2018 BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF
Saturday, November 3, 2018
THE MODERATOR: We’re now in the press conference room with the happy connections of Monomoy Girl, who put on what was obviously a championship-clinching performance today in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. With us from left to right are Stuart Grant, also Michael Dubb, Sol Kumin of Monomoy Stables, and Mike Caruso of Bethlehem Stables
Congratulations to all four of you. This team in large part has been involved with a Breeders’ Cup winner before in 2015, Wavell Avenue, and I guess you guys have sort of connected on an across-the-board deal here just today, a third place finish with a Raving Beauty, second place terrific runner-up performance by World of Trouble in the Turf Sprint, and now, best of all, a victory with Monomoy Girl today. Congratulations again.
Michael, I’ll start with you. Just a jewel, a gem of consistency this filly is. The only time she didn’t win, she lost only because of DQ, so she crossed the wire first in all seven of her races this year. You’ve owned plenty of horses and a lot of good ones. Ever had a horse like this?
MICHAEL DUBB: You know, I don’t think it struck me how good she was until the coaching club this summer and the way she just went around there. Then I realized maybe this is one for the ages, not just a champion but one for the ages.
She’s clearly demonstrated that, but all the credit goes to Liz Crow, who picked her out, and Brad Cox, who just did a meticulous job. I have never seen a horse racing plan executed to the level of perfection, starting back in January. Every move he made was just perfect.
THE MODERATOR: Sol, you’ve got a piece of a lot of horses. Any one of them give you the feeling you just experienced 15 minutes or so ago?
SOL KUMIN: No, this is a special horse. When you think about kind of going on a journey with a horse like this, the partners make a big part of it. You know, the four of us and our partners on a lot of horses together, we’ve had a lot of good ones and a lot of not good ones, and when you get one like this, you really learn to enjoy it and enjoy spending the time together. Mike touched on some of it, but obviously this being the first ticket that Liz Crow really signed on a horse on her own when she went out and partnered with Brad, that’s really special, and we’re obviously excited about being part of that. Brad Weisbord, who’s been a big part of all of our programs and has really been incredible for us and driven a lot of value for us over the last handful of years. To be so involved with them and have them be part of this horse, and then you look at Brad Cox, his first Grade 1 win, being a part of that with a trainer, is a spectacular thing. He’s now won six, five of them with this filly, and it’s been awesome to be a part of.
THE MODERATOR: Brad Cox and Florent Geroux are busy right now getting Arklow ready for the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 11 minutes. Stuart Grant of the Elkstone Group, if you would, would you kind of take us through the race as you saw it? It seemed like the quintessential stalk and pounce move. Maybe she did the pouncing a little earlier than you expected, but how did you see the race just as an owner and a fan?
STUART GRANT: That’s exactly right. One of the things we learned, this is a great horse, but every horse seems to have sort of made that one — bit of weakness, and we find sometimes when she gets in front, she says, I’m in front and doesn’t try as hard as she could. So it was important that she got a stalking trip, which she broke beautifully. She found her way to the 2 path, sat and stalked the entire way, thought she moved a little early, but I was glad to see the 10 sort of move with her, so at least she knew, hey, someone is right on my shoulder, and once she did that, she was able to kick it into another gear, and they could have gone another eighth quarter, three eighths of a mile, and she wasn’t going to give up that lead.
That was Brad’s plan, Flo executed it beautifully, and we just were along for a beautiful ride. I just want to thank my partners, Mike Caruso who came out with us, and Sol and Mike, and we’ve been together for a long time, and it was exciting that this was Liz’s first ticket, but I think she may have written a few more tickets for us this year.
THE MODERATOR: Mike Caruso, the Oaks Breeders’ Cup Distaff double is not often one that’s completed. It was two years ago by Untapable, 12 years before that, A Shadow. What’s it like knocking off two storied, classic races like that?
MIKE CARUSO: Well, this is — it can’t get more exciting than this, but I tell people, you can’t really open a $300 bottle of wine and drink it by yourself. It’s just not a lot of fun. So unless you have partners. And I met Mike, and then from Mike I met Stu and Sol, and the truth is before I met Mike Dubb and these guys, the closest I ever came to a Grade 1 winner was I stepped in some manure outside of the barn, and that’s the closest I ever got. But since I’ve been with these guys, they’re just great, and they’re just fun to win with, and they’re fun to be with.
