Breeders’ Cup Mile Transcript

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We’re live in the interview room. Frankie, congratulations. Your 13th Breeders’ Cup win ever today aboard Expert Eye. Take us through the trip if you would.

LANFRANCO DETTORI: In the past it was — he had difficulty in the stalls, and he used to be very rank early doors. I wanted to jump. I didn’t want to set him alight, so I jumped good, he broke well, then he took a fourth step and he lost all the position, and I had to look for plan B.

Obviously I didn’t want to be that far back, but my main concern at that stage, get him the wheel or something that brought me into the race, and I did. I went full ride all the way, which seems to be the place to be. In fairness, he took me really well around the turn. As we go into the straight, I asked him to pick up, and the response wasn’t there for about 100 meters, I felt we were going to be a good fifth, and then he just managed to find his rhythm, and I could see the leaders stopping, and asked him for a next step, and yeah, in the last 100 yards he really got down and sprinted home. Yeah, I mean, I went from despair to joy in the space of 100 yards.

Q. Can you explain why that change came, because he looked beaten from —
LANFRANCO DETTORI: I seen the ground conditions, his wheels were spinning. It took him 100 yards to figure out how to really run. Michael said that he saw his background, so that’s why, and then obviously running straight in this weather, they run at their best.

Can I go? Bye.

THE MODERATOR: Frankie, thank you, and good luck the rest of the day. Frankie has got to get prepared for…

And now with Frankie on his way back to the jockeys’ room, we’re pleased to be joined by the winning trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, and also Teddy Grimthorpe of Juddmonte Farms.

Congratulations. Teddy, this is Juddmonte’s sixth Breeders’ Cup win but the first ever in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Is it extra nice to get a new race sort of in the books for Juddmonte?

TEDDY GRIMTHORPE: It’s extra nice to get a Breeders’ Cup win anywhere, anytime, anyplace, believe me. It was a very special day, and I’m so thrilled for Prince Khalid.

Q. Sir Michael Stoute, Frankie was just saying there was a good part of the race where he wasn’t all that hopeful that the race would end in victory. What were your thoughts watching your horse go around?
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE: Well, I’d always been a little bit concerned about the ground, you know, that it was too tacky for him, and you know, I thought going down the back, Frankie was a couple of slots further back than I would have liked, but listen, hey, it came good. He’s a good horse, and the team have done a great job with him because he had a stalls problem after the Dewhurst, which continued into the spring this year. All that’s over now. He’s recaptured all of his vitality. I thought he was unlucky at Chantilly last time, so he’s been running really, really well since Royal Ascot, his third start.

TEDDY GRIMTHORPE: Longchamp’s.

THE MODERATOR: This is Breeders’ Cup win No. 8 for Sir Michael Stoute, last having visited the Winner’s Circle in 2016 with Queen’s Trust in the Filly and Mare Turf. I think I mentioned, but if I didn’t, win No. 6 for Juddmonte. They last tasted Breeders’ Cup victory with Arrogate, of course, back in 2016. Questions in the room for Sir Michael Stoute and/or Teddy Grimthorpe?

Q. Michael, obviously you mentioned there the stalls problem, everything you’ve had with him, presumably you still feel there’s a lot this horse can do in the future now that you’ve got him into the shape you want to get him into?
(Laughter.)

SIR MICHAEL STOUTE: Sometimes silence is golden.

Listen, he’s a horse we’ve enjoyed, and have done such good work with him. I’m delighted that we’ve got him back up to this peak.

Q. Michael, what was your thought about how this race might have been different had Polydream been in it, and what were your thoughts about her being excluded from it?
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE: Um, well, obviously there are several important factors in all of this, not least the Wertheimers and Freddy Head, who invested a lot in trying to get the filly over. Equally so the vets also have their jobs, and I think it’s very — it’s a very tough for connections to accept some of those things. And I know where everyone has the sort of welfare of horses paramount in their mind, and that has still got to be the number one consideration, but equally so, experienced horsemen will think that the horse is fine.

Q. Any comment on how the race might have been different had Polydream might have been in it?
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE: I think he still would have won.

Q. Michael, you said that the ground was tacky. How you would explain it in English terms?
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE: Well, not as smooth as he likes. He just likes a quicker, smoother surface. As Frankie said, in the turn he didn’t think he would win because he was taking time to accelerate.

Q. Teddy, can you talk about how much thought goes into bringing a horse to the Breeders’ Cup for Juddmonte, and is this race something that was an 11th hour decision or something that was planned for him for many months?
TEDDY GRIMTHORPE: I think with races of this caliber, you have to have that in mind for quite a long time. I mean, the trainer, the whole schedule, the race schedule. You can’t certainly wake up and think, ooh, wouldn’t it be nice to go to the Breeders’ Cup. And I think for the whole team, for Michael’s team who were preparing him, we thought long and hard about it, especially in the summer, and of course when we look at these things in terms of what might suit, and we thought the track and the style of racing would certainly suit.

It’s been on the agenda for quite a while. We had him after he was unlucky at Paris Longchamp. We thought about the QEII, and the ground really was — they’d had a lot of rain into that, and then the Breeders’ Cup became even more paramount for this horse because it’s so important having shown so much promise as a two year old, which he did. He was an exceptionally exciting prospect. To have that realized now is very, very important.

Q. Sir Michael, calf courses are said to have class, although that phrase is kind of intangible. It’s somewhat vague. But when a horse like Expert Eye faces adversity and ground that may not be 100 percent to his liking and a start in America, the starting gate, when a horse is able to overcome all that and still win, is that what horsemen mean by class?
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE: Yes, he’s got class. He’s exuded class from the beginning. He had a little bit of a problem with his training and the stalls incident, but even in the Sussex he didn’t get (indiscernible) the green there, the race didn’t go right for him. He’d been running some very big races since the Jersey.

Q. Teddy, do you look forward to the day where everything does sort of fall into place for Expert Eye? It didn’t today, and he still won. Are you still looking forward to that dream day?
TEDDY GRIMTHORPE: I think this is a dream day. As his future, that will be something for Prince Khalid to think about and enjoy over the next few weeks, I’d imagine. But we’re very, very delighted to be here.

THE MODERATOR: Well, we’re always delighted to have Sir Michael Stoute and Juddmonte Farms and you, of course, Teddy Grimthorpe. You’ve added so much to the history of Breeders’ Cup over the years, and this is the latest notch on your belt. Congratulations on a terrific Breeders’ Cup Mile victory with Expert Eye.

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