BRONX, N.Y. -- This week, between conditioning thoroughbreds like Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer and saddling those runners in pursuit of victory, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott found time to play catch with his son. But this was no male bonding exercise, no fun-in-the-sun entertainment. This was serious business.
Horse racing was represented during a Major League Baseball broadcast on Wednesday, as Mott threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the New York Yankees/Philadelphia Phillies game at Yankee Stadium. For the man who frequently sports a Yankees cap around his barns at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, "it's about as exciting as anything you could ever do."
That's what Mott, 57, told members of the New York Racing Association's communication department less than two weeks after sending Drosselmeyer to a 13-1 upset in the $1 million Belmont -- obviously another extremely exciting accomplishment. The youngest trainer to be inducted into Horse Racing's Hall of Fame (in 1998 at the age of 45), he also trains horses for Kinsman Farm, the racing and breeding operation belonging to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
In regards to Wednesday evening's activities, Mott's son Riley, 19, has taken on responsibility for the trainer's ... well, training.
"He played a little bit as a kid; we've been throwing the ball in the yard every day ... I guess we'll see if it's paid off," Riley texted on the drive down to the city from the family's home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Several notable horse racing personalities have intermingled with the baseball set in recent years. Jockeys Jorge Chavez, Jose Santos, Kent Desormeaux, and Calvin Borel have all thrown out ceremonial first pitches at various locations, with Desormeaux pitching for the Mets at Shea Stadium and Borel pitching for the Louisville Bats at Louisville Slugger Field. Trainers Bob Baffert and John Servis are among those who have represented horse trainers.
"It's pretty wild, standing out on that field," said veteran writer Steve Haskin, who was on hand when Servis threw a perfect strike at a Phillies game following Smarty Jones' victory in the 2004 Preakness. "When you think back, horse racing, baseball, and boxing were the three biggest sports in the country by far."
For more comprehensive information on horse racing, visit Helloracefans.com and Horseracingnation.com. You can follow Claire Novak on Facebook and Twitter at @ClaireNovak.