Unbeaten Favorite Trick assigned to Mott's stable Trainer for Cigar lands early Derby favorite

January 08, 1998|By BOSTON GLOBE

Favorite Trick, undefeated as a 2-year-old last year and the winter book favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, now will be trained by Bill Mott, a top conditioner who trained two-time Horse of the Year Cigar.

Favorite Trick, who went 8-for-8 in 1997, including a victory in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile, had been trained by Pat Byrne. But Byrne announced Dec. 31 that he would become the private trainer for Frank Stronach, who owns 40 horses. Stronach tried to buy a piece of Favorite Trick, who is owned by Joseph LaCombe and Walmac Farm, but negotiations failed and Mott was assigned Favorite Trick on Tuesday.

"I chose Bill because he's very organized, he's got a nice barn, and has a nice way about himself," said LaCombe, the majority owner of Favorite Trick, who will be named 2-year-old champion in Eclipse Award balloting to be announced today and has an excellent chance to be named Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards Dinner Feb. 10.

"I've got big shoes to fill," Mott said. "I'm obviously flattered that they considered me. It's a big challenge."

Byrne had announced that Favorite Trick would make his 3-year-old debut in the $200,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Feb. 21, the prep for the $750,000 Florida Derby March 14. But Mott said he would wait to plan his schedule.

Regular rider Pat Day will stay aboard Favorite Trick, whose ultimate goal is the Kentucky Derby May 2.

Pub Date: 1/08/98

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