01/11/2010 12:00AM

Trainer profile: Ron Moquett


Those who like to play the exotics at Oaklawn might want to give special consideration this meet to horses trained by Ron Moquett. Not only is he coming off his winningest year as a trainer, but he also saddled more second- and third-place finishers than ever before in 2009 for a 40 percent in-the-money strike rate.

Moquett won 37 races last year and also had 57 seconds and 46 third-place finishes. The across-the-board consistency stems in part from the approach he has taken with the 35 horses he now has settled in at Oaklawn.

"In my opinion, I think I'm good at getting the most out of a horse," said Moquett, 38. "I'm not going to make a $20,000 claiming horse win the Oaklawn Handicap. But I can make the $20,000 horse win for $20,000, not drop him to $7,500 to win. I'm very proud of the fact that I'm willing to adjust to what the horse needs to get the absolute most out of the horse."

Moquett's stats were also driven by a key circuit move he made last year. Following the Oaklawn meet in 2009 he ventured to Delaware Park and raced there and at surrounding tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region. He said he again plans to base at Delaware following Oaklawn.

"I went to the East Coast instead of going to Kentucky, which was very hard for me because I've been in Kentucky 10 years," he said. "But I don't have Polytrack horses, and I had to ship a long way to run [on dirt] at Mountaineer, or Churchill or Ellis. The move doubled my chances to get starts."

Moquett is a native of Ft. Smith, Ark. Early in his career he worked under trainer Bernie Flint before opening his own public racing stable in 1996. Moquett reached a career pinnacle 10 years later, when he saddled Seek Gold to a 91-1 upset in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. Other stakes winners he has had through the years include Asher, who won the Grade 3 Gardenia at Ellis Park in 2001, and Go Now.

Moquett said his current stable should be up and running from the start of the meet at Oaklawn.

"I think right off the bat, if certain races go, I think we'll be live in them," he said.

"I've got a very diversified barn. I think that I'll be running in a lot of claiming races and a few allowance races. And I've got a couple of young horses that ought to be okay. At this point, they haven't been ready. A couple of them can step up."

One of those is an unraced 3-year-old son of Unbridled's Song. But he figures to be overbet in his debut, said Moquett. That's because the gray horse is named Silver Goblin, after the millionaire who ran a valiant second to Cigar in the 1995 Oaklawn Handicap.

Moquett said he saw the name had been released for reuse by the Jockey Club and put a hold on it. He then offered it to Al Horton, the owner of the original Silver Goblin.

"He said if you want to use it, go ahead," said Moquett.

Moquett said he just hopes the Silver Goblin in his barn will be half as good as his namesake. He'll know a lot more soon, as the horse, whose dam Secret Forest is a half-sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Top Secret, is set to debut within the first few weeks of the meet at Oaklawn.