An interview with Mike Rogers, Business Manager for Adena Springs North and Stronach Stables, and Sean Smullen, Farm Trainer for Adena Springs:
KNR: Can you tell me about the decision to breed to that horse (Motivator?)
MR: What happened was, there was a private offering to buy shares in him; He was a syndicated stallion. Frank reviewed it, thought it was a good investment, so we bought a share in Motivator. So we own a share in Motivator. The Queen is the controlling shareholder, but we own a share, so once we purchased a share in him, the Queen stands him at The Royal Stud, so we sent one of our mares over there to breed to him because we’re part owner and we bought a share in him. And that foal of course is Mobilizer.
KNR: So that share entitles you to one breeding per year?
MR: Yes. Actually I think the first year they allowed two. They allowed two breedings in year one with our share, and the other foal wasn’t born, the mare didn’t catch, so we only have the one foal, and that was Mobilizer.
KNR: So since then have you continued to breed a mare to him each year?
MR: No, we haven’t, we haven’t taken advantage of that share. I think one year we sold it, and then the other year he couldn’t stand because he had a health issue he was dealing with, and I’m sure this year we’ll send another mare to him.
KNR: Can you tell me why the decision was made to send that particular mare (Kris Is It, dam of Mobilizer) to Motivator?
MR: For sure it had to be a barren mare, she couldn’t be in foal, because of the timing to ship them over there, so we went through our list, we looked for mares that weren’t in foal at the time, because the timing wouldn’t have worked, because we had to get them in quarantine and get them over there. And with our typical breeding program, we don’t like to inbreed, so that foal, Mobilizer, is not inbred. So that was one of the reasons.
KNR: What time of year did you have to send her (Kris Is It) over there?
MR: We sent her over in the fall of 2005 I think it was. We boarded her at a stable over there for a while, then she bred to Motivator and we brought her back I think it was roughly 65 or 70 days after being in foal. We brought her back actually to the States first to our Kentucky farm, it was just easier, and then we shipped her up to Canada in the fall of that year, and she had Mobilizer here in Canada.
KNR: So she had to be in England a certain period of time before she was bred as part of the quarantine rules?
MR: Yeah. We just wanted to get her over there sooner, get her acclimatized. We got her in the fall and she was bred that winter. She got covered early, early January. We’ve sold her since, we probably shouldn’t have.
KNR: That’s usually how it goes, right? I wonder if you can tell me if you have any memories of Mobilizer as a foal? Was he a standout?
MR: Me, I’m the business manager, but I was always getting reports that he was well liked. And then when he was being broken as a young horse at our Florida farm, the trainer down there said he was clearly standing out as one of the better ones. Then when we got him to Roger Attfield. He immediately liked him. He liked him right away. When he was two years old, Roger said, ‘let’s be patient with this horse’, and we’ve done whatever Roger recommended, but he liked him from day one, so he’s clearly shown himself as having above average abilities right from the very beginning.
KNR: Do you know of anyone I could speak to who worked with him at a young age?
SS (Sean Smullen, who happened to be standing nearby): He was with a group of two year olds that came up that year and started breezing a little bit on the farm. I mean he really stood out. He was the one that would jump out at you. I remember watching him breeze, and he just stood out amongst them, you know what I mean?
KNR: This was as a two-year-old?
SS: This was as a two-year-old after coming up from Adena Springs South.
KNR: Can you tell me what his course of action was, after he was broke as a yearling, what he did from there before he began his career?
SS: The majority of the two-year-olds ship from Adena Springs South up to Adena Springs North. He just started to progress a lot at the early stages. We just started breezing them a bit, then they went to their various trainers. So he was at the farm for a short period of time and had a couple of early breezes then went on to Roger.
KNR: Mike, one more comment from you. You know obviously the last time the Queen was here was in 1997, of course another Stronach homebred that year (winner Awesome Again). Do you think that’s an omen?
MR: I don’t know, it would be fantastic, it’s definitely pretty exciting. You know, she invited us over for dinner. All the shareholders in Motivator, we went over to Windsor Castle and had dinner with her, so she’s clearly had a connection already, so it would be great to see this horse win.
KNR: When did you get to do that?
MR: It was May of 2006, so Motivator’s first year at stud, she invited all the shareholders over for dinner, so we had dinner at Windsor Castle. It was amazing.
KNR: Well maybe you’ll get to meet up with her again.
MR: That would be great.
A few comments from Roger Attfield, trainer of Mobilizer:
KNR: Roger, how do you feel about Mobilizer coming in off of his big effort in the Plate Trial? Do you feel confident in him?
RA: I think that probably would have done him some good, because he’s a horse that didn’t run as a two-year-old, and the schedule I put together for him I think has made sense, and I’m happy with it. I would have liked to have seen him win that race, but he ran a good race. He was really tight there inside and I think he still gets a little antagonized when that happens, and we thought maybe he hung a bit, Jono thought he had plenty of horse there and he should have got up, but he actually did get his head in front there, and the other horse really dug in and run hard. Maybe that’s what got me beat, and Jono tried to actually run the horse strongly. I might run him in cheaters on the day, you know the cheater blinkers, because he just might hang a little bit when he gets to a horse, you know?
KNR: He’s clearly a very talented horse, so I wonder if you could tell me when you started seeing that talent with him?
RA: I saw it as a two-year-old, I was very high on him as a two-year-old, but he was very immature and that’s why I didn’t run him as a two-year-old. He had a few baby aches and pains that stopped me from moving forward maybe at the end of the year, but basically if I had run him, it would only have been once or twice at the end of the year.
*Look for a feature on Mobilizer later this week on Bloodhorse.com.