June 15, 2021

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Transcript 2020

Vequist wins the Juvenile Fillies 2020
Vequist (Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson)

Transcript for the Nov. 6th, 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland.

  • Tom McGrath
  • Gary Barber
  • Butch Reid

THE MODERATOR: Juvenile Fillies, Vequist, congratulations Gary Barber, Butch Reid. I was listening to the post-race interview and a great story Butch, with her. You’ve had her in your stable and then she gets bought, but they keep her with you. That must really have made you feel just that ultra confidence.

BUTCH REID: Yeah, that doesn’t happen often with a trainer, so I can’t thank them enough. Adam Wachtel and Mr. Barber for giving me shot like this and I’m glad I was able to pay them back at least in a small part.

THE MODERATOR: Very big part. And Vequist, a daughter, Nyquist, who won the Juvenile right here at Keeneland, so certainly a fondness there in the family for the track. But this filly, first time going two turns, what has she shown you that made you think today would not be a problem?

BUTCH REID: Well, she hasn’t shown me anything. She showed me no limits is what she showed me. She just trains like — the first time I breezed her out of the gate back at Parks, we were just supposed to go an easy half a mile, but she went 48, a minute, 1:12, 1:25 going seven-eighths. So we had a pretty good idea that she could go she could click off.

THE MODERATOR: Take us kind of through the race with, what did you tell Joel going into this? It looked like she had the perfect trip, but for a two-year-old to be inside, that can be daunting.

BUTCH REID: Well, I pretty much left it up to him. The only thing I told him, I thought she would be forwardly placed and I told him to break her sharp and if she’s on the lead, that’s fine too because last time she came out of the gate a little bit slowly and I think it compromised her trip a little bit. So he broke her sharp and he just tucked her in perfectly on the fence. And I told him, Don’t worry about anything because nothing bothers this filly so, gets a little dirt in her face, it doesn’t bother her a little bit.

THE MODERATOR: She’s certainly very brave. I know you have to get back out for another race. You’re very busy this weekend with nine runners. The first one kicks off with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup. You’ve always had success, but your first one was here at Keeneland and now this today.

GARY BARBER: Unbelievable. I have a lot of people to thank. Obviously, Butch at the top. But my partner, Adam Wachtel and Tom for allowing us to buy in. Great partners. And I was really adamant that we keep it with Butch and Adam I discussed it. He knows her better than anybody else. I also told Joel, because Luis was on him and we had a choice of rider, to go him, and Joel had done so well for us in the past and then went on tours for me. But also you talked about the inside. I actually felt that speed was holding very well on the inside. So Joel and I were discussing it a lot in the pre-race that, you break well, stay inside, don’t try and go outside because it’s, the speed was holding, and he rode it perfectly. Perfectly. So I’ve got nothing but gratitude. I put a lot into this game and these are the moments you wait for. Up until this point today, it wasn’t going too well, but now from the basement to the penthouse.

THE MODERATOR: And now a new trainer relationship here with Butch Reid. GARY BARBER: And absolutely. Butch had my stallion and moved to Pennsylvania and so I got a bunch of foals and yearlings and Butch is going to be the trainer.

THE MODERATOR: Sometimes things just work out. I know you need to go, Mr. Barber, but we’ll bring in –

GARY BARBER: That would be great. And I just want to say thank you to my entire family who supported me. My mom who is 91 and watching and having a heart attack. Hi to my wife, my kids, my three kids, my while family, my brother and my nephews, yeah, who goes with me everywhere. So during COVID it was hard to get here but, thank you, Butch, you were excellent.

BUTCH REID: Really appreciate the opportunity.

THE MODERATOR: You’ve put so much into the business and we owe a lot of gratitude to you as well. GARY BARBER: Thank you. I love this game. I love it. THE MODERATOR: We’re going to bring in owner and breeder, correct?

TOM MCGRATH: Yes.

THE MODERATOR: That’s your seat. So Butch originally Thomas, Mr. Ma great shot sends you this filly and you said from the beginning she was special.

