Home Horse Racing On the Rise: Coach Riley Mott

On the Rise: Coach Riley Mott

On the Rise: Coach Riley Mott


Coaching on his personal since Nov. 1 of final yr, Riley Mott obtained the most effective schooling doable 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, shortly established himself as a coach on the rise by successful his first race together with his third starter, Unifying, at Churchill Downs Nov. 10. And it was Unifying who offered the younger horseman together 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 gained three races for Mott. He’s among the many 40 horses beneath his care in Kentucky.

In addition to attracting new homeowners, a number of of his father’s homeowners 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, High 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 educated by his father.

Riley Mott and his spouse, Megan, stay 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 house.

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

Riley Mott: That’s a query I’ve been requested quite a bit not too long ago. My reply is that it’s really not likely any totally 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 properly groomed and educated for this second.

The main distinction is the monetary facet of it. Beginning your personal enterprise, in any business, is a significant value and a danger — one which I used to be joyful to take.

BH: What was the sensation wish to have gained your first stakes final month with Unifying — the identical filly that gave you your first win in November and a horse educated 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 figuring out that she would find yourself in my barn. She debuted with my dad [finishing second in September], simply because my begin date was Nov. 1.

To not sound cocky or unappreciative about [winning my first stakes], however I’ve been in that scenario so usually with my dad that successful a stakes — whilst you’re tremendous enthusiastic about it — is form of a standard kind 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, however it was a sense that I felt earlier than. However, I let you know 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 joyful for the homeowners. They caught their necks out for me early on and they’re actually good folks and it’s an enormous partnership. You’re all the time joyful for the individuals who help you early on.

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

RM: It was probably earlier than my tenth birthday. There was no particular time or second that I bear 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 dad and mom’ family. I began going to the barn at a really, very younger age, largely to expend vitality. I used to be a fairly hyperactive baby. 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 wished to do after their schooling. Understanding what I wished to do most likely saved me a whole lot of stress — not having to soul search.

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

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

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

Once I selected to let my dad know that I used to be going out by myself, on this date and this yr, it wasn’t essentially about an proprietor saying, ‘I’m going to ship you 20 horses to exit by yourself.’ It was, roughly, 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 yr previous to me going out by myself. I wished to present myself a protracted time period to do issues in a meticulous [manner]. I wished 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 exhausting to depart as a result of I had been wanting to do that for thus a few years. However final yr, my dad had the most effective numbers of his profession, and I left him at the moment. In order that simply form of goes to point out folks how severe I used to be about beginning this new chapter. I might have simply stayed his assistant for the subsequent 10 years — rode the wave and made extraordinarily good cash, and labored with prime, prime horses, and other people alike. I’m so glad that Dad has continued to do properly, 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: [Winning] the Kentucky Derby [with Country House in 2019 via the disqualification of Maximum Security] 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 gained’t win the Derby sometime, however not that exact expertise.

My dad and I have been within the tunnel after the race, strolling all the way down to unsaddle, and have been hugging, high-fiving, and crying in pleasure [because we finished second with Country House 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 gained by way of 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 good friend, he’s my mentor, he’s my dad. That was actually particular.

BH: What was the one most vital 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 might study by way of commentary. An enormous piece of recommendation he gave me from a really younger age was don’t burn bridges with folks. This can be a recreation the place should you’re a coach, you’re going to get fired at one level. When you haven’t gotten fired, you haven’t carried out this lengthy sufficient. He all the time simply confused that you just don’t maintain it in opposition to folks, preserve 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 realized from him. To not sound cocky about it, however it’s simply been such a straightforward transition for me to start out coaching as a result of I used to be so properly ready. Simply watching him my entire life and seeing how he treats folks 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: Perhaps I’m biased, however I believe he is without doubt one of the most down-to-earth folks I’ve ever met. He sees each side to each story. He has a whole lot of empathy and is aware of how different folks 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 invaluable in life. I believe with the ability to see issues by way of the lens of others round you is so vital.

BH: You’ve change into a coach throughout a really difficult time for the business, which is beneath intense scrutiny by the general public. How does that affect your mindset as you go about your corporation? 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 might do to restrict danger and harm was essential to him.

With the issues (racing) has had in Kentucky with the injured horses, and many others., that clearly additionally occurred only a few years in the past in California [at Santa Anita Park in 2019]. The racing in that state appeared like they have been in main bother after which they made drastic adjustments. Wanting again now, I used to be by no means actually involved about the way forward for racing when that was happening in California. I used to be like, ‘Okay, they’ll repair it, and we’re going to get previous it, and all of it will likely be high quality.’

However what has occurred most not too long ago; that is the primary time I’ve ever been actually nervous concerning the future. I might 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 bought a household to feed and I’m not likely good at a lot else apart from 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 beneath my care. I must care for these horses and ensure they’re match to coach. If they don’t seem to be, do one thing totally different and care for them. I’m targeted on my horses and their security and defending my purchasers as a result of they’re closely invested in these horses. I hope different folks really feel the identical means and care for their obligations.

There are various people who find themselves working very exhausting to make racing safer and make what we have now a extra palatable product.

BH: With the latest implementation of guidelines from the Horseracing Integrity and Security Authority in pressure, how does it affect a younger horseman, comparable to your self, who’s simply beginning out?

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



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