Search the Baltimore County community newspaper archives


>> Click here to search for stories published AFTER 2011

>> Use this search box to find stories published prior to 2011.
Note: All Words is a more strict search. Implied operator is "AND."
Ex: Charles Dickens"

From
subscriber services email print comment


LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- A lot of horse trainers spend a lifetime dreaming about winning the Kentucky Derby.

Graham Motion is not one of them.

Some of that, Motion would attribute to the fact that he grew up in Cambridge, England. On the other side of the ocean, America's premier thoroughbred race is not exactly something an English boy, even one who loves horse racing, grows up pursuing.

"I mean no disrespect, but it wasn't ingrained in me to win this race," Motion said.

But some of it can also be attributed to Motion's considerable humility. Even after his family moved to Maryland permanently when he was 16, and even after he became both an American citizen and a highly regarded horse trainer, he hadn't allowed himself to dream quite that big.

Standing outside a rented barn on the backstretch of Churchill Downs on Sunday morning, holding a cup of coffee from Starbucks and working on only a few hours' sleep, Motion looked like a man who still hadn't quite digested the fact that, a little more than 12 hours earlier, he had become the 108th man in history to train a Kentucky Derby winner. Animal Kingdom, the large chestnut colt who earned him the surprise victory, stood quietly in his stall, just a few feet away.

"It's not something I ever expected to do," said Motion, 46. "So, certainly, I was surprised. [Saturday] was a little surreal."

Motion said that when Animal Kingdom crossed the finish line, his primary emotion was confusion. He wasn't sure where he was supposed to go or what his responsibilities would be.

"I'm no Bob Baffert, so I didn't quite know what I was doing," Motion said.

As is always the nature for the for the Derby-winning trainer, Motion won't have much time to let the win marinate. He has to begin thinking about the Preakness, a race that has added meaning for Motion as an adopted Marylander. His maiden victory as a trainer came at Pimlico Race Course in 1993.

"It's an odd feeling to have won the Derby, and then you've got to start thinking about winning the Preakness," Motion said. "It's a little daunting."

Motion hesitated a bit when asked whether Animal Kingdom was guaranteed to run in the Preakness, wanting to discuss it first with Barry Irwin, who oversees the Team Valor partnership that owns the horse. But it's fairly clear that as long as Animal Kingdom is healthy, he'll be in the May 21 race.

"I think we'd better, right?" joked Motion, who plans to ship Animal Kingdom back his training facility in Fair Hill on Tuesday. "I mean, I'm going to the Preakness as long as he's OK. He won the Derby. We're going."

Already, a picture of whom Animal Kingdom might face in the second leg of the Triple Crown is beginning to take shape.

Derby runner-up Nehro will consider running, according to owner Ahmed Zayat, but it seems more likely the horse will focus on the Belmont Stakes. Third-place finisher Mucho Macho Man, however, seems likely to come to Pimlico as long as he's healthy. Trainer Kathy Ritvo said she would like to give him a few days to recover, but she was leaning toward coming to Baltimore.

"I'm really proud of the way he ran," Ritvo said. "He came back really well."

Trainer Dale Romans said Shackleford, the fourth-place finisher, would target the Preakness as well.

Todd Pletcher officially ruled out Uncle Mo for the Preakness and the Belmont, as he's still not sure what is ailing the reigning juvenile champion. His other Kentucky Derby runner, Stay Thirsty, was likely to focus on the Belmont. But he is contemplating entering Dance City, a speedy horse that finished third in a competitive Arkansas Derby, in the Preakness.

"Right now, we're leaning in that direction," Pletcher said.

Nick Zito said he was likely to run Dialed In in the Preakness even though the Derby favorite finished a disappointing eighth. That's because Dialed In, thanks to his victory last month in the Florida Derby, is eligible for the 5.5 Preakness Bonus, a program cooked up by MI Developments Inc., the majority owner of the Maryland Jockey Club. If Dialed In wins the Preakness, his owner Robert LaPenta would get an extra $5 million and Zito would get $500,000.

