‘A Little King’: Quip Coming Into The Preakness Showing ‘Good Signs’

by | 05.13.2018 | 2:06pm
Brisset exercising Quip at Keeneland

WinStar, China Horse Club and SF Racing's Quip had his final major exercise prior to the Preakness Stakes on Sunday, breezing a half-mile in :48.20 at Keeneland. It was the ninth-fastest of 39 moves at the same distance, but trainer Rodolphe Brisset called it just a “maintenance” work for his stable star.

“He did exactly what we wanted and exactly his usual half-mile, out five-eighths,” Brisset said. “There was nothing fancy. We don't need anything fancy anyway. We're ready. He's fit. We let him go off a little faster than 25 and came home in 23, and he galloped out (six furlongs) in 1:12 2/5. That's his usual. He was by himself. We didn't want to do more than this.”

Winner of the Tampa Bay Derby, which gave Brisset the first stakes win of his young career, Quip continued down the Triple Crown trail to finish second in the Arkansas Derby. Unfortunately, the 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor did not bounce out of that race as quickly as he had the Tampa Bay, and with just three weeks to the Kentucky Derby, Brisset and WinStar CEO Elliott Walden made the decision to keep Quip out of the Run for the Roses.

With an extra two weeks under his belt, Quip is ready to bring his best effort to Baltimore for the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Brisset has been pleased with the way that the colt has re-gained his energy in his morning training sessions, he told bloodhorse.com.

“We just monitored him week by week,” said the trainer. “We meant to bypass the Kentucky Derby, because he didn't want to run at three weeks and now he's showing us some good signs. Everything is good and we are happy to go. It's exciting for sure, but we don't have time to think about nerves.

“He's shown all the signs that he is back to his own self. The race in Arkansas and the trip was pretty hard on him. We gave him an easy week and a half after the Arkansas Derby. We didn't lose anything because he has been galloping on a daily basis. Then we decided to pick the weather last week – breezing on Thursday (May 3) before the Kentucky Derby to beat the rain. That gives us a good 10 days between his last breeze and this one today. It's good timing. Now we don't have to do anything much, just keep him on his basic, regular galloping.”

A former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Brisset struck a deal with Walden to take some of the farm's 2-year-olds into his barn at Keeneland, giving them an early education. Among those juveniles last fall were both Quip and the future Kentucky Derby winner, Justify. The agreement with WinStar specified that most of those 2-year-olds would go on to other trainers when them time was right, according to the New York Times.

The “quirky” Quip, however, needed more time to understand the training program and learn to respect his rider. Brisset was riding the colt himself, and Walden recognized the young horseman's talent in the saddle and decided to leave Quip in his care.

“He was a horse who wants to be a little king,” Brisset said. “He wanted to do a little too much. He thought, O.K., they want me to go, I'm going. We want you to go, but we want you to go smarter.”

These days, Quip has settled down and learned to relax a bit more, but Brisset has also “adapted” the training program to suit the horse.

As for the Preakness?

“My job is to get the horse to the race sound, fit, relaxed and ready to run,” said Brisset. “After that, it's up to the horse and the jockey.”

Quip will be flown to Baltimore on Wednesday, and partnered by Florent Geroux in the Preakness.

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