Tom Pedulla is interviewing prominent owners, trainers and jockeys for America’s Best Racing as they travel the Road to the 147th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 1 at Churchill Downs.
weekend TV schedule
Carl Moore, a prominent Southwest owner, is featured this week. He and trainer Joe Sharp will take their Derby shot by sending longshot Twilight Blue into the $1 million, Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile Rebel offers the top four finishers Derby qualifying points according to a 50-20-10-5 scale, meaning the winner is essentially guaranteed a spot in the 20-horse field on the first Saturday in May.
Moore, 66, is a retired Texas businessman who has never had a horse compete in a Triple Crown race. He is best known as the owner of Chamberlain Bridge, winner of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He purchased Twilight Blue for $45,000 at Keeneland’s September yearling sale. The colt has already earned $122,624 in winning two of six starts with a runner-up finish and a third-place effort.
Twilight Blue will break from post-position five in a field of eight with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard. Concert Tour, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, will start from post seven as the 7-5 favorite for the Rebel. Caddo River, who drew the rail, is just behind him at 2-1.
As for Twilight Blue, who comes off a gritty allowance victory at Oaklawn, he is the longest shot at 50-1. Then again, chasing the Derby is all about hopes and dreams.
PEDULLA: How did you become involved as a Thoroughbred owner?
MOORE: My parents (Betty and Tommy) had some horses and it got in my blood. I loved it.
PEDULLA: When did you acquire your first horses?
MOORE: Lone Star Park opened here in the late 90s. I claimed a horse the first year and started claiming a few here and there, having fun, and I’ve been in it since the late-90s. When Lone Star is open, I’m there all the time.
PEDULLA: You had the good fortune to own Chamberlain Bridge. What was that experience like?
MOORE: He’s here at my farm (in Fort Worth, Texas). He retired dead sound. The only thing he had was quarter cracks that would come up every once in a while.
PEDULLA: What did it mean to win a Breeders’ Cup race with him?
MOORE: It was something I never dreamed of. I looked up to the heavens and said, ‘Lord, why me? How blessed am I?’ It was unbelievable.
PEDULLA: Approximately how many racehorses do you currently own?
MOORE: I’m averaging 10-15 horses on the track.
PEDULLA: What is the composition of your stable?
MOORE: I watch (for claiming opportunities) and I read the Daily Racing Form. I’ll call Joe and say, ‘I like this horse. What do you think about it?’ I pretty much do my own thing. I go to Keeneland every year and buy anywhere from two to five yearlings at the September sale. Sometimes I’ll buy 2-year-olds at the Ocala sale and the Texas sale.
PEDULLA: What do you look for?
MOORE: I want the best athlete I can find with the best (pedigree) page I can afford. Does that make sense?
PEDULLA: Sure. Absolutely. Is there a price range you keep to?
MOORE: Typically, I spend between $50,000 and $100,000 for them.
PEDULLA: You feel you can get quality in that range?
MOORE: It’s harder to get a great pedigree with that. But I’m looking for an athlete first that is correct and balanced.
PEDULLA: You paid $45,000 for Twilight Blue. What was it about him that was attractive?
MOORE: I loved him. He just had that walk to him. Very athletic, very correct, and I liked how balanced he was.
PEDULLA: Why take a shot with him in the Rebel?
MOORE: Joe thinks he deserves it. He’s training like a monster. He loves Oaklawn. He loves training. I know there will be some bears in there, but he’s a solid horse. If you watch a video of his last race, you can see how game he was on the rail. He had a horse that was just crowding the heck out of him and he just pinned his ears and kept coming. He’s a horse that gives you 120%.
PEDULLA: Why did you choose Joe Sharp as your trainer?
MOORE: He’s full of energy. He believes in doing what is right for the horse. One thing I love is every time one of my horses works, I get a video on my phone usually 30 minutes after the work. You feel like you’re part of it. He’s just a good, honest person.
PEDULLA: If you could get to the Derby with Twilight Blue, what would it mean to you?
MOORE: Oh, it would be a lifetime dream. That’s where everybody wants to go.