Trainer H. Graham Motion thought Bushwood Stable's Better Talk Now had a chance to win the Eclipse Award for top turf horse last year after upsetting the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Lone Star Park. Kitten's Joy, who gained a large following throughout his 3-year-old season, completed 2004 with a 6-for-8 record and even finishing second to Better Talk Now did not dissuade Eclipse voters.
"The last 11 Breeders' Cup Turf winners went on to win the Eclipse," said Motion, who never expected Better Talk Now to garner nine votes to Kitten's Joy's 247. "We didn't even finish second in the voting."Forgetting about last year and focusing on this year, Motion is excited to get Better Talk Now back to the races. He will start in Saturday's Grade III, $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf, one of two stakes on Aqueduct's Saturday card.
"I couldn't be happier with how he's doing," the trainer said. "Shortening up in distance shouldn't be a problem. If I ran him a mile and a half first time back, he'd probably be too anxious early."A compact field is lining up to face Better Talk Now in the Fort Marcy, meaning there could be a lack of early speed to set up his run.
"We're looking at the big picture here," Motion said. "This is a good conservative race to get started with, and we wouldn't be disappointed if he doesn't win."Fort Marcy Handicap field:
1 -- Say Cousin Lenny, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 110
2 -- Better Talk Now, Ramon Dominguez, 123
3 -- Remind, Cornelio Velasquez, 117
4 -- Ecclesiastic, Joe Bravo, 113
5 -- L'Oiseau D'Argent, Richard Migliore, 116
6 -- Chilly Rooster, Shannon Uske, 114
7(AE) -- Aggadan, Edgar Prado, 123
9(AE) -- Bahama John, no rider, 121
8(AE) -- Thunder Touch, C. Velasquez (2), 119
10(AE)--Chowder's First, Fernando Jara, 116
11(AE) -- Bailero, no rider, 116