Breeders’ Cup World Championships

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Brian Trump, David Bernsen, Peter Miller

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We’re now joined in the press conference room by the connections of the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, Stormy Liberal. And back-to-back for Stormy Liberal. He is the 17th horse to win a Breeders’ Cup — the same Breeders’ Cup race twice. That includes Goldikova, who of course won three times, Stormy Liberal is the first since Beholder in 2016 to win the same race twice and the first to do it in back-to-back years since 2013, when three different horses did it that year. And I guess Peter Miller, you have a chance to double up on your double up with Roy H later on. Good luck with that.

But we’re joined left to right by Brian Trump, who is the racing manager for Rockingham Ranch, Peter Miller in the center and on the right David Bernsen, also an owner of Stormy Liberal.

Brian, I’ll start with you. This horse wins a lot, but never by much. I’m sure you’re not complaining about that, but does it cause for some anxious moments in these races when victory never quite seems assured?

BRIAN TRUMP: At first it did, but I think we have learned to get used to that. It’s a style. He’s a very, very smart horse and Pete and Drayden have had many conversations about this horse and his style and he just knows where the wire is. So while it did at first give us some anxiety, I think we’re used to it by now.

THE MODERATOR: Peter, your horse broke on top, really, and Drayden Van Dyke made what some might think was a gutsy move to kind of settle, let World of Trouble, who certainly ran a great race — let World of Trouble go. Does Stormy Liberal, is he one of those horses that just prefers a target, and did you discuss strategy along those lines with Drayden?

PETER MILLER: Yeah, we did. We knew he’s tactical, we know he’s got speed. At first I thought it was Richard’s Boy because they have the same silks, and Richard’s Boy is a lot more speed, usually. Then when I saw it was Stormy Liberal, I was happy. When he let the 11 go and I think the 10 was up there and then Richard’s Boy went after. So the second place horse ran phenomenal and my hat’s off to the connections. Ran a winning race, ran a great race and just happy we came out on the top end.

THE MODERATOR: David Bernsen, it’s always a horse owner’s hope and dream that you have a horse who can take you places. This horse has done that and then some. Dubai, Hong Kong, Breeders’ Cups all around the country now, two victorious ones. Are you hoping and planning on more international travel with what is obviously a world class horse.

DAVID BERNSEN: Well, I think Peter commented on that after the race. It’s pretty much up to him where the horse goes. So I think he commented maybe Dubai might be in the mix or I would think the long-term target, what he said is try to triple up on this race next year.

THE MODERATOR: It’s a understatement, Peter, to say Stormy Liberal doesn’t need to take his racetrack with him. What are the qualities about the horse that make it — make such far flung success possible?

PETER MILLER: Heart. He just has tremendous heart. Really wants to win. He knows where the wire is and does just enough, he does just enough, he doesn’t over exert himself in any race or any workout, he’s a very smart horse. So I would say his heart, but also his soundness and durability have been keys. You can’t do this with most horses, you can’t do this. They are just not able to. So he’s just a special horse in so many ways.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, I should have mentioned earlier this is Peter Miller’s third Breeders’ Cup win, all in the last two years. He’s got two in the books with Stormy Liberal now and he’s won with Roy H and Roy H runs later today. We’ll take questions from the media.

Q. Follow-up on the earlier question, Peter. Kind of judging your reactions, does that mean Hong Kong is unlikely or still in the mix?
PETER MILLER: No. I think I’ve, I think I’ve sent my last horse to Hong Kong.

Q. Peter, Miller time on the road, I mean we talked about the winning on the road. How about is Miller time on the road a little bit sweeter maybe?
PETER MILLER: You know, I don’t know if anything could be as sweet as winning at home last year at Delmar, but this is awfully close. It’s hard to compare. Certainly winning on the road is special because harder, it’s just tougher to come and do it over here against the East Coast and the European horses. So, yeah, this is really sweet and I’m just very thankful to Mr. Hartunian and Mr. Bernsen and lucky to have this horse.

Q. He’s a horse that’s kind of blossomed the last two years especially. How did you find the light switch?
PETER MILLER: You know, we claimed him. We claimed him for 40,000 and he was sharp when we claimed him. He won the day we claimed him and he’s been pretty sharp ever since. And so I don’t know what happened, he liked our program, he liked being at San Luis Rey and I think those things have just really helped him to blossom and mature in the last couple of years.

Q. With the repeat win could you talk about what it’s like to have a horse, to be with a horse who is in a pretty elite spectacular club?
PETER MILLER: Yeah, it’s beyond words, it’s kind of indescribable, it’s a little surreal, to be honest with you, especially a horse that you claim. So it is kind of crazy, honestly. It just doesn’t feel kind of real yet, but I know it is and to be in that category of horses that have won the Breeders’ Cup more than once, it’s a very special group and again I’m just honored to train the horse and I’ve got a tremendous crew behind me and again, just thanks to them and Gary and Amy Hartunian.

Q. Obviously it all begins and ends with the horse’s health but Brian, one of the fun aspects of Stormy Liberal being a six-year-old gelding is there’s no stud farms to run off to. What are the factors — it’s not like Peter runs this horse every month, so obviously some judiciousness is in play, how do you map out a schedule for a horse that is this good but a gelding and just his career is performed at the racetrack, not anywhere else?
BRIAN TRUMP: I think we first we enjoy it, enjoy the moments like these and then really it comes down to Pete and Gary and David discussing what the next plan is. It’s very open process, that’s one of the beauties of Pete is he’s such a good communicator and really license to everybody and with this horse it’s fun, it’s really fun.

THE MODERATOR: In the absence of any further questions we’ll say congratulations once again to Brian Trump of Rockingham Ranch, trainer Peter Miller and co-owner David Bernsen. Terrific repeat victory for Stormy Liberal. Congratulations.

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