Stable Role Labor of Love for Riley Mott
Special to the Breeders' Cup
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott met his son, Riley, in the paddock after training hours Oct. 31 at Del Mar. In a schooling line longer than the line at an In-and-Out, Riley held the shank attached to Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff contender Elate, who has been making quite an impression in the mornings at the seaside track.
When Mott sends Claiborne Farm and Adele Dillschneider's 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro to the gate Nov. 3, his son will be by his side. Brought up in the sport he loves, 25-year-old Riley is pursuing a role in his father's stable he was born to fill.
"Training is the only thing I've ever wanted to do," the University of Kentucky graduate remarked. "That's been it, and I never thought of doing anything else. Even going through college, I knew I would come back to this. I feel lucky I know what I want to do, and I knew what I wanted to do from an early age. I feel fortunate to have found a passion. I'm doing what I love."
Of working for his father, Mott added, "It's great. We have a really good relationship. At home, we goof off together and we're like best friends. But in the barn, it's all serious. I don't take being his son to my advantage or anything like that. Everything is all business at the barn, as it should be, except I try to keep it light sometimes, when the vibe is a little too serious."
Bill Mott won his first of 10 Breeders' Cup races (the Breeders' Cup Turf with Theatrical) in 1987, before Riley was even a twinkle. His next win, also in the Turf, came courtesy of Fraise in 1992, just a year after his son was born. Cigar's Breeders' Cup Classic score in 1995, a quintet of Breeders' Cup Distaff wins (Ajina, 1997; Escena, 1998; Royal Delta, 2011-12; Unriavaled Belle, 2010), and another Classic score by Drosselmeyer in the 2011 Classic came throughout the young man's formative years. And last year they won the Mile with WinStar Farm's Tourist, an emotional moment for the younger Mott.
"That was really special," he said. "Winning a Breeders' Cup for WinStar, an organization that has been really great to us over the years - we've had an extreme amount of luck with them - and it was his swan song ... it was really special for a number of different reasons. It was a great day."
In addition to Elate this season, Team Mott also has Capla Temptress in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Ballagh Rocks in the Breeders' Cup Mile this year.
"We're blessed to be able to have the quality of horse to bring here to the Breeders' Cup," Riley Mott said. "Not everyone has that privilege. It teaches you how to handle being in that situation. You kind of want to just do the things that got you to that point, you don't want to do things out of the nature of your program. Everyone wants to do the best job they can and bring their horse into the race as well as they possibly can. But I think it's easy to over-think things, at times, leading up to the big day of racing like this weekend. I think if you just stick to your guns and do what you've been doing all along, it's OK."
Mott said his father's training program has taught him patience and confidence.
"Just don't over-think things," he said of the elder Mott's approach. "Do what you've been doing. Have confidence in your routine and your program and your staff."
While Elate has been touting herself in the mornings, the younger Mott backs that up with his high estimation of the filly.
"She really enjoys training, she enjoys the work," he said. "When you see her out there, she's got her ears pricked. She's happy and go-lucky. That's the main thing, I think. When you're shipping across the country like this, you want to just keep them as comfortable as possible and keep them happy, and that's what we've done with her and it seems like the rest of them as well."
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