It was the morning of June 5, and Bill Mott sat atop his pony outside his
barn reflecting on the Belmont
Stakes (gr. I), to be run later that afternoon. Mott had never won the
Belmont, or any classic for that matter, but he was hoping to fill that one
major void in his Hall of Fame career.
“When it’s ready to happen, it’ll happen,” Mott said. “It’s only a problem if
I let it bother me. Naturally, I have a desire to win one of these races.”
Those comments were made in 1999, some 12 hours before Mott would come
agonizingly close to winning his first classic with 54-1 shot, Vision and Verse,
who was beaten a head by 29-1 shot Lemon Drop Kid.
Mott not only would go another 11 years without winning a Triple Crown race,
he would not saddle another horse in the Belmont until 2010.
Now, here he was, 11 years later to the day, sitting atop his pony in the
exact same spot outside his barn, again reflecting on the Belmont Stakes, to be
run later that afternoon, and his dubious record in the Triple Crown.
But this time was different. Mott felt “strangely relaxed” as he eyed a
handsome chestnut colt walking past him into the barn. WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer had just stretched his legs with a
solid gallop around the training track, and Mott, having watched the colt turn
in a bullet five-furlong work in :59 3/5 five days earlier, couldn’t help but
But, as far as winning his first classic, he wasn’t going to dwell on things
he had no control over.
“If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be,” Mott said. “All I can do is keep
trying. If it’s not this year I’ll try again next year. That’s the beauty of
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