Amelia Green’s Enjoyable Journey

December 20, 2022

Amelia Green breezing Life Is Good (Photo courtesy of NYRA)

Best of 2022: Amelia Green

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Just three live race days remain in 2022 to complete a remarkable year of racing action on the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit. To celebrate the season, the NYRA Press Office checked in with a selection of racing personalities to get their reflections on the memorable year.

Amelia Green, an assistant trainer and exercise rider for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher for the past five seasons, has enjoyed a tremendous year. The native of Nottingham, England, attended the British Racing School and worked as a jockey in England and California before joining the Pletcher barn.

Green has served as exercise rider on a number of Grade 1-winners this year, including last year’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Malathaat, who closed out her career this year with Grade 1 wins in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga Race Course, along with the Spinster and Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland.

She also helped prepare this year’s Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup champ Life Is Good, who won Grade 1s in the Whitney at Saratoga and Woodward at Belmont at the Big A; the talented filly Nest, who notched Grade 1 scores in the Ashland at Keeneland along with the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama at the Spa; and the gritty Mind Control, who closed out his career with a head score in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at the Big A.

How would you summarize your 2022 campaign?

Green: “I’m very lucky to be part of Todd’s operation and I’m thankful to him for letting me ride these horses every day. All credit to him for training these horses, I just get to go around there and feel their ability on a daily basis. 

“I’m happy for the whole team. It’s a team effort between all the other assistants and Todd himself. It’s been a year to remember and hopefully Todd’s in contention for the Eclipse Award in January.”

How do you prepare yourself mentally and physically to ride such important horses?

GreenI’m very laid back. Not a whole lot bothers me, so I don’t overthink things. I’m very lucky with that. I don’t get too worked up about situations. With my fitness, riding seven horses every day is my workout. It keeps me fit!”

Life Is Good is known as a very strong-minded horse. What’s it like to sit on such a fast, demanding athlete?

Green: “It was amazing to feel his ability. Especially on breeze days, you’d get goose bumps just breezing him because of the ability and power he has. You could tell he was just well within himself. I’ve said before to a few people that he wasn’t the strongest horse I’ve ever ridden, it’s more that you had to baby him into thinking it was his idea to relax.

“The whole journey from the Breeders’ Cup last year into the Pegasus was the most exciting time. Winning the Dirt Mile [last year] and then winning the Pegasus World Cup and beating Knicks Go was probably my favorite win of all. The way he did that was my favorite of all of his wins.”

The regally-bred Malathaat is a superstar on the track, but what was she like at the barn?

Green: “She’s an absolute sweetheart at the barn. She’ll have her head out of the stall pretty much all day, every day, just waiting for someone to feed her a peppermint or give her a neck scratch. She has so much character and she’s such a loving filly. I’ve never been around a filly like that before. You could do anything with her. You could lay in her stall all day and she would never hurt you. I can’t wait to see her babies.”

A number of your top mounts have retired, including Malathaat, but you have a budding superstar in Julia Shining, who won the Grade 2 Demoiselle here on the Cigar Mile undercard – how does she compare to her older sister?

Green: “She’s very similar to Malathaat, but more of a compact version. She’s not small by any means, it’s that Malathaat was so overpowering and big for a filly. She’s the same in the way of demeanor – she’s nice and sweet and much the same in that way. But Malathaat will hold a place in my heart for a long time.”

The popular Mind Control closed out his career with a Grade 1 win, battling gamely to the wire between Grade 1-winners Get Her Number and White Abarrio with the Chad Brown-trained Grade 1-winner Zandon settling for fourth. Tell us about Mind Control’s talents and was it satisfying to see him retire on top?

Green: “I was happy to see him go out with a Grade 1 win. He was pretty tough in the morning and wanted to do what he wanted to and was not letting you tell him otherwise. I think that’s what made him so tough in his races. He just had such a fighting mentality. He wants to be the boss and he wants to win. He’s in charge and wants everyone to know it.

“It was a good weekend with Julia and him winning on the same day. It puts the whole barn in a good mood. I actually said to Todd the other day that I knew as soon as he got between those two horses, I knew he wasn’t going to let those two horses beat him. The question was if Chad’s horse would come flying on the outside and if he couldn’t see him. When he gets in a fight, he’s tough.”

They can’t all be Grade 1-winners. Is there a non-Grade 1-winner you love to work with and why?

Green: “We had a horse that got claimed named Never Change. I loved him as a 2-year-old and I told Todd he was going to be my Derby horse. He obviously didn’t pan out, but he was one of my favorite horses in the barn. That’s one sad thing about the racing industry, they can’t all be Champions but some of the characters stay with you. There’s still horses you enjoy riding even if they don’t have all the talent in the world. I love horses that enjoy their job and love to stand out on the track. Just good-feeling, happy horses. They’re my favorite type of horses.”

What advice would you give to a young person wanting to break into the sport?

Green: “Just go for it. If you have the opportunity to go to a farm and learn how to gallop, that’s the best route to go. And then just reach out to trainers. Most trainers will take on a new person and give them an opportunity if they show they’re willing enough to do so. There are opportunities out there if you’re hungry enough for them.”

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