Ask The Experts #28

John Shirreffs working with Cozmic One, May 2015. Photo by Kyle Acebo.

John Shirreffs, left, works with Cozmic One at Belmont Park, May 2015. Photo by Kyle Acebo.


For John Shirreffs: Other than Zenyatta, which horse have you enjoyed training the most, and why?

Patty Smith

Culver City, CA

A:John: I have trained so many wonderful horses during my career, so it would be very hard to name just one. I really enjoy training the horses who are out of the mares I have trained or who are from the same family. I love seeing how family traits are passed on to the foals and getting to know the individual qualities each one possesses.

I have trained so many horses out of the broodmare Set Them Free. Each one exhibited that “something extra”… personality, performance levels, and desire to do it!

A few of her foals:
• Giacomo gave us all the thrill of a lifetime. He won the Kentucky Derby.
• Styler, his half sister, is still special to me. She had so much TRY to her.
• Tiago always gave 110% every single day. I really enjoyed working with him.
• Stanwyck also TRIED, TRIED, TRIED and never gave up.
• Rutile won her maiden race so impressively. It was one of the most impressive maiden victories I have seen.

Dottie: One of my favorite Styler moments was when she was making her first start at Santa Anita. She was a filly who needed to go a distance of ground and she had a big, beautiful stride. That day, she was in Post #1 and when she went into the starting gate, she was quite intrigued by looking at the big matrix board to her left and seeing ‘herself’ on it. In the mornings it is not in use, so she had never seen it like this before. When the gates opened, she was still looking at the big board and the movement on it. After the field was well on its way, she finally broke from the gate. Going into the clubhouse turn, Styler was well behind the field. Suddenly, she began to close and get closer to the other horses. She continued to pick it up and finished a wonderful 3rd closing beautifully. I can still visualize this race and Styler looking at the matrix board when the gates opened. What can one say! She’s an adorable, inquisitive and lovely horse for sure! She saw something happening she’d never seen before and wanted to check it out. TOO CUTE!

John and Dottie: What a BROODMARE! In our mind, SET THEM FREE is truly a BLUE HEN!

Experts: John Shirreffs and Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs


For Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs: As the racing manager, what does your job entail beyond purchasing race horses for the owners? Do you make breeding suggestions to the Mosses for Zenyatta or stakes race suggestions to John about horses he is training?

Patty Smith

Culver City, CA

A: My position encompasses all of the areas you mentioned. Basically, all things involving all Moss horses fit into my job description.

Purchases at the sales, pedigree research, breeding selections for the mares, monitoring the horses at the farms, training centers, and race tracks are several of my responsibilities. Additionally, working with the Moss’s office staff, accountants, and attorneys on all horse matters is another extremely important aspect of this position. To assist with this, I review, approve, and code all horse invoices for their staff, review all accounting reports, and attend all necessary business meetings. The goal is to have everything flow smoothly for The Mosses and all of their horses!

I also work with the trainers on the condition book, selecting races and stakes opportunities for the horses. Thus, being a good handicapper and being aware of the ‘competition around the country’ is essential. Additionally, being in communication with the trainer on the strengths and status of each horse both physically and mentally is so important. You want a horse to run when he or she is PEAKING!

Thoroughbreds are amazing! I feel incredibly blessed that I have been able to work with so many talented and accomplished athletes and hope in some way I have left a ‘mark’ on their lives and careers!

Expert: Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs

Our Experts


John Shirreffs


John Shirreffs has been around horses all of his life and has always felt it was important to help a horse become significant, to make history. Zenyatta’s Breeders Cup wins helped his dreams come true. Read John’s complete bio.


Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs

Racing Manager

As the Moss’ Racing Manager for the last 29 years, Dottie has actively been a part of each Moss horse’s life. It’s a family affair, as her husband John trains many of the horses that she manages. Read Dottie’s complete bio.


  1. July 4 Cherokee Devotional

    Our privilege has been to celebrate freedom for a very long time. But many see it only as a holiday-a time to stock up on drinks and food and a chance to be wild. Does anyone remember what happened and who gave life for this celebration?
    We have a right to celebrate-but not without knowing why, not without recognizing what the original Americans gave up, what mothers and fathers and service people sacrificed. Every kind of sorrow paved the way for this day. Remember it and teach it and hold it forever before the world. We did not come to such wonderful freedom because we are so deserving. We celebrate because someone made it possible-and we should bless them.

    I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to live on yours.
    Chief Joseph
    Nez Perce

    1. So very true Kathy,
      All of humanity is related and we are learning how closely day by day. We should all pay close attention. We here in the United States of America should always keep in mind that all in the Western Hemisphere are Americans as noted in the names assigned to the land masses. Today, we in the U.S.A. are celebrating our birthday and we should feel very blessed that we were fortunate to have extremely wise Forefathers who discussed the formation and had the document written. Due to their foresight, we still have a living formula for governing that accommodates to today’s language IF everyone remembers that the third person singular pronoun is inclusive of ALL as is true of all plural pronouns.

  2. Dear Max.Hot day at Sandown.GG really tested Golden Horn who had to make all the running but GH was a worthy winner.He really is a top 3yr old and will give the mighty Treve a run for her money in October!A flying dismount.Alastair Down was talking about Kauto and said so many are still wondering what happened in the paddock and those 5 days!He was the people’s horse.Hugs Sheena.You having a cake today??

