THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf was Oscar Performance. And we’re joined now by trainer Brian Lynch and jockey Jose Ortiz. Congratulations to you both. Thank you for joining us here.
I would just like to ask both of you if you could just take us through the race from your perspective, Brian, can we start with you, and just describe it in your words.
BRIAN LYNCH: Having a bit of a rapport with Jose, both coming out of New York, we got to know each other quite well. Jose fits this horse to a T, and last night we got the chance to sit down and have a little talk about after handicapping the race that we figured that the horse coming out of Chicago, Larry Rivelli’s horse, showed speed, and from the outside post, we felt that our goal was technical enough and it was critical we get a good position going into the first turn, and it just went perfect. Jose was where he needed to be. We cornered well. I was just saying to Jose, if he wants to replay, a lot of them got so wide going into the first turn, just got him to switch off going down the backside, and, you know, the pace was on in the kitchen. That horse of Rivelli’s was, you know, 22 the first quarter, I believe. So it was an honest pace. I’d seen Jose take a look under his shoulder there about the three and a half, and I thought, he’s got horse. When he joined him and it started to edge away from him around the turn, and he sort of stole a few lengths at the bottom of the lane there. I thought, well, looked behind, and they were throwing leather at the rest of them. And I thought they’ve got the work cut out to catch him from here. And Jose gave him just a textbook, beautiful ride and got it done. Just absolutely thrilled as I am for my first Breeders’ Cup. I’m thrilled to have done it with Jose.
THE MODERATOR: Jose, what can you add to that in terms of being able to sit off the speed of Wellabled today?
JOSE ORTIZ: Yeah, we talked about it last night, and he played out just like we planned it. That was the key, I think. The key was going through the first turn, have a clean break, and get up a good position in the first turn, and we did that. And he re-lapped well behind Wellabled. I was a little concerned about that, because he had been on the lead lap two times. But he re-lapped well, and when I past the three-quarter pole, I felt like I had a lot of horse under me, when I let him go in the quarter pole, he did very well.
THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by the owners John and Jerry Amerman. And Jerry bred this horse as well. So I’m going to open it up for questions.
Q. I think the Englishman on the podium mentioned Royal Ascot. But from a different perspective, is that something that’s really in the cards for this horse? Also, have you considered dirt at all with him?
BRIAN LYNCH: We haven’t really considered dirt. He’s a Kitten’s joy out of a theatrical mare, so his pedigree’s definitely top and bottom grass. So at this stage we’ll talk with John and Jerry about the next step, but he definitely deserves a nice little break after today’s performance. You know, that’s his fourth start as a two-year-old. I think that’s plenty for him. And we look forward to him in the spring.
THE MODERATOR: John, congratulations to you. We’d like to get a comment on how it feels to win another Breeders’ Cup Race for you.
JOHN AMERMAN: Well, it’s the ultimate thrill in winning a Breeders’ Cup, there’s no question about it. We won with a horse named Adoration back in 2003. That was 13 years ago. I thought it was a very good sign when we were in post 13, and I got to give full credit to, well, the people down in Florida who broke the horse, Barry Berkelhammer, he came up to me and said, You’ve got one special horse, and that was a long time ago. Then we turned him over to this guy, and he’s done well. And he turned it over to Jose who has ridden that horse so beautifully in three straight races.
And I really got to give the best congratulations to my wife, Jerry, who bred the horse.
BRIAN LYNCH: First and foremost, John.
THE MODERATOR: Jerry, we’d love to hear from you. Congratulations on a homebred winning a Breeders’ Cup Race.
JERRY AMERMAN: It is very exciting. But I’ve also got to say thank God the horse is faster than I am. I was the last person here.
Q. His first start, if he had such a good reputation and shown so much, do you think he just was a horse that needed the experience of having a race?
BRIAN LYNCH: Yeah, I mean, I’m probably statistically not a real first-time-out sort of trainer, and he broke — we can’t blame anything on the first jockey that rode him. He broke well, but got shuffled back. Inevitably we thought he ran well that day. Probably thought he could have run a little better than he did, but he did run well. He had a lot of interest in his finish. He wasn’t beaten that bad. So we did expect a little bit more out of him first time, but it was just the victim of circumstances, got in traffic, first-time-out blues.
He was damn sure ready the second time.
Q. He races without Lasix, is that a principle of the owners? Is this something that you do with all your two-year-olds, or was this a horse that there was no reason for him to run on Lasix?
JOHN AMERMAN: You’re talking about medication?
JOHN AMERMAN: Well, I don’t want to get into a deep subject because there are so many different viewpoints. But if the horse is doing well, there is no need for medication when they’re two years old, and that’s the principle we’ve followed. If something goes wrong, obviously it’s a different issue and we might use Lasix. But until then, we stay without it.
BRIAN LYNCH: Yeah, he’s a very clear-winded horse. He’s never shown a sign or a trace of pulmonary hemorrhage, and on days like this you appreciate a horse that isn’t on Lasix as hot as it is and the dehydration factor.
Q. Mr. Amerman, I just want to follow up on the plans for next year. What will you go through in terms of a calendar or what process will you go through in determining the moves for this horse next year, and from your part, is Royal Ascot in the plans?
JOHN AMERMAN: Well, couple things, one, obviously this is a great thrill, and you step back and you have conversations with Brian and Bob Feld, our Bloodstock agent, and Jerry, of course. And so we’ll give him some time, and he’ll go back at it in the spring.
Someone came up to me, forgive me, I didn’t catch the name, but wonderful, nice man. He said, oh, are you going to come to Ascot in the summer? And I said, well, talk to me after the race (laughter).
We’d love to, but that’s a long ways off, and we’ll have a few journeys before that. So I hope it works, but who knows.
THE MODERATOR: Bob Feld, care to add anything?
BOB FELD: No, just how lucky I am to be associated with the Amermans for so long. I think it’s over 20 years. They’re special people. They donate so much money behind the scenes and it’s great for the game. They claim horses to rehab them and give them to people off the track thoroughbreds. They’ll even retire horses when they could drop them in for a tag. But when the horses have done well for them, they don’t even drop them in for a tag. They’re just great people. I’m glad to be associated. I was involved in buying the dam of this colt. She was a really nice race horse. I really believed in my heart she was going to beat Zenyatta that year we bought her. She ran a great three for us and got hurt. So I definitely think she passed the talent we saw in her as a racehorse. So, so happy for them. I’d like to drop a special note about Mill Ridge Farm, and Healy works with Jerry for breeding the horses, and Healy gets a shout out too.
JERRY AMERMAN: That’s one thing I’d like to add. Mill Ridge did a wonderful job of taking care of mom and babies, and I appreciate everything they’ve done. And Healy has been a great source of —
JOHN AMERMAN: A good friend.
JERRY AMERMAN: A great source of information, and a good friend.