by Karen M. Johnson
Trainer Graham Motion said Feb. 20 that multiple grade I winner Better Talk Now will fly to Dubai from Florida March 18 to run in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-IT) at Nad Al Sheba racecourse on the World Cup undercard March 29.
The journey will be the first to Dubai for the 9-year-old gelding, who has amassed more than $4 million in earnings during his 42-race career.
Better Talk Now, winner of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT), last ran in the Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) Feb. 9. He finished sixth in the race, which marked his first start since finishing fourth in the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
It could be argued that Better Talk Now, who is owned by Bushwood Stable, has lost a step as he has gotten older, but Motion begs to differ. Last year, Better Talk Now, a son of Talkin Man, won once in four starts. His lone victory in 2007 came in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park in June.
“Last year, he came off a fourth-place finish at Churchill Downs (in the Turf Classic) to win the Manhattan in his second start, and I don’t see why he can’t do that again,” Motion said. “The media seems to be saying he is a has-been, but we are not saying that. He has never indicated that to us. To say that is absurd, so we stopped talking about that.”
Better Talk Now had a series of setbacks last year on his way to the Breeders’ Cup. He suffered a puncture wound in his left front ankle that became infected during the summer and kept him from running in Saratoga’s Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT). While he was being prepared to run in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Sept. 30, he became body sore after a workout.
When he ran in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup, it was Better Talk Now’s first start since finishing third in the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Monmouth July 7.
Motion said he expected that Ramon Dominguez, who has been aboard Better Talk Now in the majority of his races, will ride him in the 1 ½-mile Sheema Classic.
Better Talk Now, who is currently training at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, will be accompanied on his trip to the Middle East by his regular traveling partner and exercise rider, Fenella O’Flynn. Motion will make the trip to Dubai closer to the race.