Trainer Danny Gargan Joins TDN Writers' Room

Danny Gargan celebrates first career Grade I in the Belmont S.| Sarah Andrew

Dornoch (Good Magic) had not been running particularly well. He was a badly beaten fourth in the GI Blue Grass S. and followed that up with a 10th place showing in the GI Kentucky Derby. But trainer Danny Gargan never gave up on his colt, and was brimming with confidence in the days leading up to the GI Belmont S., contested this year at Saratoga. He was proven right as the bay colt won the final leg of the Triple Crown by a half-length at odds of 17-1.

“We were unfortunate in the Derby and got stuck in behind a wall and just kept checking the whole way around,” Gargan said. “At one point we had two horses beat and that's not our running style. I just drew a line through it. [Jockey] Luis [Saez], got off of him that day and said, 'We're going to win the Belmont, Danny. I never got to let him run.' So if he was only beaten 15 lengths when he never got a chance to run and, if this time, he could break and get his position I knew he'd be really tough. And he loves this track. ”

Gargan discussed his Belmont triumph on this week's TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland. He was the Green Group Guest of the Week.

Gargan said the key this time was that they regrouped and decided to once again let the little brother of Mage use his early speed, which can be a potent weapon.

“He's not the world's fastest out of the gate,” Gargan said. “Then he broke as good as he did and Luis had so much horse. The first hundred yards, he just drug him right there and down the backside. I could see he had a lot of horse. If you watch it up close, he's just loaded with horse all the way around there. We were just blessed that he showed up and ran the race we always knew he had in him.”

When it comes to comparing Dornoch to Mage, Gargan said they are two very different horses.

“They're totally opposites,” said Gargan, who also won Sunday's GIII Matt Winn S. at Churchill with Society Man (Good Magic). “I'd say Mage is more like Good Magic. He's a smaller, stocky, chestnut like Society Man. A lot of the Good Magics look like that. They're not really big, robust bay horses. They're medium sized chestnuts, most of them.  They all look alike, but Dornoch is the spitting image of his dam, Puca. In the head and the shoulder, he looks so much like the mare. It's unbelievable.”

In our breeding spotlight section we took a look at the WinStar stallion Global Campaign.

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders' Association,  1/ST Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds, and, the team of Zoe Cadman, Randy Moss and Bill Finley dissected the Belmont Stakes and the other major races run over the weekend in Saratoga. As well as Thorpedo Anna (Fast Anna) ran in winning the GI Acorn S., Moss wondered aloud if trainer Kenny McPeek regretted not running her in the Derby. There was also a discussion of the final day of racing at Golden Gate Fields. Cadman was there and gave her observations on what was a bittersweet afternoon.

This would not be a complete podcast without commenting on the drug regulations fiasco that went on all week in Louisiana. Fortunately, the Louisiana Racing Commission was backed into a corner by HISA and Churchill Downs and had to scrap rules that would have been, by far, the most lenient drug regulations in the sport.

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