"The $5 million would be good enough to run in the Preakness," said Zito, who noted that Dialed In ran the back half of the Derby quite well. "We love Pimlico and look forward to another shot."

Nehro's trainer, Steve Assmusen, said he plans to enter Astrology, who finished second in the Jerome Stakes in his last start and has never been out of the money in seven career outings. Baffert said he would wait a week to make a decision on Midnight Interlude, who finished 15th, as well as The Factor, a horse once considered a legitimate Derby threat before he underwent minor throat surgery.

Mike Gathagan, vice president of communications for the Maryland Jockey Club, said connections from several other horses have already expressed interest in the Preakness, which limits its field to 14 starters. The other potential shooters to express interest thus far are: Concealed Identity (winner, Federico Tesio); Flashpoint (fourth, Florida Derby); King Congie (third, Blue Grass); Mr. Commons (third, Santa Anita Derby); Norman Asbjornson (fourth, Wood Memorial); Prime Cut (second, Lexington Stakes); Saratoga Red (10th, Arkansas Derby); and Sway Away (fourth, Arkansas Derby).

Motion said he expected a lot of horses would be gunning for Animal Kingdom, especially because before his Derby victory, he was considered little more than a turf horse. But whatever happens next, he'll always have his name in the books as a Kentucky Derby winner. Pletcher, who won his first Derby last year, told reporters Sunday that Motion is such a mild-mannered, well-liked person, his victory was definitely going to be popular with fellow trainers.

"I'm always going to be considered a Kentucky Derby-winning trainer, and that speaks volumes," Motion said.

kvanvalkenburg@baltsun.com

user comments (0)


related articles

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Baltimore Sun: Baltimore breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic
xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Learn more about subscriptions
Learn more about subscriptions
Advertisement
In his major league debut, Orioles starting pitcher DL Hall allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings in an 8-2 loss to the Rays that moved Baltimore a half-game back of Tampa Bay in the wild-card race.
Advertisement
Poor treatment of crime victims and their families by Baltimore Police is common across the city where shootings and homicides occur daily, according to a recently released report.
Starting in the 1980s in New York City, Ballroom caters to the LGBTQIA+ and transgender community, providing a safe space for their expression as dancers.
Questions have been raised about the effectiveness and oversight of the COVID-19 relief program, which awarded $28.6 billion in grants to thousands of businesses.
An especially violent Friday left four men dead and another injured in shootings across Baltimore.
Orioles chairman and CEO John Angelos is decrying that his brother, Louis Angelos, took what he calls “the nuclear option” of filing suit over a dispute in how to handle their father’s assets.
Advertisement
Aryeh Wolf, a 25-year-old Baltimore man, was shot and killed Wednesday while working on solar panels in Southeast Washington, D.C.
July is typically a hot month for home sales, but rising interest rates and fears of inflation and an economic slowdown threw cold water over the Baltimore region’s once-scorching housing market.
After a hot and stormy week, Baltimore can expect sunny skies and temperatures peaking in the low 80s throughout the weekend, with highs of 83 Friday through Sunday.
Environmentalists and scientists worry that a proposed Federalsburg salmon farm could inundate the shallow Marshyhope Creek with surges of cold water that could make it inhospitable for its spawning population of Atlantic sturgeon.
Plans to build a multipurpose Hagerstown stadium have run into “a little sand in the gears,” but officials remain confident the ballpark will be built and ready to host baseball in 2024.
A Baltimore judge on Friday held State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby in contempt of court, finding the top prosecutor willfully violated an order prohibiting her from speaking about the controversial criminal cases of Keith Davis Jr. when she commented on social media last month.
Thomas Michael Volatile, a retired insurance salesman and former Navy lieutenant commander, died of cancer Aug. 8 at his Lewes, Delaware, home. He was 92 and had lived in Hunt Valley.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Free Fun & Games

  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Crossword
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Jumble Daily in color
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Solitaire
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Bubble Shooter HD
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    2020 Connect
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Cookie Crush
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Butterfly Kyodai
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Classic Mahjong
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Sudoku
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

The Baltimore Sun Store

Advertisement

GAMES & TRIVIA

Advertisement