TORONTO, October 24, 2020 – Belichick and jockey Luis Contreras won the 129th running of the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes, third leg of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown, over 1-1/2 miles on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.
Bred in Ontario by Sean Fitzhenry, the three-year-old Lemon Drop Kid-Game colt is trained by Josie Carroll for owners NK Racing and LNJ Foxwoods.
Top three finishers: Belichick – Meyer – English Conqueror
Final time: 2:32.51 over a ‘good’ course
Luis Contreras, jockey of Breeders’ Stakes champion Belichick (1st)
Jeff Bratt (JB): You could tell early on they were going quickly up front.
Luis Contreras (LC): “They kind of broke early in the race so I just tried to see them and relax my horse as much as I can. He was very uncomfortable; this horse has a different style to run so I just let him be happy wherever he wants to be. Turning for home, I was just in hand all the way to the quarter pole and I asked him to run from the stretch home and he did.”
JB: Was it also the case where you didn’t want to pull the trigger too early?
LC: “Yes, definitely. I was just watching, just feeling my horse at the same time. And he was doing great the whole way. He came into this race very ready, good thing for Josie [Carroll] and all the crew.”
Daisuke Fukumoto, jockey of favoured Triple Crown contender Mighty Heart (7th)
Brodie Lawson (BL): This is not the interview we were hoping to do, but tell us what happened out there.
Daisuke Fukumoto (DF): “Today he broke good and I didn’t plan on going to the front. He was sharp like in the Queen’s Plate, I tried to take hold and he relaxed a little bit in the backstretch but with the mile and a half you need the stamina. I think he just got tired. He tried hard today, I tried to take hold too…but that’s racing.
“He gave me many experiences and I’m so proud of him. I want everyone to keep following him when he runs again next time.”
Josie Carroll, trainer of Belichick and Mighty Heart
Brodie Lawson (BL): Talk to me about the final stretch here especially.
Josie Carroll (JC): “I’ve said from the very start that Belichick is a very, very special horse that’s just coming into his own and I think he showed that today. He’s a powerful horse.”
BL: How are you feeling? What are you going to say to the jockey post-ride?
JC: “I’m not going to say anything right now! I’m just going to enjoy the moment for him, and obviously I’m disappointed for Larry [Cordes] and his connections for Mighty Heart.”
BL: Speaking of Mighty Heart, an incredible lead for most of that race. What happened?
JC: “I think he got dogged most of the way by another horse, the fractions were a little fast. I don’t think he could get him to relax with that horse sitting right on him all the way. I thought we were in trouble going down the backside when that horse wouldn’t let up off of him.”
Jeff Bratt (JB): Let’s talk about Belichick, you’ve always been very high on this horse. Ran great in the Queen’s Plate, was it after the Plate that you said let’s give him a break and go into the Breeders’ Stakes?
JC: “Yeah, the Queen’s Plate was a breakout race for him and we couldn’t come back that quickly in the Prince of Wales. A horse needs a little time to regroup from something like that, a young, inexperienced horse. And regroup he did.”
JB: In his first start, he was studdish and immature. How much has he learned from that to where he is now?
JC: “Oh my god, he’s a different horse. He was so distracted the first race. I came over here with high expectations of him, I knew in the paddock I was in trouble…he was looking at a white pony and he was all googly-eyed at them, all over the place. And then off of that race he seasoned a little, and then more so the next race, and then today when I was back at the barn he was sleeping all day, stretched right out in the stall…just crashed. The nerves are all gone, he’s just turned into a real professional.
JB: Let’s talk Mighty Heart. Was the game plan to go to the front or did you just let Daisuke run his own race?
JC: “I told him, ‘Let’s see how this falls out. If you make the lead, watch your fractions…it’s a long, long race.’ The horse broke well, he found himself up there, unfortunately another horse dogged him the whole way and he couldn’t get the horse to come off the bridle and relax.”