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May 15, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We are joined now live in the interview tent with the winning jockey, Martin Garcia. We'll be joined momentarily by the winning owners and trainer of Looking At Lucky.
Martin, congratulations. 25 years old. I know not too long ago you were working in a deli before you became a jockey. First and foremost, take us through the trip around the track today.
MARTIN GARCIA: Well, I was, like, happy to get to run in that race. I, like, just follow instruction for Mr. Baffert. Today, he told me that to just break good here, and the try to stay dry in the first turn. That's what I did. The second couple miles, he told me just try to get clear where you don't have too many problems. Then I get it from there.
THE MODERATOR: It looked like you were never in any trouble, but it did get a little tight on you maybe at the start, maybe approaching the first turn. Were you ever worried this could be a problem?
MARTIN GARCIA: You know, I never worry because I don't think that -- they could not see the other horse where I was. So what I was doing, just trying to follow the horses what was in the lead and just keep going from there.
So I never, like, get upset or whatever in that position. I was happy with that.
THE MODERATOR: Martin, this was not your first Triple Crown mount. That occurred two weeks ago at the Kentucky Derby. Did the experience at Louisville help prepare you in any way for the excitement of the Preakness?
MARTIN GARCIA: Well, that race, it was -- I know that it was a big race. And then -- but my horse really a speed horse. So just like I went and rode. And then, hopefully, my horse (interference on line ).
I mean, it was a good day. I had a really great horse. And then I know that today was a special day for me. I know that I come to ride Lookin at Lucky. It was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. And then, well, he would be here, too. I was really happy to come in with that horse race today.
THE MODERATOR: Up at the table are two of the three owners of Looking At Lucky. In the middle is Paul Weitmann, on our far right is Carl Watson. Paul and Carl own a very successful automobile business in Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona sports supporters.
Gentlemen, congratulations. First thing I want to ask you, people well-acquainted with the bad luck that Lookin At Lucky had. It stretches back last year to the Breeders Cup Juvenile where a bad post and a bad trip contributed to his lone two-year-old defeat. How tough was it, as owners, who have a lot invested emotionally and financially in a horse to see the same bad luck time after time and how satisfying does that make today's victory?
PAUL WEITMANN: It's discouraging when that happens to you as many times as it did. It's very discouraging. It was time for some luck. We had it. We had the good draw. The horse was ready. Bobby had the horse ready. As you know, Martin did a wonderful job of riding. It was our time. It happened today.
I thought he was capable of it all along, but somewhere along the line in sports, you can't keep using excuses; you have to win. So I'm very happy for everybody today.
THE MODERATOR: Carl, anything to add?
CARL WATSON: It's discouraging when you have the bad draw, you get pushed on the rail. But those things happen. They don't just happen to us, they happen in this sport.
But, you know, if you can't take it, you don't need to be in the sport.
I think for me, I can't speak for Paul and Mike, but I was always extremely confident. So it was easier to take that than you thought this was your one shot, blew it, so on and so forth. We always knew, The next trip, we'll be there. The next race we were confident. It just took a few more than I hoped it would take.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Weitmann and Mr. Watson are joined in the podium by Michael Pegram. Your second Preakness win. You took a victory back in '98 with Real Quiet. I know that has to be different with having two-thirds of the Triple Crown conquered at that point. What was today like for you, and were you as confident as Mr. Watson and Mr. Weitmann said they were going in?
MICHAEL PEGRAM: When Bobby puts a saddle on the horse, you're going to be confident. He wasn't going to lead him over here unless he was ready.
There were a lot of similarities between this horse and Real Quiet. When he won it, it was like he was an undeserving champion. Coming into this run, we knew how good Lookin At Lucky was. We knew how good a training job he did going into the Derby. The day was about redemption, and we got it.
This is a great sport we're in, but it's all about the horse. And today, Lookin At Lucky got a clean trip. Martin rode him beautifully. Bobby had him ready. I tell you what, I have two partners like these guys, it just makes it sweeter.
THE MODERATOR: We'll be joined by Bob Baffert momentarily. In the meantime, we'll give people a chance to ask questions.
Q. Martin, can you tell us about the moment when you first learned you would be getting the ride aboard Lookin At Lucky?
MARTIN GARCIA: It was, like, five days before the entrance. He told me, You will be riding my horse. And then this time he's ready than ever. He's going to win the Triple Crown. This time we're not going to just ride, we got to go win.
I didn't sleep that night. I was so happy to know that I'm gonna ride that horse.
THE MODERATOR: Now we have a full house here at the table. We're joined by winning trainer Bob Baffert. Your fifth Preakness victory in your career from 11 starters. Your previous wins coming in '97, with Silver Charm, '98, Real Quiet, and then another back-to-back in '01 and '02, with Point Given and War Emblem. Maybe you're on another two-year streak here.
