LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bill Mott called an audible with his Wood Memorial champion Tacitus. He went out at 7:30 Sunday morning and just galloped through the fog, pushing back his scheduled work another day.
"I felt like the track was actually in fairly good shape today and we could have worked but we're under no pressure," said Mott. "Waiting one day is not an issue for us. I think we'll have a super track tomorrow and good conditions and we might even be able to see tomorrow."
The thick fog lasted throughout the training hours, making it difficult to see much of anything.
Mott has done just about everything a trainer can do. He's been in the Hall of Fame for over 20 years. He has over 4900 victories, 119 of them grade one wins. The one thing the South Dakota native doesn't have is a Derby. He's had eight starters in the race with his best finish coming last year when Hofburg finished 7th. He has two more chances this year with the regally bred Tacitus and Country House.
"They say it's right up there, " said Mott. "They say the feeling is pretty good to get up there and accept the Derby trophy. I'd like to find out for myself. I can't tell you what it's going to be like or what it would be like if it were to happen ever but I'll enjoy the opportunity if it comes."
One derby contender that did work on Sunday was Plus Que Parfait, going a half-mile in :49 and 2. He won the UAE Derby in Dubai after faltering in the Risen Star Stakes. Trainer Brendan Walsh had been part of the Godolphin team in Dubai for a decade. And he explained that his owners discussed the possibility of making that trip.
"The owners are based part of the year in Dubai and they had mentioned it to me way back," said Walsh. "So it's always been in the back of my mind. Then when things didn't quiet work out in New Orleans, he was going to be flying out of Miami so we shipped him down to Florida and we said if he was doing well we'd possibly take him to Dubai but only if he was doing well. He got to Florida and he started to do really well and work really well. Then we made the decision to go on out there which worked out great for everybody."
Walsh is originally from Ireland but worked for Eddie Kenneally at Churchill Downs and has had his own stable based at Churchill for eight years. This is his first Derby starter.
"Oh it's fantastic," said Walsh. "Everyone that's training or in the sport of horse racing, it's what they want to be is a part of the Kentucky Derby. So we're very excited by it all."
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