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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1) Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Cross Traffic (No. 4): "The plan was to let him run to the first turn. Being outside of Mucho Macho Man and Fort Larned - the other two speeds - we felt like we were in a good position. It worked out really well. We got a great run into the first turn. The first quarter was key - Johnny was able to get to the position he wanted without overdoing it, and kind of picked it up from there. It was a strongly run race throughout, and we were just hoping he could hold on the last part after the two losses we had at Belmont. Those were heart-breaking losses, to run as well as he did in those two races and miss by a whisker. Turning for home, I thought we had a big shot, but I was still wanting to get there."

"This was a real quality-filled race. To beat the Breeders' Cup winner and runner-up from last year and some really good horses speaks volumes about his quality. It was great to see him [win]. He certainly deserved a Grade 1 after the Met Mile. I know we've had a couple of tough beats over the years but that one kind of stands out as one of the toughest."

John Velazquez, winning jockey aboard Cross Traffic (No. 4): "It worked out perfect, the way we wanted. He broke well from the gate, and that was our plan: break well, get a nice run into the first turn and see where we land. We landed on the lead in a nice pace, so it was perfect."

"The first quarter was the most important one; we didn't have to chase him to be there. After that, we started picking it up every eighth of a mile, but it was a comfortable pace. It wasn't a very fast pace, so he was doing it easy and comfortable. I felt comfortable the way he was going."

"Believe me, I thought I had horse because he opened up another length and he started waiting again. I moved outside again and when he's all by himself he waits, so I had to move to the middle of the track a little bit and come back to the inside. The last 20 yards I saw the other horse in the middle of the track. I don't think my horse saw him. It was a great effort for him."

Charles LoPresti, trainer of runner-up Successful Dan (No. 1):
"I'm happy. He ran his race the way I thought he'd run. It's unfortunate that happened [the fall before the race], but I don't think that took anything away from him. He was really running at the end. I told my nephew around the three-eighths pole he was picking up horses left and right. I knew he was going to run his race, and he did."
On Successful Dan falling down in the paddock: "When he took the halter off he sucked back, and he crossed his back legs and fell over sideways. He didn't flip over. He crossed his footing and fell sideways. I did not see it."

On possibly running Successful Dan back in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward Stakes on August 31: "Once I get back to the barn and check him out and if he's OK, it's definitely a possibility."

Julien Leparoux, rider aboard runner-up Successful Dan (No. 1): "I was trying to relax and finish. He ran great, a big race."

On having a vet examine Successful Dan after he fell in the paddock before the race: "Not at any point did I want to scratch him. I just wanted a second opinion to say he's OK. Rather be safe than sorry."

Kathy Ritvo, trainer of third-place finisher Mucho Macho Man (No. 2): "He ran a good race. He had trained really well here and he improved off his last start."

Edgar Prado, jockey aboard third-place finisher Mucho Macho Man (No. 2): "I had a beautiful trip. He broke good and he ran behind the speed. I think I was in a great spot the whole way around. When I called on my horse, he responded well, and he was gaining ground, but unfortunately the horse in front didn't stop quick enough."

Ian Wilkes, trainer of beaten favorite and fifth-place finisher Fort Larned (No. 3): "He just walked out of the gates. It wasn't the start we were looking for. He got away bad. He got a good trip on the outside. All hats off to the winner. He's run over this track before; there's no excuse there. It was one of those days. We'll fight another day."

Brian Hernandez, jockey aboard beaten favorite and fifth-place finisher Fort Larned (No. 3): "We had a clean trip on the outside. We followed the winner the whole way. We really had no excuse from the eighth pole home. I kind of engaged him early to push the horse on the lead on because he was going a little slow, and then he just outkicked us turning for home."

"He seemed to handle the track pretty good. It was a little deeper today than what he was used to, but this is always a tough place to come into. The racetrack may have had a little something to do with it. Ian will get him back to the barn and see where to go from there."

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