once was a big help.

THE MODERATOR: Peter, your thoughts on that.

PETER A. EURTON: Well, we were just a little fearful of him being too aggressive because we know how keen he can get sometimes in the morning. So his first work back after we had no shades on him, just to see, make sure it wasn’t because he was fresh, and his second and third works were both with blinkers. And it was a no-brainer as far as Flavien was concerned. So it was an easy thing to do.

THE MODERATOR: Was there any hesitation entering this race after coming off of the American Pharoah and finishing more than eight lengths behind the winner in that one?

PETER A. EURTON: Not really, the fact that he was so far back and then he kind of down the lane fought, and then his gallop out was something to be considered.

We knew he had stamina about him, and we didn’t see the speed, so we were just hoping we would put it all together. And sure enough, unfortunately the 1, he broke, you know, horrible, and that allowed us to take the lead. And I think they didn’t really take him serious down the back side, so he got kind of his own way there.

Q. Flavien, you were expecting to be close up, but were you expecting to be on lead? And describe the trip overall.
FLAVIEN PRAT: Well, I was planning on breaking well and putting him in the race. Like I said, the last time he broke well and then kind of fell back. So I thought that I was going to break well and put him in the race and try to keep up the spot, which he did.

From that point I thought it was traveling well, and then he fought back when the horse outside came to us.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. I wanted to know if you could talk about how it feels to have an event like this where you have a set of races with two-year-olds, without any apparent injuries, as you’ve got protesters outside trying to end horse racing, particularly when it comes to two-year-olds?
PETER A. EURTON: Well, I think all we can do is do the best we can as far as the protocols that are in hand. I think they’re very helpful. We’re all trying our best to make this the safest sport that we can. And it’s unfortunate when any horse passes like it has. And zero tolerance is what we’re looking for.

Q. So I guess long-shot Breeders’ Cup wins runs in the family. Court Vision’s old man was a big long shot too. So how about the euphoria of all this?
PETER A. EURTON: Well, we’re 2-and-0 when we’re 30-1 in the Breeders’ Cup. So we’re undefeated.

(Laughter.)

Didn’t Court Vision win the mile first? We have always thought this was my turf, too, but I don’t think he’s going anywhere right now. I’m flattered.

Q. William Hill you went from 90-1 to 12-1 to win the Derby. Still 38-1 in Europe. I know we’re putting the cart way ahead of the horse, but if anybody is a gambler up there, are you touching any of that?
PETER A. EURTON: What’s the number?

Q. 90-1 to 12-1.
PETER A. EURTON: Get out of here. Really? Wow.

Q. Still 38-1 in Europe.
PETER A. EURTON: Wow. We’ll have to take a little bit of that. Let’s make sure we get some of that.

Q. Peter, was your game plan to go to the front, or did that just materialize when —
PETER A. EURTON: No, not really. I mean, we wanted him up in the race, and we knew he didn’t really want to be back there catching a lot of dirt in his face. He seemed to run really well opening the first race on the lead.

But we were looking probably going to track the inside and Eight Rings, but once he broke like he did and he got into his position, you’re not going to take back at that point.

But we were pretty happy where we were. But it wasn’t the original plan, just to kind of get up in the race.

Q. When the 7 comes to your outside and it looks like he might go by, are you thinking, okay, well, if we hold on for second, we’re okay? Or did you think that there was something left?
PETER A. EURTON: I knew he would fight, I just didn’t know how much. And once he did put his head out in front like he did, I knew it might be kind of interesting all the way to the wire.

Q. Your thoughts on possibly traveling with the horse to Saudi Arabia and doing a race out there?
PETER A. EURTON: Oh, I don’t know. We might have a different horse for that, but we’re just going to take this in as much as we can and see where we go.

Q. Peter, Flavien, both of you, another big race on the West Coast, another great ride by Flavien. What about having his services? And, Flavien, your thoughts on riding for a great guy like Peter?
FLAVIEN PRAT: Well, Peter, he’s always easy to work with. Every time you have something to say, you can say it. And he’s going to either do it or — but at least he listens, and I think that’s great.

I mean, like I say, after the race we thought that we maybe should put a pair of blinkers, and we talk about it, and Peter agreed to do it. So it’s a great relationship doing that.

PETER A. EURTON: Thank you, Flavien, I appreciate that. No, to have a guy like Flavien on your horse, he’s as good as anybody that puts a leg over each side. So you know how great he is. He’s won a lot of great races for us. He can ride on the lead, off the lead. And he rides a smart race.

So the fact that he came back to ride him back like he did, I mean, it made us feel that much better. He had choices, trust me.

Q. Any of you up there, what does this do for an Eclipse Award in terms of who is going to be the two-year-old champion?
PETER A. EURTON: I will let the writers, you all, decide who wins those awards or the voters decide that. We won one with Champagne Room, which was incredible. And hopefully still is nominated and eligible. We’ll have to see what’s next for him, if we run again this year, wait and start his three-year-old campaign. But he deserves to have his name mentioned, and we’re excited about that, and we’ll see how it comes out.

Q. (No microphone.)
PETER A. EURTON: I haven’t given it any thought. See how he comes out of this race today and go from there. We’re so proud of him, and he really deserves this moment in the spotlight. So we’re very happy.

