As trainer Rodolphe Brisset was preparing Quip for his career debut in Kentucky during the early fall of 2017, the former jockey was also getting on a 2-year-old son of Scat Daddy that soon would be bound for trainer Bob Baffert's Southern California stable and unforeseen glory.
Quip, who will return from a nine-month layoff in Saturday's $100,000 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream Park, went on to capture his debut as well as the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), while the Scat Daddy colt, Justify, went on to sweep the 2018 Triple Crown.
“We had Justify before Mr. Baffert got him in November when he was 2 in 2017. We had him for three of four months,” Brisset said. “It was fun having him around us.”
Brisset trains Quip for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing, who were also the principles in the Justify ownership group.
“Now I have to find one myself. It was fun to be involved in the beginning. We have a close relationship with the ownership, WinStar, China Horse Club and SF Racing. We did what we did at the beginning. We got lucky enough to have the horse around us,” Brisset said. “It was fun to watch. We were at every race he ran. We were at the Derby; we were at the Preakness and we were at the Belmont. It was fun to be able to see.”
The 35-year-old Brisset, a former longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, had the opportunity to saddle Quip for a start in the Preakness, in which he faded badly while Justify kept his Triple Crown hopes alive with a half-length decision over Bravazo over a sloppy Pimlico track.
Brisset, who was a jockey, a jockey agent and an assistant trainer in his native France before venturing to the U.S. to become Patrick Biancone's assistant in 2007, shies away from taking any credit for undefeated Justify's success
“We had no idea what he would become. I have said again and again, you would be lying if you said we knew that he was going to do what he did. The only thing, I can say is that he was a gorgeous 2-year-old. He always trained forward and it was a pleasure to be around him,” said Brisset, who went out on his own in 2017 after nearly 10 years as Mott's assistant. “What we saw when he was 2 really translated into the same when he was 3. I think he was very classy. He was a natural.”
Quip, who finished second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) prior to his start in the Preakness, is scheduled to face eight rivals in the Hal's Hope, a one-turn mile stakes for older horses. The son of Distorted Humor, is rated second in the morning line at 4-1 behind 2-1 favorite Breaking Lucky. Jose Ortiz is named to ride Quip for the first time Saturday.
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