Tell us about the decision to put Martin aboard, and also update us on what, if any, prospects are up for the Belmont in Lookin At Lucky?
ROBERT BAFFERT: It's just as exciting. I know it's been a few years. I mean, this was a different kind of win. This was more of a redemption win. This horse is such a warrior. He wants to win. He tries so hard.
So I wanted to win it for the horse, you know, 'cause he tries so hard every time. I mean, the Derby, he had that rough trip. Santa Anita Derby, rough trip. I didn't want him to get hit.
But, you know, every time he had those rough trips, he came back. He's got a great mind. He's a cool horse. He's just a really great athlete. I mean, he's one of the best horses I've ever had. It's amazing. He's still a baby. He's so immature. He's not even three years old yet. His birthday is May 27th. He's just starting to grow right now. He's the same age as this kid here next to me.
It's great to have Mike Pegram. There's no better people to have fun with, Mike Pegram, Carl Watson, Paul Weitmann, they've been with me forever. We bought some really good ones, they bought some really bad ones, but we stick it out. The name of the game is you keep trying and you end up here.
THE MODERATOR: Bob, did Martin, aboard Lookin At Lucky, do anything tactically that Garrett would not have done?
ROBERT BAFFERT: I don't think so. I think the draw was so important. I think the draw. I think maybe he brought us some luck with the draw. I kept seeing 7 all day today. They gave me breakfast, gave me No. 7 number, that was my number to get my food. Then somebody told me that Baltimore Bob is in the 7th hole today. I don't know how he ran. Came in 7th (laughter)? That's good.
You know what, this horse was trained well. I told Mike, Let me watch him for a week. At first, I wasn't going to run him in the Preakness. I was going to take him home. I was very disappointed. I'm going to watch him for a few days. All of a sudden, he really started coming around by the weekend. That's when I decided, you know what, I told Mike, you know, I think I'm -- he's looking better every day. I would text him every day, Looking better. I told them not to put the plane in the shop next week, just in case.
By Sunday, I think, You know what, I think we're going to run. I want to make a rider change. They understood that. I talked to Garrett about it. He was really good about it. It's tough because Garrett is a good friend. We weren't having the luck.
But I think today, the 7 hole, Garrett probably would have won on him. So I think that was the whole key is we were drawing so poorly.
THE MODERATOR: Bob's five Preakness wins tie him for all-time with T.J. Healy and D. Wayne Lukas, two behind R. W. Walden, who had seven.
Bob, if I don't ask you, maybe it's the owners' decision, but where does Lookin At Lucky stand in terms of a possible Belmont Stakes appearance?
ROBERT BAFFERT: I don't know. I wanted to see what he did today. I wasn't really thinking about the Belmont 'cause, you know, mile-and-a-half can be pretty taxing on him for the rest of the year. We'll just sit down. We're going to get together, commitisize.
I told that guy, You better have a lot of tables ready for me if you see him cross the wires, when they were setting the tables up.
We're going to enjoy this and we'll talk about it later on.
THE MODERATOR: Martin, you kept Lookin At Lucky in the clear and out of trouble around the far turn. You did lose a little ground wide. At the very top of the stretch, there were still three or four horses still within a length of each other. When did you finally feel that you had the race won?
MARTIN GARCIA: After I crossed the wires (laughter).
I mean, my horse, had long strides. Like I said before, I tried to get out of it. He was kicking, like he was home into that position. When I asked him to go, he kicked. But at the same time, the horse was coming running. I thought once he was going to pass me, but my horse keep fighting with the other.
One horse outside come to me, and then he just take off again. When my horse kick again, I said, No, I think this race is gonna be mine, so...
Q. Bob, could you reiterate why you had so much confidence in Martin to give him the ride?
ROBERT BAFFERT: I think we're batting about 40 or 50% right now in stakes races. He works all my horses. Knows him really well. He's very light. He's got very light hands. When horses are on his back, they think they're loose. He's got a gift, like all the great ones, Shoemakers, all the great riders. He just really fits my horses well. Reminds me a lot of like Gary Stevens. Really knows, places the horses in the right spots. They run for him. That's the thing, most jockeys -- they really run for this kid. And he can really finish. When he sets the horse down, he's strong, and he's a great athlete. I mean, he's only been doing this -- when did you get your license?
MARTIN GARCIA: Like five years ago.
ROBERT BAFFERT: You know, he's just very -- you can't take that. Come here.
He took somebody's recorder (laughter).
I mean, you know, I have confidence in him. He knows that I have confidence in him. I think the jockey knows that a trainer has confidence in him, you click. If you don't have confidence in a rider, you're not going to click. Just like clients. If you don't have confidence, I can't win for them. That's the way life is, and sports.
I think we've been clicking. I sent him all over the States. He's getting a tour of the United States since he joined me, which is good, getting a lot of experience. You know, he hit the Preakness.