BUTCH REID: Absolutely. I mean, I don’t know from the beginning, but obviously she was the kind that — we get 10 to 15 fillies every year, and you could tell that she was a little different than the rest of them.

THE MODERATOR: And so any question about when she her first race, and she finishes second, but you get this interest to sell her. What were you thinking at that point?

TOM MCGRATH: Well, you’re not used to getting calls when you lose a race and so they were, obviously, they’re at the top of the game and I have a small, you know, outfit. So you’re flattered, first of all, but second of all, it just made a lot of sense and this has been a really kind of a, for the people that aren’t big players in the game, it’s been a tough year. So we were looking at things and trimming where we could and then, like I don’t think I’ll ever be able to exaggerate 2020, because you go from where we’re at in the spring to in the fall and sitting here is I’m in disbelief.

THE MODERATOR: Out of some bad can come good and certainly 2020 now for the Breeders’ Cup victories. I want to head up to the press box and see if they have any questions they can text down to me. Meanwhile, waiting on that, I see you bred this filly and do you own the mare as well? And what are the plans now? Obviously maybe take a look at Nyquist again?

TOM MCGRATH: Yeah, certainly we have been talking about Nyquist. And I just wanted to really get this race behind us and we were hoping for good things and, yeah, and good things happened. So we have some discussions to have about it and where we’re going to go. And I just think back on it and I have to, I give credit to my relationship at Brookdale and Freddie Seitz, it was his idea originally to go to Nyquist, and he was, it worked out well. So…

THE MODERATOR: Worked out very well. Butch, I have a question for you. She’s a Kentucky-bred, but you’re based in Pennsylvania and what does this victory mean for Pennsylvania racing and does it prove that good horses can still be based in the Keystone State?

BUTCH REID: Absolutely. In fact, on the way over I was, I had a little bit of a win streak on my shoulders, because this is the third consecutive year that a Parks horse has won a Breeders’ Cup race. So there was a little pressure in that regard, people, the local reporters in Philadelphia were telling me, hey, you’re responsible for the streak now. So I’m glad I was able to get it done. Parks is a top-class establishment and I’m just glad to see their names get in the newspaper once in a while.

THE MODERATOR: You’ve had success in the Breeders’ Cup before with a victory with Afleet Again.

BUTCH REID: Yeah, I’m 2 for 2 in Kentucky. Maybe I’m in the wrong spot.

THE MODERATOR: Speaking of Kentucky, so obviously Nyquist pulled the Juvenile and the Derby double. So what about Vequist with the Juvenile and the Oaks?

BUTCH REID: Well we didn’t really make specific plans for that, but, roughly, me and the three owners had gone over that. She will be getting a nice little break right now, she will be heading down to Barry Eisaman’s place down in Ocala for a month or 45 days of just getting some sunshine and picking on some grass and then we’ll start working toward next year’s campaign with the Oaks as the first big goal.

THE MODERATOR: For you Thomas, can you elaborate a bit more on the decision to sell and how much of that was influenced by, as you mentioned, with small stables and the economic conditions and COVID, would you have sold otherwise in other conditions?

TOM MCGRATH: Yeah, I think that they came in and they offered, it was a really fair offer and I think I would have been foolish not to say yes, especially being able to keep 25 percent of the horse and be associated with the two of them, so…

THE MODERATOR: And was that always part of the deal, that you would stay in on her, be able to stay in?

TOM MCGRATH: It was, yes, from the beginning.

THE MODERATOR: That worked out very well. And, Butch, I think we talked a little bit, but you said you had no concerns about her going through turns. Did her race in the Frizette give you more confidence with that, the way she ran?

BUTCH REID: Absolutely. Even the way she finished, that horse that beat her is a very nice horse and we were lucky enough to turn the tables on her today. But they’re all competitive, that was a small, but very high quality race, so to be able to compete against those kind of horses is really a good thing and felt really good.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations to all of you, to all of the owners and to your entire team and best of luck with her in the future look forward to seeing her.