by Karen M. Johnson
Better Talk Now, winner of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT), will remain in training for a 9-year-old campaign in 2008 and possibly travel to Dubai to run in March, trainer Graham Motion said Nov. 5.
Motion is targeting the Dec. 15 W. L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder Race Course for Better Talk Now’s next start. Provided the gelding performs well there, Motion would like to run Better Talk Now in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-IT) at Nad al Sheba racecourse on the World Cup undercard March 29. It would be Better Talk Now’s first appearance in Dubai.
Better Talk Now finished fourth in the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf at Monmouth Park Oct. 27. It was Better Talk Now’s fourth start in the Turf. In addition to winning the race at Lone Star Park in 2004, he also finished second at Churchill Downs last year and seventh at Belmont Park in 2005.
“In past years, we might have given him a break after the Breeders’ Cup,” Motion said. “But I want to keep him in training because he is fresh and I don’t see the point of giving him a break. Going to Dubai was something we always wanted to do. After the McKnight, we can take it easy before Dubai.”
Better Talk Now had a series of setbacks this 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 Breeders’ Cup this year, it was Better Talk Now’s first start since finishing third in the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Monmouth July 7.
Motion, who trains Better Talk Now for Bushwood Stables, noted Better Talk Now was extremely reluctant to load into the gate in the Breeders’ Cup, a quirk he has demonstrated before.
“I had all these people rushing up to me after the race asking me, ‘Are you going to retire him?’ ” Motion said. “He did behave badly, and they actually had to push him onto the turf course, but he did the same thing the day he ran and won at Lone Star. If he wasn’t like that, he wouldn’t be the horse he is.”
With his fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup, Better Talk Now has earnings of $4,052,788 and a record of 14-6-3 from 41 career starts.
Better Talk Now will leave his Fair Hill Training Center home base in Maryland at the end of November and take up residence in Motion’s barn at the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.