September 25, 2022

2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Transcript

Belvoir Bay (GB) wins the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint 2019
Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

Saturday, November 2, 2019

  • Gary Barber
  • Peter Miller

THE MODERATOR: The winner is Belvoir Bay, six-year-old mare ridden today by Javier Castellano. And we’re joined now by trainer Peter Miller. Trained the Exacta there. This is his third win in the race in a row after Stormy Liberal went back to back the last few years. We’re pleased as always to have Gary Barber here who tapped off a big year winning the Preakness with War of Will.

Peter, how do you continue to have so much success with these turf sprinters?

RELATED: Belvoir Bay gives Miller a Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint three-peat

PETER MILLER: It’s good owners, like Gary Barber and Gary Hartunian, giving me the opportunity. Honestly, without the horses, I can’t do it. I’m just thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity the last three years to train some very good horses.

THE MODERATOR: Specifically coming off a five-month layoff, how do you get a horse sharp to win at the highest level after such a long break?

PETER MILLER: I followed something similar that we did with Stormy Liberal two years ago when he came off the long layoff. And I keep my old charts, and I pulled up the old charts from two years ago and took a look and kind of wanted to mirror that similar program.

THE MODERATOR: And how happy were you just watching the race? Tell us how you watched it unfold.

PETER MILLER: Watching it unfold, I was watching all three of them at the start because I had the two on the 11 and 12 post and the 6 in the middle, and they all broke great. When I saw them all break great, I was like: Whoa, that’s first release.

And then it looked like the other speed, Pure Sensation didn’t get away from there good. When we made the lead like that, I didn’t look at the fractions because I know this filly, she’s tough as nails. She’s 900 pounds soaking wet, and it’s all heart. She’s unbelievable.

THE MODERATOR: Mr. Barber, your impressions as well.

GARY BARBER: Firstly, Peter did an amazing job getting her ready, as you say, after five month’s layoff. But that’s his specialty. We know on a — especially on a 5 furlong turf race, you’re not like training for a mile and a quarter race, so you can get them further quicker. He told me we’ll get her ready there. And he was amazing.

And Javier Castellano rode a brilliant race. The 12 hole, I was worried about being very wide. He got over, got to the fence. Once she got to the fence on the lead, she’s done that three times before, and I knew that 5 furlongs would be tough to catch her.

It was a tremendous feeling for my whole family, my children, my mother, my sisters and my brothers, everybody. So I’m thrilled and couldn’t be happier.

THE MODERATOR: You were inviting some extra people into the Winner’s Circle as well, weren’t you?

GARY BARBER: A lot of people at Santa Anita, I wanted to share the moment with them during the days, during the Breeders’ Cup, and they take care of us. And also the people who — the grooms who walk the horses inside. I made the decision before, if I was lucky enough, invite as many of those people and not to lead the horses in, I wanted the grooms who live with them night and day, I wanted them to lead the horses in.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. There was a pretty harrowing story that Belvoir Bay was part of the San Luis Rey fire two years ago. How anxious were you guys at that time, and how far has she come since that moment?
GARY BARBER: It was quite scary because we had 26 horses, Peter (indiscernible) and literally he was driving down the freeway telling me: There’s a major fire. I’m running straight there. He didn’t care about anything but the horses. And I must have spoken to him about 20 times that day. Unfortunately you couldn’t find five or six of our horses. Belvoir was one of them, and we didn’t find her until a couple days in. And fortunately she was safe and someone had her, but she was all mixed up. She went to the clinic for two, three weeks. We gave her hyperbaric treatment and really nursed her back. And Pete did a masterful job, we won a couple of (indiscernible).

And then we went to Dubai, and she took on Blue Point. And if it was 5 furlongs, I don’t think Blue Point would have caught her. She has just been a dream to have. Sorry to see her go, but she’s done us proud. And Pete’s done an amazing job. And I’m just there to receive the accolades, but he’s done all the work.

THE MODERATOR: Peter, address that as well, thinking back to the San Luis Rey fire and what she was able to accomplish.

PETER MILLER: It was harrowing, we couldn’t find her. She was injured and had some burns and needed to be at the clinic for three weeks. And so part of the emotion with her. She’s just special.

Q. What clinic was that?
PETER MILLER: San Luis Rey Equine Clinic.

Q. Peter, in your brain, how do you process at this level of racing just the odds of winning the same race two years in a row, how unlikely — it’s almost impossible to consider.
PETER MILLER: Yeah, it’s a dream come true, really. So just —

GARY BARBER: In the words of Trevor Denman, it’s un-be-liev-able. Trevor Denman gave that calling, un-be-liev-able. Four syllables.

PETER MILLER: Blessed and happy.

Q. Peter, you said there might be emotion winning a Breeders’ Cup race three years in a row. How much of is it that, and how much of it is it just thinking about the fire and Belvoir?
PETER MILLER: It’s everything, it’s just everything. It’s a lot, everything combined. It’s a lot of work with these horses and a lot of effort. And Belvoir Bay is just very special.

Q. For the sake of those writing the stories, can you give us quick comments on your other two?
PETER MILLER: Ran super. Great ride. Javier obviously gave a super ride to Belvoir Bay, and I want to thank him and congratulate him. And Om running second, I was just tickled with the ride he got. And Stormy hung in there tough. He always shows up. He’s maybe lost a step or two. But he still tries his ass off. And just love these guys.

Q. Peter, when are we going to get the three-peat shirts, when are they going to print?
PETER MILLER: You won’t get them from me, but thank you. Pat’s got the trademark on three-peat. But it’s just fun. And I’m just thankful to the Breeders’ Cup. And Gary Barber and my team. I haven’t mentioned my team, but I’ve got the best team on the West Coast. Ruben Alvarado and Jehobany Alvarez, Gilbert who rides this filly every day, and just the whole team is tremendous. And I just want to thank them for the work they did.

Q. Peter, looking at her breeding, we’re going to claim her as ours, really, but you’ll pick (indiscernible), I’m sure. But any prospect at all we might see her at Royal Ascot? Would you be tempted by that at all?
PETER MILLER: She’s in the sale this week at Fasig-Tipton. That will be up to Mr. Barber. If she brings what he believes is fair market value, then I think she’ll be sold and probably go to the breeding shed. If not, you’ll see her again.