ELITE POWER: BC’22 Qatar Racing Sprint Press Conference

November 5, 2022

Irad Ortiz Jr. and Elite Power after their exciting victory. Photo by Courtney Snow for Past The Wire

Breeders’ Cup Press Release

THE MODERATOR: We have representatives of Elite Power, Juddmonte Farms, Garrett O’Rourke and Bill Mott. Elite Power seems to have really put it all together those last four starts. What made you think he was ready for this stage today?

BILL MOTT: Just the fact that he’s kept improving every start. He’s been very good at a variety of distances. He’s won from 6 to a mile, and actually a horse with a profile that’s very similar to probably the horse that won earlier, Cody’s Wish — not that you can compare the two but in the fact that both had come around very well this year. They were a little late developing but not without talent.

THE MODERATOR: Seems like the theme today. A little bit has been patience with a lot of the horses and this one has made you wait and test that patience. Just tell us a little bit about what it took to get him to this point.

BILL MOTT: I think he had baby issues. And we didn’t get him until his 3-year-old year. But he had typical stuff like shins that many horses have. And it was just a matter of waiting for them to get right.

And we brought him back this year, and he’s been sound as a bell of brass. And it’s been very rewarding to have him put in a string of races and of course ending up the season with the Breeders’ Cup.

THE MODERATOR: Garrett, for Juddmonte Farms, this is not a home bred. Elite Power, tell us about the purchase of this son of Curlin.

GARRETT O’ROURKE: Going back to when Prince Khalid was with us, he wanted to start buying some horses at the sales. Obviously, we got off to a good start with Arrogate and followed up with horses like this guy, beautiful horse from the very beginning.

And then, as Bill said, just had issues — he was a high-energy horse who just always seemed to manage to get himself in trouble. We went through the whole of his 2-year-old year, never got him off the farm.

Give a lot of credit to Scott Walker and his team in our training barn who had endless patience with him and he’s a tough horse to handle. And Bill has often heard me say it, even though he’s not a home bred I get so much satisfaction from myself and for all of the team that put so much time and effort into horses like this because most of the times we don’t get rewarded. When we do get rewarded, it’s very sweet.

Photo by Courtney Snow for Past The Wire

Q. The second Breeders’ Cup winner that you kept at Saratoga until last week. Can you talk about the benefits of staying there with horses like this and maybe with Cody’s Wish?

BILL MOTT: Both horses seemed to be doing very well up there. Physically they were well, and they’ve got a newly resurfaced racetrack that they did over a year ago. So, our second year on the racetrack. With a lot of the horses that have shipped out early and it left us to have almost a private training center.

There were a couple hundred head of horses there. But you get a very good racetrack. And when you can train on a good racetrack, when you have the benefit of that and you’ve got good horses and you don’t have to worry about missing a day or missing two or three days because of poor conditions.

So they were doing well and they breezed well over the track. We just put an easy breeze in this horse. He was in company, his final breeze coming into here, and Neil Poznansky was on him, and he looked beautiful.

If you look at the time he went in 50 and 4/5th or 51. But it was just the way he did it. He did it the right way. And obviously it was enough for him to keep him on edge and get him here today.

But as far as Saratoga goes, it gets a little cool, as it gets cool down here at night as well. So the conditions, probably the weather probably not that much different.

Q. Can you describe what you saw in him as a 3-year-old that allowed you to kind of keep the faith that he would eventually justify his purchase price after he finishes off the board in his debut and second race? What were you seeing?

BILL MOTT: Number one, you’ve got to look at the pedigree and you’ve got to look at the horse himself and what a beautiful animal he is. And we ran him at Churchill the first time. And I think he was obviously an immature horse, even it was late in his 3-year-old year and he’s running against horses that already had experience.

And he was very confused his first race. I think he needed one, just a little wake-up call. And we thought, well, we could probably squeeze one more race into him before the end of the Churchill meet last November. We ran him at a mile and he showed, when he turned for home, he got into the race. And he actually ran up toward the front and then got very tired at the furlong pole.

And he came out of the race with some shins that were bugging him. And we just backed off of him and gave him the winter. He didn’t do very much for two months, put him back in training and he hasn’t looked back since.

THE MODERATOR: Being a four-year-old, lightly raced as a four-year-old, what are the plans going forward with Elite Power?

BILL MOTT: Oh, we’re going to race him next year.

(Laughter)

THE MODERATOR: Could you concur?

GARRETT O’ROURKE: He comes to the table. Obviously that’s something to talk with our CEO, Douglas Erskine Crum is here, and obviously the family need to have a strong say on that. But we’re enjoying where we are with him, and maybe there will be more.

Q. Bill, the applecart horse comes through again. What gave you the confidence in this horse, out of all the horses you’re happy with, but this was the one that really, if somebody asked you —

BILL MOTT: The pressure every year is to give you the horse that would be a good price, and I can tell you that they might and he was the one. I guess I told Jenny last week, she said, who is the applecart horse? I said, every once in a while we’ve got to have a horse to upset the applecart.

I said this one might be the one to do it because his last race was so good. He came out of it in good shape. His hair — he still has a summer coat on him and looks good. Just looked like he was on the improve.

Q. Garrett, the last day of the Keeneland meet, I think the last race Juddmonte was in, you were second in the stakes, your horses had been running well, but you were the one that brought up that it had been a long time since you all had been shut out at a meet. Against that backdrop, talk about the satisfaction of winning this race today.

GARRETT O’ROURKE: Winning is always satisfactory, and obviously these days are an awful lot bigger than maidens and allowances at Keeneland.

But we had a lot of nice runners at Keeneland and came out with a big duck egg. But we knew we were coming into this Breeders’ Cup with some nice horses.

And this horse has delivered. And the winning never gets old. And the satisfaction of racing at the top end and ultimately winning is what we’re all — there’s a huge crowd here today and every participant is having the same dream, and we’re lucky enough to be here.

Q. Just talk about the trip, the way the race played out. You’ve got to be happy to see so many entertaining, the big horse up there —

BILL MOTT: Irad had commented after the race how well he broke. He said, boy, he said when he broke that way — he said, I was really feeling pretty good about it.

I’m going to need to go back and watch the rerun a couple more times to and study it a little bit more. But it looked like he was able to tip out and get a clear run through the stretch. And that’s really what this horse needed.

Once he gets his rhythm going and he still has a little tendency, when he’s going by horses, sometimes he’ll want to lay in on them a little bit, which I forewarned Irad about it. And I think as you could tell, he got him out away from everybody and got him down the middle of the racetrack. And he came with a good run.

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