Eoin Harty is confident that Mr. Hot Stuff, his first horse as a head trainer in the Belmont Stakes, will put on a good show in the big race Saturday.
Sired by Tinzow, a double winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Mr. Hot Stuff is a full brother of the Harty-trained Colonel John, who won the 2008 Santa Anita Derby .
When interviewed by IrishCentral for the Kentucky Derby a few weeks back, Harty compared the temperament of the two horses.
“They are just like humans, they are like two brothers with totally different personalities. They look similar but their approach to everything is very different.
"Colonel John, if he were a human being, he would be very conservative and very intellectual, where this guy (Mr. Hot Stuff) would be very outgoing and pretty reckless.”
Despite the wet weather in the New York area this week and Mr. Hot Stuff's independent streak, Harty is happy with how preparations have gone for his horse.
"Well they say it is going to be good tomorrow and it is meant to stop raining and the track is meant to dry off, but that remains to be seen," Hatty told IrishCentral Friday. "The horse has trained well coming up to the race and he is healthy and happy. He is fit, so the rest of it is in the hands of the Almighty."
Racing is in the blood for Kildare native Harty, who has a horse-training lineage that can be traced back to his great-great grandfather, Michael J. "Boss" Harty, who started training horses in 1880.
Harty's grandfather rode and trained Knight's Crest to win the 1944 Irish Grand National, and his father Eddie won the Grand National and competed at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
Harty left Ireland in the 80's and spent 14 years as assistant to John Russell and Bob Baffert, helping the latter lead Silver Charm to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes double in 1997 and repeat the same feat in 1998 with Real Quiet. He decided to go out his own in 2000.
The California-based trainer is not in the least concerned over the mile-and-a-half race length for the Winstar Farm-owned colt. "I think he will be able to handle it. I think he is fit enough to handle it and I think he has got the pedigree to handle it, so I don’t have any reservations about the distance."
Mr Hot Stuff has only past the post first once in his eight outings (the Maiden Special Weight at Santa Anita on February 1) but came third in the (G1) Santa Anita Derby Stakes and the Sham Stakes.
Harty was not too impressed with his horse's showing in the Kentucky Derby, where he trailed at the back and came in 15th, but reckons tomorrow's race might present an opportunity for an improved showing.
"I think Charitable Man will be in the lead or close to it and I don’t thing they will go particularly fast early on. I don’t think I will be too far out of it and hopefully I’ll be running at the end of the race and picking up a big piece of the pie," said Harty of his horse's chances tomorrow.
For those who fancy a flutter, Mr. Hot Stuff goes to post with 22/1 odds.