Could 2013 be the Year of Bill Mott?

Could 2013 be the Year of Bill Mott?
Photo: Arron Haggart/Eclipse Sportswire
Ajina, Theatrical and the legendary Cigar are just a few on the long list of great runners Bill Mott has trained over the last 35 years, but 2013 is shaping up to be the best yet. This seems tough to believe for 3-time Eclipse Award winner for top trainer, but if the Gulfstream Park meeting is any indicator, 2013 should be off the charts for Mott.
Best known for his development of grass runners and distaffers, Mott seems to have those bases covered thus far in 2013. Mott swept Gulfstream Park’s marathon turf stakes last Saturday with Starformer (G3 Very One Stakes) and rising star Amira’s Prince (G2 Mac Diarmada Stakes). On Sunday the barn’s big star, Royal Delta, made her seasonal debut by cruising to a 5-length victory in the Sabin Stakes. This should set her up perfectly to make her next start in the Dubai World Cup, and if all goes well she will attempt to match mighty Zenyatta as the only females to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic this fall.
Most would think Mott’s streak of 3 straight Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic wins would end this year if Royal Delta runs in the Classic, but Mott appears to have some rising stars on the horizon to keep the streak going. 3-year-old fillies Emollient and Flashy Gray both made their seasonal debuts when winning allowance races at Gulfstream Park by open lengths. Both fillies are bred to get a route of ground, so the short-term goal of the Kentucky Oaks is very realistic. If Emollient or Flashy Gray can fill Royal Delta’s shoes, Mott could be in position to become the only trainer to pull off the BC Ladies’ Classic/Classic double in the same year, twice.
In most years, Mott has at least one runner make a splash in the male handicap division and this year is no different. Last year’s 3rd and 4th place finishers in the BC Classic, Flat Out and Ron the Greek, are back for 2013 campaigns. Though Flat Out’s performance in last weekend’s Donn Handicap was rather, well…flat, expect the 2-time defending Jockey Club Gold Cup champ to round into form once he moves north during the summer/fall. Ron the Greek made a stylish return to the track in 2013 when winning the Sunshine Millions Classic by 11 ¼ lengths and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 115. The 6-year-old veteran is on track to defend his Santa Anita Handicap title next month.
Though not known for precocious runners, Mott revealed Calistoga and Close Hatches during the Gulfstream meet. Both 3-year-old fillies dominated their debut races displaying stakes quality, but the Kentucky Oaks would be very ambitious considering their lack of seasoning and with Emollient & Flashy Gray already in Mott’s holster. 
Second only to D. Wayne Lukas in Breeders’ Cup earnings, Mott looks break that record, like many of his runners have over the years, if the last two months of the year are anything like the first two.

Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, Nebraska. From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10. Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for playing the races has risen to a new level. Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch. My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping Pick 4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do. I encourage others to post picks they like, too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions. That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal. Best of luck.

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