Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeRacingOn the Rise: Coach Riley Mott

On the Rise: Coach Riley Mott


Coaching on his personal since Nov. 1 of final 12 months, Riley Mott acquired the perfect schooling attainable to organize him for that second, working alongside his Corridor of Fame father, Invoice Mott, for a decade as considered one of his assistants.

Mott, 31, rapidly established himself as a coach on the rise by profitable his first race along with his third starter, Unifying, at Churchill Downs Nov. 10. And it was Unifying who offered the younger horseman along with his first stakes winner, within the Leslie’s Girl In a single day Stakes at Ellis Park June 11.

Unifying, owned by Sheri Greenberg, Staghawk Stables, Tom Reiman, and Ronald Johnson, is a 3-year-old daughter of Union Rags who has received three races for Mott. He’s among the many 40 horses below his care in Kentucky.

In addition to attracting new house owners, a number of of his father’s house owners have supported him on this subsequent journey in his profession, together with Frank Fletcher, who has horses with each Motts. Among the many 2-year-olds the youthful Mott has for Fletcher is a homebred son of Into Mischief, Prime Gun Rocket, an unraced full brother to Frank’s Rockette, a a number of graded stakes winner with earnings topping $1.4 million who’s skilled by his father.

Riley Mott and his spouse, Megan, reside in Louisville, Ky., and have a 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Margot, and a son, William, who was born in June.

Mott was interviewed June 28, and his solutions are edited for readability and area.

BloodHorse: Now that you just’ve been by yourself since final fall, what has the expertise been like for you? How is it completely different from being an assistant in your father’s barn?

Riley Mott: That’s a query I’ve been requested lots just lately. My reply is that it’s really probably not any completely different from what I used to be doing for my dad. My routine is principally the very same — give or take a factor or two. However what that boils all the way down to, is that I used to be fairly effectively groomed and skilled for this second.

The most important distinction is the monetary facet of it. Beginning your individual enterprise, in any trade, is a significant price and a threat — one which I used to be glad to take.

BH: What was the sensation prefer to have received your first stakes final month with Unifying — the identical filly that gave you your first win in November and a horse skilled by your father when making her profession debut?

RM: Fairly cool as a result of (Unifying) was my first winner, first stakes winner, and truly the primary horse we ever purchased, so she is fairly particular. We bought her understanding that she would find yourself in my barn. She debuted with my dad (ending second in September), simply because my begin date was Nov. 1.

To not sound cocky or unappreciative about (profitable my first stakes), however I’ve been in that scenario so typically with my dad that profitable a stakes — whilst you’re tremendous enthusiastic about it — is type of a traditional sort of feeling. I’m not saying that I anticipated to win my first stakes so early in my profession, and I used to be, clearly, over the moon, nevertheless it was a sense that I felt earlier than. However, I inform you what, the extra you win, the hungrier you’re. It simply makes me wish to do it once more … very quickly.

I used to be actually glad for the house owners. They caught their necks out for me early on and they’re actually good individuals and it’s a giant partnership. You’re all the time glad for the individuals who help you early on.

BH: At what age did you identify that you just needed to observe in your father’s footsteps?

RM: It was almost certainly earlier than my tenth birthday. There was no particular time or second that I keep in mind making that call, however I used to be clearly uncovered to the sport and the enterprise from the get-go, rising up in my mother and father’ family. I began going to the barn at a really, very younger age, largely to expend power. I used to be a fairly hyperactive little one. They despatched me to the barn within the early morning to let some steam out and it grew into a significant ardour at a younger age.

I really feel so fortunate that I discovered that zeal early in life as a result of rising up, whereas in highschool and school, I knew those that didn’t have the primary clue about what they needed to do after their schooling. Realizing what I needed to do most likely saved me loads of stress — not having to soul search.

BH: How did you identify that you just had been prepared to go away your father’s barn? Was this a plan lengthy within the making?

RM: In all probability was fascinated about it for 3 or 4 years earlier than I went out by myself, however I used to be making an attempt to find out what the correct time was, and if there ever was a proper time.

I had alternatives to do it prior. However my dad had all the time informed me that it wasn’t about getting a chance; it was about getting the correct alternative.

Once I selected to let my dad know that I used to be going out by myself, on this date and this 12 months, it wasn’t essentially about an proprietor saying, ‘I’m going to ship you 20 horses to exit by yourself.’ It was, kind of, one thing I made a decision by myself and I began formulating my plan of assault after that. I spoke to my dad about it most likely one 12 months previous to me going out by myself. I needed to present myself an extended time frame to do issues in a meticulous (method). I needed to have all my geese in a row.

BH: Do you miss these occasions in your dad’s barn, notably due to his continued success?