RYAN EXLINE: He’s ran a couple races back-to-back. So we’re just going to do what we do?

Q. Peter, in your heart of hearts, did you think he could make up the eight lengths on Eight Rings from last time and beat a horse like Dennis’ Moment today?
PETER A. EURTON: Honestly, I thought it was going to be tough, I really did. I wasn’t fooling anybody. He has the numbers. We have yet to see his best race or run a race like Eight Rings has ran, as well as the favorite.

So I think everybody sitting here next to me probably would have been content getting a placing against some of the best two-year-olds in the country. But we’re pretty happy the way it ended up.

Q. Ryan, I’ll ask you this, but this partnership also includes Susanna Wilson, Dan Hudock. Can you give us the back story some of how you all know each, how you all came together to own horses?
RYAN EXLINE: Storm has got a special group of owners. One, most of my family is involved, so that’s really special. My brother, my dad own this horse. Their first Breeders’ Cup horse. They bought into a handful with us, and this is the one to get there. To get to the finish line with family is always incredible.

And then great friends. Pete’s introduced us to some great clients that have had faith in us, our process buying horses at the yearling sale and two-year-old sale. And Susie Wilson and David Bernsen and Chris Newport and my brother Kyle, my dad Rick, Aaron Kennedy and Dan Hudock — did I miss anybody? We got a big group. It’s fun. We’re ready to hit the bar.

It’s a special group of people and for a special horse. And Pete has helped bring us clients, which has helped to grow our business. And he does an excellent job, as you saw, to condition a race horse. So we’re all very happy for each other.

Q. The fact that you got 20 points now on the Derby trail. Does this alter your thinking about what you would go forward in doing in terms of candidate races and things like that?
PETER A. EURTON: I’m thinking we probably would give it some thought. That’s everybody’s dream. I know this horse, pedigree-wise — you can go all day long — court Vision went a mile three-eighths to a mile and he went, you know, so it’s always in the back of your mind and it would be a whole lot of fun I’m sure.

Q. Peter, regarding the suggestion on the blinkers that Flavien gave you. How valuable when a jockey gives you information like that and do you look for riders who can offer you insights like that?
PETER A. EURTON: Oh, the intel you can get from a rider is so important. When they don’t have anything to say that’s when I kind of look the other way. But you ride these guys that have something to say, it’s really important.

Q. Who can speak to the horse’s purchase at OBS and maybe also if you know anything about the breeder, Stepping Stone Farm and you’ve been in contact with them?
PETER A. EURTON: So we bought this horse out of the April OBS sale. Rex begged me to buy it. We were looking at another one, which we bought also, but it was really a back ring buy. And for 60,000 we felt that we had a good mover and a good athlete. Wasn’t a ton of pedigree on the page but we got a horse that we felt had some talent. It was not Breeders’ Cup-nominated and so we, before his first race, the July deadline, we talked to the owners, we felt good enough about his work to pay the $12,000, which was the best $12,000 I’ve ever spent, to nominate to the Breeders’ Cup, to be able to run today. So that was a blessing that we did that. And yeah, so that’s where we picked him up at and great purchase, great buy, the team Zoe and Tesha, they do a great job of finding a great race horse at a great price.

Q. David, these guys are being very cool and I’m looking for someone I can bait into talking about the Kentucky Derby. Any thoughts on what could happen next spring?
DAVID BERNSEN: I think that the Kentucky Derby — well this horse obviously looks like he can handle two turns. The Kentucky Derby, the way it’s structured now with the point system, I think Ron said we had 20 points, I think we have 22 actually from the other race. But it used to be — I mean, you really have kind of to gauge a race, you have to go hunt for the points, something that Bob Baffert does better than anybody else.

I had a horse last year, Signal Man, we had 41 points or something and didn’t make the Derby. So I think, you know, Pete Eurton’s got to come up with a plan, if that’s what the plan is.

PETER A. EURTON: We got to figure that one out for sure. 20 points more? Maybe 25?

DAVID BERNSEN: I don’t know. 10 will probably be good this year.

PETER A. EURTON: If anybody knows anything about Stepping Stone Farms and all that work that they did before the sale. They’re right back there.

JIM POWER: Jim Power, I live in Lexington, Kentucky, and like they said earlier right now I only have two mares. This horse is a fourth generation, I raised his mother and I had her mother and I had her mother. And I just was happy that this horse got a chance to run his raised today. I can’t say enough for the small breeders. It doesn’t take a million dollar horse to win a race.

Q. Did you ever have a feeling going up to the sale that this was a special horse.
JIM POWER: Brian Wright is the person that brought this horse from the sale and I didn’t beg him, but I came real close to begging him because not only do I know Brian Wright, but I know the whole Wright family and I knew their father and they’re all excellent horse people. And I knew he would be in good hands and I called them over the winter a couple times just to ask how the horse was and they told me he was going to put him in the sale and he had an a fantastic worth at the sale and these people bought him and, wow, I can’t say enough.

Q. Wondering if you had any thoughts about whether you had a home track advantage, whether that helped you being based here.
PETER A. EURTON: Oh, absolutely, I think it’s a big advantage to train here and I mean for the guys that ship in, I know how bad it is if you’re not up in the race and to kickback is tough here, but it’s a track that I think you need to train on as anybody here that will tell you that, so to answer your question is definitely your question is definitely yes.