    1. Thanks for this news. Golden Horn is really a good horse. Hoping that Gosden can keep him in top form until the fall and the Arc. How does he like heavy going Arc turf?
      I understand how much that you must miss Kauto. I miss him too. It all seems extremely unfair. I looked at his Twitter today. So empty without him. Unfortunately, thinking about what happened to Kauto in his paddock will only make you feel more and more upset. They appear to have gone down a hazard laden path in supplying so many details of his final days. However, as Kauto was very well known, it might not have been possible to do otherwise. For your own peace of mind, try to think only of him as he was. Neigh!
      We are having something called Boston cream pie, but it is not like the usual pie of that name. It’s red, white and blue. We’re also having a tea tossing contest in honor of the holiday. There is a tent in the backyard. Barbecue and fireworks later. I’ll be paying for this until next year.

  3. Dear Sheena,

    Good news! Little Zoe’s tail wagged again this morning. Always a good sign. My dogs were all terrified last night with firecrackers going off. We slept late this morning because all three were exhausted, Steve and me too! Lots of cute pics on Marty’s page, the ratties are really celebrating. Happy Saturday to you. Love and hugs from me, kisses from Holly, Nikko and Sugar. Kathy XOXO

  4. Dear Kathy.Someone had a sleep-in!!!Happy 4th of July to you.A very hot day at Sandown.Great run by GH.He is not actually entered in the Arc will have to be supplemented.There was a severe thunderstorm at the Dyfi last night the LS is back but no sound.All is well with the birds but no video of the ringing.There is a video about pronouncing the names with Alwyn and ‘posh Pete’!We pronounce our C’s like a K not an S as someone thought.Zoe is a little better she’s wagging her tail!Mango has got a pretty swimsuit.Should be photos later.Mr Fibbs is getting ready to celebrate with cake.Hope the weather stays warm for the christening tomorrow.Wonderful tennis last night our Heather Watson nearly beat Serena!Roger’s having a tough time against a big Aussie server at the moment.Dolly looked cute in her pretty dresses plus Max and Mia too.Have a fantastic day.Enjoy your fireworks and celebrations.Love and hugs to you,Kisses for Holly Nikko and Sugar.SheenaXOXO.

    1. Dear Sheena,

      Hi! Enjoy all your sports today. I wish all the ospreys a wonderful day, too. I’m so glad Zoe is better…yesterday was very stressful with her feel so poorly. Hope Fibbs enjoys his cake. Really looking forward to seeing pics of the christening! Wow…Heather must be a fabulous athlete to almost beat Serena. Poor Roger. I know all the athletes are just exhausted at the end of the match. Dolly has some gorgeous little dresses. Love seeing her wardrobe! Max and Mia always look adorable. Again, have a great day. Love and hugs and kisses from the pups! Kathy XOXO

  5. Dear Kathy.Oh,the poor pups!!Bless them.My Katie never got bothered by fireworks.Love and hugs SheenaXOXO

    1. Dear Sheena,

      They’re resting right now. Dreading tonight! Love and hugs, Kathy XOXO

  6. Dear Z Fans:

    Happy 4th of July. Love all of you. Love and Hugs, JB and LM

  7. Dear Sheena:

    Thinking of you. As Max said, so unfair. Try to remember Kauto in all his beautiful glory.

    Got to visit with Hudson again yesterday and later in the day, finally got to see my Charlie. He had his hooves shaped by the farrier in the AM and he is looking great. He enjoyed his treats and hugs and kisses. Have to treasure every privileged moment we have them. Love and Hugs, JB, LM, PC, HT, Cap, Herc, Frank and all the Sweeties

    1. JudyB. How are you doing in your recovery?

  8. Dear Z, COZ, ZI and Montey:

    Hope the fireworks noise doesn’t frighten you. Stay comfy and cozy. Love You. Hugs, JB

    Z Princess, Dubai, will always love you.

  9. Bad news for Beast fans. The Beast has been scratched from the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes. Reports says that he has some issues with his left front hoof. Don’t like the sounds of this. Beast, get well.

  10. Dear Max.There will be so many questions about Kauto’s accident and why he wasn’t taken to hospital right away.Someone even suggested he might have been attacked in his field!!!I try to remember his glory days but the manner of his passing will always trouble me I guess and the bitterness between Paul and Clive.I haven’t heard anything about cremation or burial yet.
    I’m not sure how GH would handle soft ground and he had quite a hard race today.I know you don’t care for pacemakers but they do help in a race like todays.Enjoy your celebrations and your tea tossing contest.Better still think how’ll you’ll have to work hard to pay for everything!!!Hugs Sheena.

    1. Wow. The stories about Kauto are getting wilder. Don’t know what to say about an attack on him except that I hope that it is not true. Reminds me of Storm Bird and Shergar. Bad.
      Just heard that a horse is coming to dinner. One of our friends won’t leave his horse alone, so he’s coming with the horse. That means no fireworks. It’s moving to another location. I’m happy about this because I’m no fan of watching my cash go up in smoke.

  11. Dear Max.Hope the horse enjoys all the celebrations!A great party guest.I didn’t know Clive Smith was away at the time of the incident and got to see Kauto on the Friday then returned to Scotland.How on earth could he leave him??He came back on the Monday when he was PTS.I would never have left his side!A horse in Cumbria was attacked the other day while grazing.I don’t want to go into details about the injuries but suffice to say there were internal and severe.Thank God she did survive.I doubt we will ever know for sure what happened that day to Kauto but he will forever remembered by jumps fans everywhere.Have a great time!Sheena.

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