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Breeders Cup 2015
Kentucky Derby 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Simon Crisford talking all things Godolphin

Good day HRN readers. Well I was planning on doing a preview on the up and coming Pennsylvania Derby, but in the middle of writing I got a call from Godolphin’s Racing Manager Simon Crisford.
I had sent some interview questions in via e-mail, so to get the call was definitely a very good, but unexpected surprise. However, as a writer we are expected to go with the flow of things and that is precisely what I did.
During the interview I asked several questions regarding this weekend’s Cotillion and Pennsylvania Derby, along with some questions pointed towards any Breeders Cup plans.
On the subject of this weekend’s happenings at Parx, I asked him one of the main questions that is on everyone’s mind…Can Questing and Alpha run as effectively outside New York as they do in-state? His answer, summed-up, is you don’t know until you run. He noted that the main reason they have stayed in New York is not because their horses take to the surface better than others, but because that is where the best racing was. “The Travers is the Travers and the Alabama is the Alabama,” said Crisford, emphasizing the importance of those races.
On Questing he didn’t quite say whether he believed the distance was a concern or not, but he did note how hard it was for a horse to put together back to back big performances. Questing has put together three top performances, termed by Crisford as “Wow, wow, wow.” For a horse to do that, and to do it at three different distances is no easy feat. Now, they are just hoping that she can continue to carry that form into the Cotillion.
On the issue of weight, yes, Crisford does believe the seven pounds makes a difference. My Miss Aurelia is an unbeaten champion, whom Crisford and Godolphin have the ultimate respect for. “You cannont dismiss the quality of an unbeaten champion,” says Crisford, “You wouldn’t believe a champion would get seven pounds from her own age group or gender, but those are how the conditions are written.” Crisford says they know it would be a challenge, but have chosen to accept the challenge.
In the Pennsylvania Derby, when asked on who he believed would provide them with the stiffest challenge, Crisford noted that while not a lot separated Golden Ticket from Alpha, the horse he believes should bear watching is Macho Macho. Crisford termed him as "dangerous" and had this to say about the Steve Assmussen trainee, “You can pick through and see that he is the horse to watch.” However, he believes if Alpha is able to carry the progression that we have witnessed from the Jim Dandy to the Travers into this weekend’s race he will be very competitive.
After talking about Parx, and discussing the elements and expectations of those races, it was only natural for the conversation to progress to the Breeders Cup. Some stables like to head out to the track where the event is held, believing that it helps acclimate their horses. That will not be the case with Godolphin, “They will stay in New York longer, before shipping,” said Crisford who also said they would not breeze after they arrive at Santa Anita.
Outside of Godolphin’s main two we discussed some of the other Breeders Cup contenders and what they brought to the table. “They all have different elements,” said Crisford, saying that It’s Tricky was a very tough mare who “shows up every day.” On that subject, the next day we should see It's Tricky resurface is the Beldame at Belmont Park.
Fortify, Godolphin's Juvenile hope, was also discussed. Crisford believes the colt received a lot of experience from the Hopeful. “He got a good education from the Hopeful. He was down inside and had a lot of dirt in his face.” Heading into the Champagne Crisford believes the Hopeful experience and the added distance will only move his colt up.
My last question for Mr. Crisford was who we might be seeing back in 2013. The only definite he could give me was Fortify. The others will finish the season and await Sheikh Mohammed and his evaluation.
On a side note, I would just like to wish Godolphin good luck in the upcoming weeks, and in the Breeders Cup. Also, I would like to thank Simon Crisford, it was a pleasure getting to interview you, sir.
Simon Crisford photo courtesy of www.godolphin.com


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Older Comments about Simon Crisford talking all things Godolphin...

No. One of the questions I asked was who he thought would have the best chance to bring home a BC win, he said that they all brought different elements and that they all have a good chance or else they would not be there.
Did he lean 1 way or the other on who he thought was better...Questing or It's Tricky, since they'll probably meet each other in the Ladies Classic?
Well I'll give the credit to Crisford. He could have just answered my questions on the e-mail instead of calling, but he was kind enough to call. Very cool to see that even larger operations have good, polite, willing people in them.
Very nice interview, good questions, outstanding job to get hold of the racing manager of one of the best known racing outfits in the world
vodkak, while i was talking to Crisford, he mentioned that the Sheik is more of a wait and see type of man, who will take things as they come. Fortify, is the definite because he is three and there is not an owner in the world who does not want to see if their Juvenile can return well enough as a three year old to win the Derby. However, the others heading to the Cup are already three or older, meaning he could retire or keep them running based on what he sees from them in the future.
Very interesting and informative interview. A little puzzled tho why only Fortify is a deff to return in 2013.
Very good questions, DH. Interesting answers, too.
Thanks Candice. :) Very much enjoyed talking with Mr. Crisford. Very good surprise.
great interview!

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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