Saturday, June 08, 2013

UPDATED: Belmont Stakes (G1) Top Four Finishers Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Palace Malice (No. 12): “It was an emotional win for me because of the Dogwood connection. They supported me from the very beginning and to win a big race for them is really gratifying. I kept saying I know there’s a big [race] there; I felt like he had a big one in him. I kept waiting for it to materialize in the afternoon. He got close a couple of times but didn’t quite get it done. It pretty much went in the early part the way we anticipated it would in terms of where we were positioned. He was able to get him in a nice comfortable rhythm and travel along pretty quickly, considering the distance, but he looked like he was in a good comfortable rhythm and that was the main focus.”

“To be honest, I need to see the replay [for the other horses]. I only got to see the race once. I got to talk briefly with [Garrett] Gomez about Midnight Taboo, and Johnny [Velazquez] briefly about Overanalyze, and I haven’t had a chance to talk to Javier [Castellano] about Revolutionary or Rosie [Napravnik] on Unlimited Budget.”

Mike Smith, winning jockey aboard Palace Malice (No. 12): “It’s just incredible. I feel like I’m floating, man. I’m just in awe right now.”

“The game plan was mapped out, and it really went to the game plan. We were laying third on the outside of Oxbow, like we wanted. At the three-eighths, Gary said, ‘Go on, little brother. You’re moving better than me.’ And we went on with it, man.”

“It was the blinkers [that made him keen in the Kentucky Derby]. [Taking them off] made all of the difference. Three jumps out of the gate, I felt really good.”

Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stable, winning owner of Palace Malice (No. 12): “It’s the mother of all great moments, I’ll tell you that. I’m proud for Dogwood and for my great partners…and I’m proud for Aiken S.C….they’ll be dancing in the streets, so proud. And I’m proud of Todd, one of the greatest trainers of all time, and Mike Smith, one of the great riders. And for the horse! The horse, the horse, I’m SO proud of him!”

“It means everything, the tradition of it. I’ve been in racing a long time and this is good stuff right here.”

“I said before, if he has an absence of bad luck, we’ll be all right. We’re not asking for any breaks, we just don’t want any breaks against us.”

“This victory is way up there, because I’m in the twilight of my career, certainly, to put it euphemistically, and it ranks way up there. It’s a heck of a thing.”

“When I saw the :46 go up there, I was kind of hoping for :48, but gosh he seemed to be going great and Mike went to school on him last time, knew what to do.”

D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of second-place finisher Oxbow (No. 7) and 10th-place finisher Will Take Charge (No. 10): “I was really happy with his performance today. Anytime you could hook into a field with that much parity and that many good horses…he performed as well as we could have expected. I was happy for Todd, as he is obviously well-connected with us, and I’m happy for Cot Campbell as well.”

On 10th-place finisher Will Take Charge: “He will get better with maturity, especially as he gets older. He’s a big, growthy [sic] horse and those horses like him struggled a bit today.”

Gary Stevens, rider aboard second-place finisher Oxbow (No. 7): “I’m so proud of this colt. I thought I was dead midway down the backside. They were suicidal fractions and he never got any break. Mike [Smith] rode a superb race. I got him settled going into the first turn for about five jumps. I believe it was Mike who put a tad of pressure on my colt to get him running. I kind of had to turn his head loose and let him go about his business. I didn’t want to fight with him. We were rocking down the backside. I looked at the two horses inside of me and they weren’t going to give it up. I just tried to make Oxbow as happy as I could. Midway around the turn, I said, ‘Well, maybe.’ But I have ridden long enough to know that he was going to walk home the last quarter of a mile. Going into the far turn, I didn’t think he would have hit the board. To finish second, I am really surprised. He galloped out after the race like you wouldn’t believe. I’m really proud of him.”

Jon Court, rider aboard 10th-place finisher Will Take Charge (No. 10): “I had a good trip around there, he just never really engaged. I think he was covered up for a while. It might have discouraged him steadily eating that dirt. In the past, when I’ve had success with him, I’ve been able to free him up from some of that. They all take some dirt. He just couldn’t make the run. He didn’t fire at the end.”

Shug McGaughey, trainer of third-place finisher Orb (No. 5): “He just ran OK. He made a good run around the turn, but we had given up so much. The speed horses held all up front and we just couldn’t catch them.”

“It’s been fun. I’ve got no problems with anything. Everything’s fine with me. I just wish we had showed a little better performances in the Preakness and the Belmont.”

“I don’t think he got tired. He put a pretty good run in to get to where he was, and those horses just weren’t coming back. If they had come back, we’d have been fine. They shook loose and we were just too far back to catch them.”

“I thought there would be some pace. I was a little concerned because we were pretty far back.”

Joel Rosario, rider aboard third-place finisher Orb (No. 5): “I thought I had a perfect trip. I saw they were going pretty quick up front, and he was handling everything fine. I moved him to the outside like he’s done before, but in the end I couldn’t even make it up to second. At a mile and a half, they are all going to get a little tired, but he was starting to get late. I felt when he was moving, I was pretty confident like in the Kentucky Derby, but maybe it was the mile and a half, or maybe he was just tired.”

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of fourth-place finisher Incognito (No. 6): “We’re very pleased to finish fourth. I thought he ran a great race and we’re very happy with him.”

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