Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper's Classic Causeway stamped himself as a major GI Kentucky Derby contender Saturday when convincingly taking the GIII Sam F. Davis S. at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Brian Lynch, and Tuesday, Lynch joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland. Sitting down with Joe Bianca and Bill Finley as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Lynch talked about his colt–one of the final horses by late superstar sire Giant's Causeway–provided updates on other top horses in his barn, reminisced about his time spent as an assistant for Bobby Frankel and more.
“I thought I might have dodged the [GIII] Holy Bull into a tougher spot, once it had all come out on paper,” Lynch said of the Sam Davis. “Because it looked like it was a pretty competitive race and a lot of horses wanted to be forwardly placed and that was the way I'd seen him running his race. When I walked into the paddock, it was a really good-looking group of 3-year-olds. But then when he walked in, I thought, 'Ah, I'm OK.' He looked great. When that :22 and change came up [for the first quarter] and they straightened for the run down the backside, I could see [jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.'s] body language telling me, 'I'm cruising. I'm comfortable. This [other horse] is hanging on to me, but I've got plenty of horse.' When we got halfway around the far turn, you could see them all try and edge up on him, but Irad still hadn't moved a finger. So that gave me plenty of confidence that he had some horse for his run down the lane.”
Asked about his time working for the legendary Frankel, Lynch said, “I trained for a lot of years out in California on my own and I'd known Bobby for many, many years before I went to work for him. I trained for Golden Eagle Farm, and when Mr. [John] Mabee died, Bobby said to me, 'They're going to downsize that operation, you need to come work for me. We've got a lot of 2-year-olds coming in here.' He talked me into coming out to Saratoga and taking a string of horses for him there. And every day, I think of what a blessing that was. It was my best move. He exposed me to a lot of good clients and a lot of good horses. When I think back, Bobby was probably not the greatest teacher, but if you were around him and didn't learn a lot, shame on you. He had that sixth sense, and he was all about the horse first. It was just a great experience to be around him for so many years, and it gave me a good feel for how to manage horses, how to get them to the races and how to keep them around.”
Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, XBTV, Lane's End, West Point Thoroughbreds and Legacy Bloodstock, the hosts welcomed John Sadler to give an injury update on his barn superstar Flightline (Tapit) and held their annual 3-year-old fantasy draft. Click here for the video podcast; click here for the audio-only version or find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.