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Kentucky Derby-winning trainer lives, works in Martin County

Posted at 4:48 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 06:57:06-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- Longshot Country House was awarded the Kentucky Derby Saturday after the horse that crossed the finish line first was disqualified.

“I guess it feels good. It doesn’t feel quite as good had there not been a disqualification," said Country House trainer Bill Mott.

The Hall of Fame trainer winters in Palm City, and said he's most pleased for the horse, and its owners.

“He’s a big strong horse, as tough as nails, and a horse that has been a little bit of a late developer," said Mott.

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Some of that development took place at Payson Park, east of Indiantown.

“We have five of the leading trainers of the world here," said general manager Larry Kelly.

Kelly, a long time trainer, says Payson hit a trifecta of its own last Saturday.

The top three horses at Churchill Downs, including two trained by Mott, had all been at Payson over the winter.

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“It’s truly amazing. You probably have as good a chance of winning the lottery as of that happening," said Kelly.

In fact, horses that have trained at Payson Park have won all of the legs of the Triple Crown as well as other high-stakes races around the country and the world.

Kelly says they have both a dirt track and a turf track for their 500 winter residents. “There’s no doubt we’re a hidden gem.”

Kelly adds the tranquility helps create champions. Mott agrees that it’s great to have a winter training facility close to home.

“We’re very fond of it, and very fond of the people down there. Great place to train, great environment," said Mott.

As for Country House, Mott says he will not run in next week’s Preakness.

So while there will be no Triple Crown winner this year, more winners of Triple Crown races could be shaped on a Martin County track.