Trainer Mott aiming take at Breeders' Cup sweep
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 of them.
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 1 1⁄8-mile race. She could help Mott make history, too, as the first trainer to win the race three straight years and fifth time overall.
But two undefeated fillies are in her way.
Awesome Feather is 10-0, and 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 1¼-mile race is Game On Dude, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and co-owned by Joe Torre, former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
“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.”
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.
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 earlier in the year and his racing stable was sold. Royal Delta was sold to Benjiman Leon for $8.5 million.
“It was a sad day when I had to walk her out of my barn down to that van and send her to Keeneland,” Mott said. “It was a little bit like I was walking to my best friend's funeral.”