Hope you show up Monday to work my horses.
MARTIN GARCIA: Every day (laughter).
Q. Martin, five years ago when you were working in the deli, could you ever imagine you'd be sitting here at the victory stand of the Preakness?
MARTIN GARCIA: Let me tell you one thing, even when I start riding, I don't even know what is Preakness, what is Kentucky, any race. I just know that I need to go and ride a horse and win. That was the point.
I didn't know anything about big races.
Q. Bob, first of all, we know you and Martin have been clicking a lot, have had good success, and that gave you more confidence in him. Everybody wants to ride for you. How did Martin get his foot in the door with you?
ROBERT BAFFERT: Well, he came over, wanted to work horses for me. I started letting him work horses. I had some horses, I could tell the way he was working them, they were running for him in the morning. I started to put him on a few horses there. All of a sudden, he just started winning with them.
The thing about Martin, once I took him under my wing, he's been like a student. Like, I watch him ride races, even when he rides for other people, if I see something that he did that I didn't like, I would go and tell him, You know what, Martin, I think you messed up. You should have done that. The other day, he rode a filly. I said, You messed up. He said, Yeah, I should have let her run.
He's learning. The thing about him, he comes from very humble beginnings and he's a very humble person. You don't realize, he kept thanking me before the race for putting him on the horse. He was supposed to be worrying about the Preakness. All he was doing was thanking me. Thank you so much, Bob, for letting me ride this horse.
That's just the way he is. We're going to make a movie Blindside, too. He's going to move in with me, take care of (indiscernible).
Q. You're obviously very happy with Martin.
Three of your past Preakness winners have won the Kentucky Derby, which means a lot of pressure here in Baltimore. Did today feel like Lookin At Lucky was favored to win the Kentucky Derby, but didn't.
ROBERT BAFFERT: It's really hard to come with a really good horse. I thought this was a really good horse to win the Kentucky Derby with. When he drew the 1 hole, I just felt an emptiness. I wanted to scratch the horse. I was sick about it 'cause I knew he's down there. So I felt, like, beat. I really couldn't get into the Derby. I told my wife that day, I can't feel it because I think the 1 hole is going to kill us. Too much disadvantage around the rail, come around. I mean, Martin, he couldn't have won it from the 1 hole. It's such a disadvantage to be down there.
Calvin Burrell, when he puts up those rides in the slough, it's just amazing. It's one of those things where you forget about it, move forward. If he's great, you know -- the Derby is like the Super Bowl, and these are like the NFC Championships, but they're still just as exciting.
When he crossed today, the feeling, you can't put a price on the feeling of winning. It's unbelievable. It's like winning a gold medal. I think Lindsay Vaughn, when I met her today, she brought me some luck. Bode Miller, he got a gold. I think things just worked out that way. It was a great day.
THE MODERATOR: What are your immediate travel plans with the horse?
ROBERT BAFFERT: He leaves tomorrow. I have to decide, do I send him back to California, New York or Kentucky. I never have a plan. When he crossed the mark, I better start planning. I never have a plan. Mike Pegram knows that. I just wait. Don't make a decision till you have to.
I'm going to go back to the barn with the horse and decide, you know, what I'm going to do. But I'll let the horse tell me. Tomorrow morning, I guess we'll know. If you see him in Belmont tomorrow, or if you see him in California tomorrow, you'll know.
Q. Mr. Weitmann and Mr. Watson, can you talk about how you two got together with Mike Pegram and started owning thoroughbreds as a trio?
PAUL WEITMANN: I think the first horse we had was the horse Bob bought, and I don't remember when he bought him. His name was Midnight Loot.
Just don't tell them about million-dollar's worth of the other horses I bought for you that couldn't get out of their own way.
Anyway, we had pretty good luck with the very first horse we ever got involved together with. We've had a couple good ones.
Q. Carl, how does it feel?
CARL WATSON: Are we on TV (laughter)?
Q. Martin, given the fact you had never ridden in a Triple Crown race before this year, did the immensity of the Derby and Preakness feel overwhelming at all?
MARTIN GARCIA: You know what, these big races, you got to have a chance, and then the name of the horse, Lucky.
ROBERT BAFFERT: Were you excited? Did you want to jump off the horse? How did you feel?
MARTIN GARCIA: I feel like I just have to jump on that horse and win. I feel good. But Robert told me, Just think about it.
ROBERT BAFFERT: He's too young to understand what he did. It will hit him in a couple days.
MARTIN GARCIA: He told me, You got to think about just this race. You got to win no matter what race it is, if it's big or not. So they make me feel like, Okay, just that race.
ROBERT BAFFERT: I just tell him, pretend you're in Pleasanton, you're first riding a race, that's what it is. When you hit the wire, you can jump off the horse (laughter).
