Art Collector Handles Transition To Mott’s Barn With Grace, Prepared For Biggest Challenge In Classic

Art Collector has been through a lot more changes of scenery than his cohorts in this year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Bill Mott will saddle the Bernardini colt in this Saturday’s race, and is the third trainer for the horse – no record of course, but more than is typical for a graded stakes level horse.

Speaking at a press conference at Del Mar on Nov. 1, Mott said Art Collector has handled his latest barn switch with ease. Though the basic routine is similar from one top level barn to another, there are changes – to feed, to hay, to equipment and noise levels – that can be upsetting to horses who are easily rattled.

“I guess we have to hope the horse adapts to our style,” said Mott. “Sometimes the horse actually adapts to us as much as we adapt to the horse. The horse fell right into the training regimen we had him in, and he was ready to run when we got him. We just continued on and he has done very well. At the moment, he looks great.”

Art Collector began his career in 2019 with Joe Sharp, then moved to the barn of Tommy Drury for his wins in the G2 Blue Grass and Ellis Park Derby. He finished a disappointing fourth in the G1 Preakness and eighth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile as a 3-year-old and earlier this summer made a switch to Mott.

Since transitioning to Mott’s barn, Art Collector is three for three, with his most recent victory coming in the G1 Woodward over Maxfield and Dr Post.

Having Art Collector in the barn is something of a full circle moment for Mott, whose relationship with owner Bruce Lunsford goes back many years. Mott trained Bunting, the second dam of Art Collector, for Lunsford in the mid-1990s. Lunsford purchased her from the dispersal of Greentree Stable (Mrs. John Hay Whitney) at the 1994 Keeneland November sale, and Mott delivered a few decent allowance race placings with her before she retired to the breeding shed. Bunting would go on to foal Distorted Legacy, who produced Art Collector from a cross with Bernardini.

Mott said he has no concerns about the 1 1/4-mile distance. He saw strong, forward finishes in his previous 1 1/8-mile prep races. He also believes Art Collector has some flexibility in his running style; it’s no secret Knicks Go will be the likely Classic pacesetter, and Mott thinks Art Collector will be happy to hang off the pace or stalk if he needs to – which would be a departure from his gate-to-wire wins in the Woodward or the Alydar. A lot of his racing strategy will ride on the post position draw Monday afternoon.

Mott has no illusions that the Classic will be easy work, despite his positive feelings about the colt’s development – and he made no bones about the idea that a decent showing here could really boost his prospects for a stallion career.

“We know we’re stepping into deep water,” Mott said. “We’re trying a new group of horses, and they’re the very best we’re going to run up against. We’re adding another furlong to what he’s ever run and we’ve got to figure that out. You never know till they do it.”

The post Art Collector Handles Transition To Mott’s Barn With Grace, Prepared For Biggest Challenge In Classic appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.