A well-bred, three-time Grade I winner, Art Collector (Bernardini), the winner of last Saturday’s GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S., has a future as a sire. But that will have to wait. Not only will he race this year as 6-year-old, but owner Bruce Lunsford is hoping that Art Collector can have a full campaign in 2023, one reminiscent of a foregone era when horses raced more often. Those were among the insights Lunsford provided when appearing as this week’s Green Group Guest of the Week on the TDN Writers’ Room podcast. The podcast is presented each week by Keeneland.
“Bill (Mott) has been told by me that if he continues do well we will continue,” Lunsford said. “That was a pretty good race the other day in the Pegasus and it gives us a chance to take more shots.”
While Lunsford understands the economics of the sport, where, oftentimes a horse can make considerably more money breeding than racing, the owner wants to enjoy watching Art Collector run for at least one more year.
“It used to be that horse racing was never meant to be your main source of living,” Lunsford said. “It was more like owning a baseball team or a football team. You have the guy who owns Rich Strike, is having the experience of his life and is going to keep running him. We need more of that in the game. I love the excitement. Winning the Pegasus made my blood pump.”
The owner said that the next race for Art Collector has yet to be decided upon, while adding that “there’s a list of 10 races that would fit him this year.”
Lunsford also addressed his decision in 2021 to turn the horse over to Mott after he had been trained by Tom Drury. For Drury, Art Collector win the GI Blue Grass S., but finished off the board in his final three races for that trainer.
“Tommy and I have an incredibly close relationship,” Lunsford said. “But after that last race at Churchill (a sixth-place finish in the Kelly’s Landing S.), I went in and talked to Tommy. I knew it was it was a punch to the gut for him. I told him that I wanted to go to New York because there were a lot of big races there for him to run in. Tommy and I, we’re probably closer now than we’ve ever been. We’ve kept a great relationship. I think I made the decision on the right terms and I took a little heat for it. But I just kept my mouth shut and let things happen. Sometimes you have to do things likes this.”
Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by Coolmore,https://lanesend.com/ Lane’s End, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, XBTV https://www.kentuckybred.org/and https://www.threechimneys.com/ West Point Thoroughbreds, Zoe Cadman, Randy Moss and Bill Finley discussed the latest decision handed down by the courts to the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) and speculated on whether or not HISA could survive the setback. This week’s 3-year-old watch included a review of the GIII Southwest S., won impressively by Arabian Knight (Uncle Mo), and a discussion of Bob Baffert’s domination of the 3-year-old ranks in California. In Saturday’s GIII Robert B. Lewis S., Baffert trains all four horses in the field and trains 14 of the 16 horses nominated.
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