Q. (No microphone.)
ROBERT BAFFERT: I can't remember. I either win or run, can't find me, you know. It's exciting to be here, but it's so hard to get a good horse to come to these races. We've been so fortunate to -- when you stumble across a horse like this.
I got a great staff, Jimmy Barnes, his wife Dana, everybody that helps out, the grooms. They work so hard. They do all the work. I just mark the chart, delegate a lot, call the shots. But it's a team effort. It's a different kind of team. I can't think of the word I'm thinking of. I think I'm talking too much.
MARTIN GARCIA: I just want to say that -- thank you to Bob, the people who own the horse. Thank you very much, give me this big opportunity for me. I show that I can do it. So I really appreciate that help that you gave me.
ROBERT BAFFERT: I want to see you cry or something.
MARTIN GARCIA: I can't (laughter).
CARL WATSON: Losers cry. He's no loser.
Q. What is harder, getting this horse to the winner's circle or getting yourself up to the victory stand?
MICHAEL PEGRAM: Getting the horse to the winner's circle. Fortunately, we have a lot of friends, people have to do their jobs. That was the little hold-up. I want to thank everybody here at Pimlico. They've been professional, they've been good. I think we have a reputation of breaking the rules sometimes with winner's circle pictures. When you're excited, your friends travel this far, see your horse run, you want to make sure they share it with you.
That's what's so neat about this business, the camaraderie is just so great. You can see how much your friends enjoy your success. It's just a neat feeling when that happens.
Q. Tell us about the background on the name of the horse.
MICHAEL PEGRAM: We'll make it real simple. You see these five people sitting up here, you're "looking at lucky." You can pick any one of us and all five of us are luckier now to have each other and have a horse like this. That was the true meaning of the name. All three of us had different versions of it, but it all means the same thing. We all know we've been blessed. You know, the horse just keeps on showing how blessed we are.
Q. Would you say, Bob, on the day after the Kentucky Derby Point Given was more likely to run in the Preakness or Lookin At Lucky was more likely?
ROBERT BAFFERT: I felt the same about both of them. I wasn't really going to go to Pimlico. Mike told me, Don't make that decision till you have to and wait. I thought, I'll just wait.
Mike has always been like an older brother to me. He keeps me in check, in line. Just look at the horse. I change my mind every 10 minutes. So, you know, see what he looks like. I just kept in contact with Mike, let him know that I'm going to give him a few days off and see if anything comes up. By the end of the week, you know, things started coming around.
But that's the beauty about training for somebody, when you have mutual respect for each other. You know, he knows that he can go to bed at night not worrying about his horse. That's very important in a trainer/owner relationship. He knows we're working hard. Basically sort of turns me loose and I don't have to worry about upsetting him or getting fired or anything like that.
I've made some bonehead moves. Mike, that's a bonehead move I've made. That's all right. That's what happens. Sometimes we'll take a shot and it didn't work. We took a shot with Martin to see if it would work. You know, it worked. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's one of those things, I'm just glad to be up here talking to you guys because it's been a while.
Q. What time do you plan to be at the barn tomorrow morning?
ROBERT BAFFERT: I'm going to stay up all night long. As a matter of fact, I told Steve, If I win the Preakness, he can call me, I'm going to get nice and drunk, and he can do an interview with me.
Q. What time tomorrow will you be entertaining questions from the media?
ROBERT BAFFERT: Well, I think my assistant Jim, he's on the phone. Jimmy, what time we leaving tomorrow? 7. So I got to be here real early. I'll be here 5 minutes to 7 (laughter). That's the best assistant trainer right there, Jimmy. He takes so much abuse from me, but he's a great guy. He works hard. If I paid him by the hour, I couldn't afford him. He's an amazing guy. It's so great to win with him. He's one of my best assistants I ever had. I just love the guy. He's like a brother to me. He works so hard. He deserves a lot of the credit.
Q. Was it a tough decision not to breed Lookin At Lucky between the Derby and the Preakness?
ROBERT BAFFERT: He's different than my other horses. The thing about these races, you get a lot of mileage every year I'm here. I always take a lot of mental notes about things and different horses. But this horse, he ran hard in the Kentucky Derby, because when he was 20 lengths back, he made that big arc. I wanted to keep the lid on him. I didn't want to do too much.
I think my experience helps coming into these races. What could I have done different or whatever. I think with him, I think that was the way to go. You know, you learn to read your horse pretty well. Like I told Mike, I told him this week, he's training better than he's ever trained before. We just kept it real quiet.
But then there's that possibility where we get the trip, we dig in, it's easy to lose a little faith on him when he has these big trips. I heard people say he gets in trouble because maybe he's not that good. But we've been so hard on this horse. Today, when I saw Martin hit that wire, I was so happy for that horse.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you and congratulations.
End of FastScripts