“The Pressbox” Exclusive Q&A Series With Breeders’ Cup Horses: Today’s Interview with Classic Contender Lone Sailor

(Lone Sailor was a handful before this year’s Kentucky Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(The majestic-looking Lone Sailor schooled in the paddock at Churchill Downs before this year’s Kentucky Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

By Holly M. Smith:

The Breeders’ Cup buzz is in the air here in Louisville. Horses are arriving daily at Churchill Downs for the big event. Our backside correspondent and photographer, Holly M. Smith, has caught up with a few contenders. Over the next few days, we will be bringing you some exclusive interviews as they await the weekend. For some, this will be the biggest race for their career.

Stay tuned for more!

Can we get a WHO DAT?!?!  There is going to be a little New Orleans flair in this years Breeder’s Cup.  It isn’t the connections first go-round at the Breeder’s Cup Championship’s, and they have even had multiple Kentucky Derby starters in just a few short years.   There will be plenty of Dixie Beer toasts should this guy bring it home.

What race/s are your targeting for the 2018 Breeder’s Cup?

You know they never let me in on the decision making. Mr. Amoss just sends me to the track in the mornings, and I go round and round, and run and run until they tell me to stop…I love my job, and, basically, I just run where they tell me…as far as the Breeders Cup, it does not matter to me…I can run long if they want…I ran this distance against 19 of the best with a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby, and finished 8th, and if they choose the Dirt Mile – I would welcome a fast pace…either way…running in the Breeders Cup is an honor.

**Since this interview, it has been decided that Lone Sailor will run in the Breeder’s Cup Classic

Who are your parents?

My mom is named Ambitious. She is a Kentucky-bred, and dad is Majestic Warrior. He lives year-round in Japan. He is a Grade I winner. He won the Hopeful Stakes. I have cool parents.

Can you tell us a little about your owners?

Our owner is awesome. She owns a bunch of cool stuff. She is the best. Her name is Gayle Benson, and of course she was married to the late, great Tom Benson. I met him once, totally cool and very successful. They own an NFL and NBA team. They own a beer company called Dixie Beer…so when I retire to stud, I hope I can, at least, get a keg of Dixie in my stall. I love when Mrs. Benson comes to the races. I can’t wait to see her on Breeders Cup Saturday.

Who is your trainer?

Tom Amoss – one of the best. One of the smartest too. From time to time, when I am resting in the stable, I can hear his voice on TVG. He cares about the well-being of all of the horses in his barn.

It’s race day, how do you get your game face on?

I have Drew Brees do the “WHO DAT” chant for me.

Favorite snack?

Have you seen how strong and fit I always look? You can’t maintain that type of strong body and enjoy snacks.

Favorite racetrack?

I love the history of Saratoga and my owners hometown where the Fair Grounds is ,and of course the beauty of Keeneland; but I would have to say my favorite is Churchill Downs. I have an small efficiency apartment on the backside there so I spend the majority of the year there.

What has been your most memorable racing moment so far?

Probably the walk over with Mrs. Benson and our entire GMB Racing team on Kentucky Derby Day in 2018. It was fun to share that excitement with them. It was pouring rain and sloppy. I felt bad because Mrs. Benson is such an elegant lady who dresses so nice. I felt horrible she was covered in mud. But she did not care, which was cool.

Favorite sports team (college or pro)?

I think I would be gelded if I did not choose the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans.

If you could have dinner with any other horse alive or deceased, who would it be and why?

I would probably like to have dinner with two horses; Affirmed and Alydar. They had so many epic battles down the stretch and I am familiar with close finishes so I would like to commiserate with them. But honestly I have so much respect for those two horses.

What are you looking forward to most about Breeder’s Cup at Churchill Downs?

Being around all of the best horses in America and being with all of the best horses from all over the world. The Breeders Cup brings together the world’s best, but I am really looking forward to competing and winning.

Anything else you would like to say to your fans?

I love all of our fans and I appreciate them. When I won the Oklahoma Derby, the Saints were flying back from New York after beating the Giants and I heard the whole team was cheering me on. I hope I make them all proud on November 3.


Find my trainer on Twitter @tomamossracing and my connections @gmbracing


The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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