A certain type of fever has been well documented over the years when it comes to the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Kentucky Derby fever has gripped many over the past 145 or so years. Back in 1984 however, another sickness surfaced and yes it too causes the mercury to rise. So what’s the prescription for this Breeders’ Cup fever that came about some 37 years ago? For some it’s simple…call a doctor.
Dr. Schivel comes into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as a horse that’s been diagnosed as a major contender. Running out of the Mark Glatt barn, this three-year old son of Violence has strung together five consecutive wins with the last two being against older horses in Stakes action. As a veteran of the game, the California based conditioner has a clear understanding of who this horse really is.
“Dr. Schivel is a horse with a big heart and lots of desire to win”, says Glatt. “When you combine that with some great athletic talent it gives you a real serious race horse.”
The last start for the Dr. gave everyone a glimpse of just how serious Schivel is. After battling from off the pace to win by a stubborn neck in the Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar on July 31, Glatt’s charge took his opponents to the woodshed in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
Breaking alertly under jockey Flavien Prat, going straight to the lead was exactly what the Dr. ordered in this one. Leading at every call, this Kentucky-bred was in complete command before winning by a geared down 3 ¼ lengths.
“He certainly put it all together at Santa Anita”, says Glatt. “It was his third start off a layoff, which can be a big one for horses, and he really turned in a wow performance. I never expected him to dominate, but he certainly did.”
As win and you’re in races for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, the Bing and the Santa Anita Sprint Championship caused more than just a little rise in the thermometer. Having sent five previous runners to the starting gates at these World Championships, Glatt understands fully what his Dr. will be up against come November 6.
“We understand he will be facing the very best in the Sprint division”, says Glatt. “These are also serious horses that don’t make excuses. It’s going to be a real challenge, but we really like our horse.”
Glatt and the ownership team of Red Baron’s Barn LLC, Rancho Temescal LLC, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing , and William A Branch have every reason to be spiking a case of Cup fever. Boasting three wins in three lifetime starts at Del Mar, sight of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, is nothing but a positive.
“Maybe it gives us a bit of an advantage with the race being at Del Mar”, says the winner of over 1,000 races at the Seaside Oval. “Not having to ship and being able to run out of your own stall is always good. We know he likes the surface here and gets over it well. It’s my job to bring him in healthy and happy and he will take care of the rest.”
Recent works have indicated Dr. Schivel is engaging in full treatment for the case of Cup fever he has created. Heavy hitters like Jackie’s Warrior and Following Sea will ship in from the East and Japanese trained Matera Sky is traveling from overseas just to name a few. Curing this case of Cup fever will be no easy task, but the Dr. is on the case.
“Our ownership group is fantastic and they are very deserving of a trip to the winner’s circle here”, says Glatt. “They have put a lot into the sport over the years. We like our rider and our versatility. If he’s good enough on Cup day we’ll win.”