As I said all week… this is a barn that came to play.
They “moved in” to Barn 3 at Churchill Downs ~ sandwiched between stalwarts Bobby Barnett and Dale Romans ~ even going so far as to bring their own lawn jockey.
They brought ten horses that all had a realistic chance in their respective spots. They were so honest that they even entered Cook Inlet in Derby Day’s fourth race for the $80k tag (no one took him).
When I walked into the barn yesterday, stable pony ~ and co-assistant trainer ~ Lava Man was getting a bath while ESPN’s Kenny Mayne came by to do an interview. Doug wasn’t around, so Jack Sisterson stepped in. When asked his title, Jack had no answer except “whatever Doug asks me to do.” Some people would have thought he was kidding, but this is a barn that works as a perfectly well oiled machine while having a great time.
Team O’Neill truly is a team. It says so on everything from the saddlecloths to the staff’s jackets to the placard on the wall. And you can’t argue with success: they believe in each other, they believe in their horses… and now they have a Kentucky Derby win to show for it!