Transcript of the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Press Conference with Peter Fluor, Bob Baffert and K.C. Weiner

November 5, 2021

Q. Congratulations on Corniche, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. And Bob Baffert, we’ll start with you first. With one scratch of Jack Christopher, he moves to the 1 post but still very far out in the 11, was it always the plan to send him to the front for Mike Smith?

BOB BAFFERT: Yeah, I believe he came out of the – the 1 hole was open, they didn’t move him in. So he came out of the 12.

So, you know what, I felt bad for Chad Brown when I hear that because I have been in those positions and you don’t want to see that. You see horses scratching and it takes away from the Breeders’ Cup — these races are really hard to win. You have to be lucky. You have to have a good horse. There’s not a lot of margin for error.

We knew we had a really good horse, been training well. When he drew the 12, I was, I wasn’t watching the draw. I got a text from Peter, and there was a little emoji on it that this doesn’t look good. And I forgot the draw was going on.

But I called Mike Smith. I said, Mike, we have the 12. What do you think? I can do it. Don’t worry. I said I told Peter, called Peter. Mike says he’ll get it done from there.

So you know what, good horses, they find a way to win. We’re very fortunate that he’s a really good horse, really talented. My other horses are really talented. I was hoping to run one, two, three, because they were all doing so well. But you just don’t know until you get them all in there together.

But those fractions are pretty hot. They were pretty hot when I saw 46. And turning for home, this horse has a beautiful way of, he just, his movement, he just jumps a long ways. His mechanics, he almost has like mechanics like American Pharoah. He’s just got that long loping stride. He covers a lot of ground. Because he’s not a little horse, but he’s an average size horse.

But just an absolutely — today he was really, in the paddock, they were all, but he looked like he was really on his toes. He’s a laid back horse. He has a great mind.

And I was telling them that after the draw he sent me an emoji, but I didn’t tell them the emoji.

But, no, he was, I was worried about the 12, but you can’t. There’s nothing you can do about it, so we just brought him up here. We focused, brought him in there, and we were doing great. I told Peter, Don’t worry, we’re ready, they’re all turning well. So I felt good about coming down here. The horse knows the track. He’s a smart horse.

But I’m just happy for these guys. They have supported me. They stuck with me, and it means a lot to me. They’re good friends of mine. And, you know, they put up their money for this horse, and so it’s a lot of pressure for a trainer, and to get a horse like this, to have the talent like this, I’m, we’re talking about first round number one draft choice, and he’s got a good team around him. And he’s got great team. I have great team, so it’s — and it works.

Q. And a great horse and now the ownership, Speedway Stables, Peter Fluor, K.C. Weiner, tell me about the horse a bit because 1.5 million, you bought him at the sale, I remember that sale, and your team had picked him out. So, a hefty price and obviously now has made every bit of that but tell me a little bit about that process of purchasing this horse.

PETER FLUOR: K.C. and I couldn’t be there. We were working, so we had talked to Marette, watched the breeze show several times, and had a good time, but what K.C. and I talked about was the fact that how he did it.

And so, this is the high end of anything we’ve done, and we sat back and talked about it and talked about what we have seen over the last four, five years at the sales, and we participated in the sales, and we both looked at each other and said, This horse has some attributes that we haven’t seen, how he did it, the 10 flat, so we were excited about it.

And then Marette was on the phone and said what she thought it would bring and K.C. and I said, Let’s have some fun and so we just said keep bidding.

Q. So you surely had fun today, right?

K.C. WEINER: We had a lot of fun. It was a wonderful deal. It’s the Breeders’ Cup and Lauren and Aidan O’Meara and their father, Jeff, have done just a wonderful job of working to raise race horses and we were fortunate enough that Marette saw this horse and realized its potential and suggested it to us. So, it was really a lovely deal.

And then we were very fortunate to have Bob and his whole crew shepherd this horse through the training and growth.

Q. Bob, you’ve got the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, and you currently can’t go there. How do you reconcile all that? And then, to the owners, do you have a plan B?

BOB BAFFERT: Well, the Derby is a long ways off and so right now my focus was just getting here and we’ll see how it plays out. And there’s still a lot of things going on and so – and, really, there’s not much to talk about that right now, just, like I said, the main thing is to keep him healthy, that’s number one, we have a really good horse, and we have to keep him healthy and the Derby, that’s a long ways off still, so a lot can happen between now and then and we’ll see how it — we got to see how it plays out.

PETER FLUOR: All we have a plan A. This race was such a big race for Corniche and what it means to him and his two-year old standing. And we have said — and Bob’s doing a great job and we have a better chance of winning this race with our friend Bob Baffert and that’s what happened. So we’re kind of enjoying moment and down the road we’ll focus on that later on, but thank you.

Q. Peter, building off that, did you ever consider moving Corniche to a different trainer and did you feel that the testing protocols that Bob’s horses had to go through were maybe overly stringent a little bit?

PETER FLUOR: Actually, K.C. and I never thought about moving the horse to a different trainer. We talked to Bob right after we bought the horse, he liked the horse, and so the horse was always coming to Bob. And three races and kind of look how he’s done, so, with a great deal of thanks to Bob, and that’s where we are. Thank you.

Q. Bob, a time plan, it’s November now, there’s an investigation going on, do you have any idea how long more that process is going to take, because if you’re going to be preparing a horse for the Kentucky Derby obviously things come around quite quickly.

BOB BAFFERT: I don’t know. I couldn’t really answer that because we don’t know. At this moment I don’t know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Photo: Connections for Corniche, winner of the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. (Bill Denver/Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

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