07/24/2005 11:00PM

Mott capable of building upon success at Belmont


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott isn't one to make a big deal over his accomplishments, but he did allow for a small smile when commenting on the training title he just won at the Belmont Park spring-summer meet.

It was the sixth Belmont spring-summer training title won by Mott, and his first since 2000. It was also his first championship at any New York meet since Saratoga in 2001. Mott, who will turn 52 on Friday, has won or tied for eight training titles at Saratoga since 1992.

In a battle that came down to the wire, Mott won 22 races at Belmont, one more than Juan Rodriguez, who is subbing for suspended trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. Christophe Clement finished third with 20 winners.

Monday at Saratoga, Mott, said he doesn't place as much emphasis on capturing training titles as he once did.

"It was nice to win, but I've already been through days of worrying too much about things like that," Mott said.

While winning meet titles isn't new to Mott, this year at Saratoga there is something different about the Mott operation. The trainer is now stabled on the Oklahoma training track in Barn 80, which for decades stabled the horses of Hall of Fame trainer Phil Johnson until his death on Aug. 6, 2004. Mott previously had a secluded barn behind the main track located on what was once the Greentree property, which is now owned by Stonerside, one of Mott's owners. This year, Godolphin is leasing the barn from Stonerside.

Mott, who was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1998, has the opportunity to start the meet off on a good note. Wednesday, he has three horses entered on the opening-day card. In the fifth, Mott sends out a first-time starter by Carson City named Manuscript.

"He's been okay in his works," said Mott, who trains Manuscript for Bert and Diana Firestone.

In the sixth, Mott will run Charlevoix, who makes his first start since October in a first-level allowance race on the turf.

Mott's most interesting runner is the undefeated Shakespeare, who returns to the races after a 16-month layoff. A 4-year-old son of Theatrical, a champion turf horse trained by Mott in the 1980's, Shakespeare runs in the seventh, an allowance turf race.

Shakespeare hasn't run since March 2004 because of a knee injury. He won his first two races impressively before hitting the sidelines.

"You never know until they come back, but he has been moving well and training well," Mott said.

Several Mott runners will be live in stakes during opening week at Saratoga.

Mott will saddle Silver Tree, who will be among the favorites in Monday's $150,000 Bernard Baruch, a race won by Silver Tree last year. Saturday, Mott will run a strong uncoupled entry of Delta Princess and Sand Springs in the Grade 1 Diana, and on Friday, he will send out Connie Belle in the Grade 3 Lake George.

Mott said it can be difficult to keep the ball rolling at back-to-back meets. But it's not impossible, as he has demonstrated in the past.

"A few times I continued on here after good meets down there," said Mott, who won back-to-back training titles at Belmont's spring-summer stand and Saratoga in 2000, 1997, 1996, and 1995.