Owner Moore on Evaluating Racing Prospects, Taking Shot in Rebel With Twilight Blue

The Life
Twilight Blue, on the inside, tries graded stakes company in the Rebel Stakes on Saturday. (Coady Photography)

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

Thursday, March 11: post time varies on TVG

Friday, March 12:
post time varies on TVG

Saturday, March 13:
2 p.m.-3 p.m. ET on FS1; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, March 14:
1:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

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?

Chamberlain Bridge wins the 2010 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs. (Eclipse Sportswire)

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?

Joe Sharp, trainer of Twilight Blue. (Eclipse Sportswire)

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.

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