RM: Oh, completely. It wasn’t laborious to go away as a result of I had been wanting to do that for therefore a few years. However final 12 months, my dad had the perfect numbers of his profession, and I left him at the moment. In order that simply type of goes to point out individuals how critical I used to be about beginning this new chapter. I may have simply stayed his assistant for the following 10 years — rode the wave and made extraordinarily good cash, and labored with high, high horses, and folks alike. I’m so glad that Dad has continued to do effectively, however, yeah, I most likely left him, arguably, within the prime of his profession.

BH: What was your most memorable win or expertise whereas in your father’s barn?

RM: (Successful) the Kentucky Derby (with Nation Home in 2019 through the disqualification of Most Safety) was a really distinctive expertise. In all probability an expertise that we are going to by no means have once more … to not say (my father) or I received’t win the Derby sometime, however not that individual expertise.

My dad and I had been within the tunnel after the race, strolling all the way down to unsaddle, and had been hugging, high-fiving, and crying in pleasure (as a result of we completed second with Nation Home and fourth with Tacitus). Simply that curler coaster of emotion, like ready for the inquiry after which getting put up. As soon as they put us up, we’re strolling into the winner’s circle and I’m telling myself, ‘Okay, you simply received through disqualification, don’t make a idiot of your self by over-celebrating.’ That was only a wild expertise.

To expertise that with my dad was so cool. He’s my finest pal, he’s my mentor, he’s my dad. That was actually particular.

BH: What was the one most essential piece of recommendation your father gave you about coaching horses?

RM: He was by no means one to seize you apart and say, ‘Hey, that is the way you do that and that.’ It was extra like I’d study through statement. An enormous piece of recommendation he gave me from a really younger age was don’t burn bridges with individuals. This can be a sport the place should you’re a coach, you’re going to get fired at one level. In case you haven’t gotten fired, you haven’t achieved this lengthy sufficient. He all the time simply careworn that you just don’t maintain it in opposition to individuals, hold your relationships intact, and that all of it comes again round. The quantity of people that have taken horses from my dad after which in a couple of years later come again and ship him a couple of after which they’ve success …

There’s a lot that I’ve discovered from him. To not sound cocky about it, nevertheless it’s simply been such a straightforward transition for me to begin coaching as a result of I used to be so effectively ready. Simply watching him my complete life and seeing how he treats individuals and his employees, and seeing how he treats the horses and approaches the coaching, I’ve been so fortunate to not solely be a fly on the wall, however to be an integral a part of the operation, which has helped me a lot.

BH: How about life recommendation out of your father?

RM: Possibly I’m biased, however I feel he is likely one of the most down-to-earth individuals I’ve ever met. He sees each side to each story. He has loads of empathy and is aware of how different individuals really feel. He can relate to them and that’s one thing I’ve actually taken from him. I really feel like that he has handed that alongside to me, which I discover very useful in life. I feel having the ability to see issues by way of the lens of others round you is so essential.

BH: You’ve turn into a coach throughout a really difficult time for the trade, which is below intense scrutiny by the general public. How does that impression your mindset as you go about what you are promoting? Are you involved about racing’s future?

RM: Security is all the time the first concern … that’s one other factor my dad all the time taught me: security with the animals and security together with your employees. Something he may do to restrict threat and damage was essential to him.

With the issues (racing) has had in Kentucky with the injured horses, and so forth., that clearly additionally occurred just some years in the past in California (at Santa Anita Park in 2019). The racing in that state regarded like they had been in main hassle after which they made drastic adjustments. Trying again now, I used to be by no means actually involved about the way forward for racing when that was occurring in California. I used to be like, ‘Okay, they’ll repair it, and we’re going to get previous it, and all of it can be superb.’

However what has occurred most just lately; that is the primary time I’ve ever been actually nervous in regards to the future. I’d be foolish to not be involved about it. I’m a younger man and I’m simply beginning. I, hopefully, have a few years forward of me. I’ve received a household to feed and I’m probably not good at a lot else in addition to working with horses.

So, yeah, I’m involved. However, clearly, I can solely actually do what’s in my energy to make the racing a greater product going ahead. All these horses are below my care. I must maintain these horses and ensure they’re match to coach. If they don’t seem to be, do one thing completely different and maintain them. I’m centered on my horses and their security and defending my purchasers as a result of they’re closely invested in these horses. I hope different individuals really feel the identical manner and maintain their obligations.

There are various people who find themselves working very laborious to make racing safer and make what we’ve got a extra palatable product.

BH: With the latest implementation of guidelines from the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority in drive, how does it impression a younger horseman, corresponding to your self, who’s simply beginning out?

RM: In truth, it doesn’t impression me that a lot, each day. That’s simply my opinion. We now have to alter up the timing on pre-race medicines which doesn’t have an effect on or hassle me an excessive amount of. There’s extra scrutiny from state and attending veterinarians, however I’m not in opposition to that, in any way. We go over our horses with a fine-tooth comb each day and actually monitor how they’re transferring and feeling. I’m fortunate that I’ve been within the sport for many of my life, however I feel it’s simpler for me, a teen, to adapt to the brand new adjustments.


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