As we enter the final weeks of the NFL playoff season, there's little worse than walking into the office on Monday morning to hear coworkers lamenting the play of their favorite quarterback.
For trainer Robert “Butch” Reid, however, the phrase Monday Morning QB is one of the things that keeps him excited about waking up early to head to the barn.
It represents a talented 3-year-old colt in his barn, one which appears poised to tackle a Kentucky Derby points prep in his next start. A son of freshman sire Imagining, Monday Morning QB won the $100,000 Heft Stakes over seven furlongs in his most recent start at Laurel Park.
Reid is currently aiming the colt at Aqueduct's G3 Withers on Feb. 1, though the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel also remains a possibility for his two-turn debut.
“He's bred to run all day,” Reid explained. “He was a little bit behind the other guys early on because he was so big. I think at Laurel he weighed in at 1170 lbs (on Dec. 28)… but this horse is still learning.”
Monday Morning QB is out of the Not For Love mare How My Heart Works, a half-sister to half-million dollar earner Awesome Flower. His third dam is also the dam of Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed.
His sire, Imagining (Giant's Causeway), won the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes on the turf. The freshman stallion is out of the multiple Grade 1-placed A.P. Indy mare Daydreaming, so the colt possesses strong stamina influences on both sides of his pedigree.
Co-owner Charles Zacney won the Maryland-bred Monday Morning QB with a final bid of $25,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Yearling sale. The colt has already earned $105,000 in three career starts.
“We didn't buy him to be a turf horse, but the fact that he can run so well on the dirt has been a pleasant surprise,” said Reid. “Actually, we bought several yearlings at the same sale, and they've all come out to run well.”
Zacney and Reid think a lot of Monday Morning QB, so when the colt was defeated on debut by a colt named NY Traffic, Zacney bought in to that horse as well.
“I guess it's what they say: 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!'” said Reid, laughing.
NY Traffic is now trained by Saffie Joseph in South Florida, and recently won a second-level allowance at Gulfstream by 6 1/2 lengths.
Reid has been employed by Zacney for the past 10 years, and the pair have found good success at their Parx base. Reid may have grown up in the shadow of Atlantic City, but he came up as the assistant under his brother Mark Reid, who was the leading trainer at Parx in the 1980's.
Reid did a good bit of traveling around on the track but returned to Parx when casino gaming became legal in 2006. His best years were in 2011, when he won the Breeders' Cup Marathon with Afleet Again, and in 2012, when he saddled Poseidon's Warrior to win the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt.
“It's been a good business to me,” said Reid. “I was able to raise my family and to put my daughter through med school, and she's now a doctor.”
After 10 years together, a good portion of his horses are for Zacney and partners, but Reid maintains a stable of no more than 25 horses at a time at Parx.
“I've done the split stable thing in the past, and it's always come back to bite me,” said Reid. “I appreciate the opportunities (Zacney) gives us, and I just prefer to see the horses every day and have a more personal touch.”
The strategy seems to be working.
In 2018 Reid sent out Cash is King (Zacney et. al.) and LC Racing's Maximus Mischief to win the G2 Remsen Stakes. It was Reid's first horse on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, and things were looking promising early in 2019 when the colt ran third in the G2 Holy Bull.
Unfortunately, a soft-tissue injury derailed any dreams of roses and Maximus Mischief was retired to stud shortly thereafter.
“That was a tough blow, but you have to take this business as it comes and keep an even keel,” said Reid. “It's rewarding to come back almost a year later with a talented horse and be looking forward to those races once again.”
While Monday Morning QB is not quite as large a horse as his former stablemate, Reid will be just as judicious in deciding on his next start. For example, the colt won the Heft while still on his left lead; getting him to switch leads in the stretch should help him continue to step forward.
“As he matures, he'll get better and more professional and that's what we've been focusing on in the mornings with him,” Reid said. “I tend to develop them a little later, but I've had some really nice ones the past few years. I like to take each horse as they come along and go from there.”
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report.