In the days leading up to the 38th Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in California, usracing.com is publishing profiles of the horses in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Saturday, Nov. 6). Profiles will be updated followed the post-position draw on Monday, Nov. 1. (5:30 p.m. ET).
By Jenny Kellner
Art Collector seems to be more valuable with age – and a Hall of Fame trainer.
The 4-year-old colt is now trained by Bill Mott and has won all three of his races under one of the best conditioners in the game – the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga, the Charles Town Classic (G2), and the Woodward (G1) at Belmont on Oct. 2.
The trainer change was made after Art Collector finished sixth in the Kelly’s Landing at Churchill Downs on June 25. Tommy Drury was the trainer who guided the colt to a win in the 2020 Blue Grass (G2) before the colt was pulled from Kentucky Derby (G1) consideration due to a slight injury a few days before the race.
Art Collector has bounced back with a flurry of victories, and looms as the hot horse in the $6 million BC Classic (G1), going against likely favorites Knicks Go and Essential Quality and Derby winner Medina Spirit.
A horse who likes to be near or on the lead, Art Collector will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Mike Smith — the most successful rider in Breeders’ Cup history. Luis Saez has been the regular rider for Art Collector since Mott took over, but he will be aboard Essential Quality.
The Mott-Smith combo is formidable, making Art Collector a contender likely to go off at odds worth the investment.
Post position: TBD
Jockey: Mike Smith
Trainer: Bill Mott
Owner: Bruce Lunsford
Top Equibase speed figure: 120
Pedigree: Bernardini-Distorted Legacy, by Distorted
Running style: Front-runner
Betting advice: This guy may be the hot horse in the Classic, looking fantastic during recent gallops at Del Mar, and should be up front with speedsters Knicks Go and Medina Spirit. And with Mike Smith aboard, you must take this colt seriously, and likely with some favorable odds.
Notes: Mike Smith has the most mounts (145), victories (26) and purse earnings ($36.6 million) in Breeders’ Cup history … He’s won the Classic four times – Skip Away (1997), Zenyatta (2009), Drosselmeyer (2011, trained by Mott); and Arrogate (2016) … Luis Saez was aboard all three of Art Collector’s wins with Bill Mott as the trainer … Art Collector ran eighth in the 2020 BC Dirt Mile (G1) … Mott is a 10-time winner in Breeders’ Cup races … Says Mott: “He (Drury) did a great job with this horse and we’re reaping some of the benefits. I would say he beat the best group of horses (in the Woodward) that he’s beaten so far. They were the most established group.”
|1||Tripoli||15-1||Irad Ortiz,Jr||John Sadler|
|2||Express Train||20-1||Victor Espinoza||John Shirreffs|
|3||Hot Rod Charlie||4-1||Flavien Prat||Doug O’Neill|
|4||Essential Quality||3-1||Luis Saez||Brad Cox|
|5||Knicks Go||5-2||Joel Rosario||Brad Cox|
|6||Art Collector||8-1||Mike Smith||William Mott|
|7||Stiletto Boy||30-1||Kent Desormeaux||Ed Moger,Jr.|
|8||Medina Spirit||4-1||John Velazquez||Bob Baffert|
|9||Max Player||8-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steven Asmussen|
Jenny Kellner is an award-winning journalist and proud owner of Toby, an 11-year-old prize-winning palomino quarter horse. Jenny was among the first female sports columnists in the United States, and has worked for the New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and Newsday. Jenny also was a senior media director at the New York Racing Association, and has been an elementary school and middle-school teacher in New York, and currently in Colorado.