From Minor Leagues To The Saudi Cup, Neil Poznansky Enjoying ‘Rewarding’ Journey With Art Collector

Neil Poznansky is explaining about one particular moment at the racetrack that changed his career.

“My eyes were swollen shut, I looked like a little marshmallow,” he recalls. “I was struggling with my weight. I won my last race for David Carroll, who’s now assistant to Mark Casse, at Ellis Park. Ellis Park can be the hottest place on earth, it must have been 110 degrees with humidity. Everything was hotter than heck. I won by the smallest of margins and I rode and rode and rode and I didn’t have a drop of sweat on me; I was bone dry. I had nothing left in me water-wise.”

He continues: “I was driving back to Louisville, Kentucky and on the way home I called my dad up and said, ‘I am done’. I got a sports drink from Seven Eleven and drank the whole thing. I showed up the next morning with my eyes all squinting because your body puffs up, retaining the fluid.

“I said I quit.”

By that point Poznansky had ridden 761 official winners, become only the second Canadian jockey to win the USA Eclipse award for apprentice rider in 1996 as well as receiving Canadian honors, but his career had started to descend gradually.

“I wanted to get going in the States. I felt like I had exhausted my options in Canada and the USA had so many more tracks. Usually, you can find your spot somewhere,” said the Edmonton, Alberta native rider who started his career competing on the local ‘bush’ tracks. He ended up finding an avenue with Bill Mott, one of the most respected trainers in the world, and is his work rider and assistant.

“I got hooked up with Bill [Mott] and it ended up staying that way. I never got real far from him. It’s got to be 14 or 15 years I’ve worked for him now.”

The need for speed remained but Poznansky found a different way of quenching his thirst for adrenaline. Being intimately involved with a Thoroughbred’s preparation and development raises the stakes significantly come race day.

An elevated pulse might be another of the side effects when Woodward Stakes victor Art Collector (USA) gets ready to go for The Saudi Cup, while Grade 1 winner Casa Creed (USA) is set to jump for the 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc. Team Mott is ready to fire.

“I am a good armchair jockey,” Poznanksy grins.

“I’m telling you I get more nervous seeing them go into the gate. All that you do to get them there. As a jock I was always like, ‘we’ll get them next time’. But now I know there might not be a next time. You don’t know what it took to get these horses here, in this kind of shape. It’s pretty nerve-wracking but very, very rewarding.”

Art Collector has drawn gate nine for the Saudi Cup on Saturday.

“Gate nine is close to the middle and Art Collector has got some good speed,” Poznansky said. “This was the plan all along, he’s been training excellent and that’s not a bad draw.”

Top jockey Luis Saez takes the mount on both Mott runners, and has been able to deliver on Art Collector’s potential with a G1 Woodward triumph.

“Luis knows Art Collector well. He gets him out of the gate and secures a good position on him which an older horse obviously likes. The horse seems to respond to him very well,” the assistant continued.

“Tomorrow we will just gallop. We won’t be doing too much the day before the race. I will be trying to get Art Collector around there, I don’t want to fight him or anything like that but I don’t want to go too fast either.”

The post From Minor Leagues To The Saudi Cup, Neil Poznansky Enjoying ‘Rewarding’ Journey With Art Collector appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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