By Karen Johnson
Trainer Graham Motion missed a scheduled work with Grade 1 winner Better Talk Now during the weekend of Sept. 15 and said on Sept. 17 it is “less than 50 percent” likely that the 8-year-old will run in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 30.
Motion said Better Talk Now suffered from muscle soreness after working at his home base, the Fair Hill Training Center in Md., Sept. 8. It was the gelding’s first work since August. Better Talk Now was forced to miss the Aug. 11 Sword Dancer Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga because of a puncture wound that became infected. He suffered the wound in his left front ankle while running third in the United Nations Handicap (gr. I) at Momouth Park in July.
“He worked great [on Sept. 8], but hasn’t been 100 percent since then,” Motion said. “It’s nothing I can pinpoint. He’s just very sore all over. He’s older now and I partly blame myself because he was fresh and he put too much into the work."
Better Talk Now worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 over the Tapeta surface at Fair Hill.
Motion said he would most likely train Better Talk Now up to the $3-million John Deere Breeders’ Cup (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27. Another race that is an option for Better Talk Now, who won the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Lone Star in 2004, is the Pattison Canadian International (CAN-I) at Woodbine Oct. 21.
“It won’t bother me that he doesn’t have a prep, if we get him back to a 100 percent,” Motion said.
The trainer said his preference right now is to run in the Breeders’ Cup, rather than at Woodbine.
“We all would like to run in the Breeders’ Cup,” he said. “I am worried that he has struggled with the new Monmouth Park turf course the last two years, but there is no race like the Breeders’ Cup.”