You know, we had a couple — we got beat on a couple today, but we’re here, and we’re racing in the big races. I never had that in 38 years of racing. It’s only since I met these guys, and Mike is right, we don’t just like each other, we love each other, so thank you.
Q. Mike, you talked about how Brad has been so meticulous with this horse. What has made him such a good fit for this horse?
MICHAEL DUBB: I think he’s a Kentucky guy, and being that he grew up down the road from Churchill, he was focused on the Oaks. We were fortunate enough to have the race here this year. But I mean, it’s just the rise of Brad Cox. I mean, I’m telling you, I’ve been in this a long time. I’ve never seen a plan executed to this perfection starting back with the first race, starting back with — they say sometimes some of the deals you make are the ones you don’t make, the best deals, and that, too.
I think sol also — he’s spent a lot of time, so I’m going to let sol take a crack at that, also.
SOL KUMIN: Yeah, I mean, you always come up with a plan with every really kind of top horse you have, and rarely are you able to follow it. I mean, things happen, right, they get sick and they get hurt and they don’t run where you think they’re going to run, and to exactly what Mike is saying, we have just been super fortunate where Brad has outlined this plan, and we have been able to — not win every race. We’ve been able to win most of them, but she’s just put herself in a position to keep coming back and stick with his plan.
When that happens, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s extremely rare, as you guys know from doing this, and he’s just an unbelievable job.
The guy is super talented, and he works as hard as anybody I’ve seen in this sport. He cares about the horse’s well-being. He’s competitive. He wants to win. When you ask him to go out to dinner, he’s mostly sitting in his barn watching replays and California races at night.
I mean, he is extremely focused, and to watch him — to Mike’s point, the rise of Brad Cox, you’re seeing it. This guy is here. He’s here to stay. He’s going to win a lot of big races, and we couldn’t be happier for him. He’s a terrific human being, and we’ve just been lucky enough to be part of the first big one for him.
STUART GRANT: What’s been really nice is each of us in our professions have really taken great pride in giving young talented people opportunities, and now all of a sudden we’ve had the ability to do that in horse racing, also, to give Liz Crow, someone who’s — young, very talented person an opportunity, Brad Weisbord, who started a new business, an opportunity. Someone like Brad Cox, who certainly showed that he had a talent, but then we gave him the horse so that he could really show the kind of talent he had. So that’s what’s made it really fun is we’ve enjoyed giving young people opportunities, and they’ve really come through for us, so it’s been doubly sweet.
Q. Michael, what is the plan for Monomoy Girl going forward?
MICHAEL DUBB: I think we plan to race her as a four-year old. I would — if Brad said to me he wanted to enter her in a race next week, whatever Brad wants. I mean, he’s the doctor, we’re the patient.
But I think she’s probably earned a well-deserved rest because, you know, let’s look at the three-year-old crop, boys and girls. Who was around in last November, and then starting on their respective trails in January and danced today? Look at the entries in the Breeders’ Cup races; where are they? So I mean, this is really some accomplishment, I believe.
SOL KUMIN: Yeah, I had a conversation with him before this race, to add to Mike, and I think we will take a look at the Pegasus. I think it’s a good distance for her. She gets a little bit of a break before the race. Speed favoring track at Gulfstream. She’ll get obviously a little bit of a weight break. I think that would be the only race that we would probably look at.
And then she definitely, to Mike’s point, will get a break and we’ll bring her back as a four-year old. I think it’s great that Brad has made great decisions about her, and he’ll consult with the four of us and get together, but I think that’s where his head was, at least before today.
Q. Sol, do you see a future dating game featuring Monomoy Girl and Justify?
SOL KUMIN: I’m staying out of that one.
THE MODERATOR: We want to say thank you, and congratulations once again to Team Monomoy Girl. Again, Stuart Grant, Michael Dubb, Sol Kumin and Mike Caruso. Congratulations on a terrific race, and just as importantly, a terrific year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports