Sunday, March 21, 2010
Statement from Ken Dunn on Florida Derby
Ken Dunn (President and General Manager of Gulfstream Park) – “I was more than satisfied. We had an absolutely fantastic racing card, with one of the largest crowds here in years. The final numbers certainly support the decision to move the race back one week, and given the results we’re optimistic that by Kentucky Derby time, the racing will support the decision as well.”
Total Handle: $ 21,061,688 (+14%)
On-Track: $2,453.489 (+24.28%)
ITW: $1,181,073 (+5.85%)
ISW: $17,427,126 (+13.31%)
Attendance: 14,414 (+42%)
FLORIDA DERBY Stakes Quotes
Nick Zito (trainer, Ice Box, 1st) – “I have to take it one step at a time with this horse and be thankful that he won this race. That’s the way we’re gonna approach it. You can think about running him back in three weeks and then another three weeks (Derby), but we’ll just have to figure that out. There is a possibility that we run a race before (Derby), but this race obviously was a tough race. He’s had three tough races in a row, so I’ve got to see what I’m going to do with him.
“We expected him to be well off the pace early in the race and then make his run. The post for him doesn’t really matter that much because he’s just going to drop back and get over to the fence. I can’t say enough about this rider (Joes Lezcano). He reminds me of Braulio Baeza. Our box is right on the finish line and I was pretty sure he dropped his head on the wire and won it. We’ll take him to Churchill, sometime after April 1 depending on how he is doing.”
Jose Lezcano (jockey, Ice Box, 1st) – “I just let him go at his own pace through the first part of the race and didn’t want to rush him. At the five-eighths, I started to ask him a little bit and he got to running along. Then I got into him a little more at the three-eighths, and that’s when he took off and started flying. I was a little worried that I would have to go too wide on the turn and use him too much then, but I knew I needed to get him in the clear so he could keep up his run. I didn’t think the other horse (Pleasant Prince) would stay there like he did, but I knew in the last jump that my horse got there and stayed there.”
Wesley Ward (Pleasant Prince, 2nd) – “I’ve always thought a lot of this horse. With a little more luck and a different trip last time (4th, Fountain of Youth) he might have been second. He’s trained brilliantly since then and had a sensational work. Horses at this time of year (3-year-olds) can take such leaps, improve day-to-day, and I think this horse is has been doing that. We just have to hope he keeps moving in that direction. We’ll take him to Keeneland (to prepare for the Kentucky Derby).”
Julien Leparoux (jockey, Pleasant Prince, 2nd) – "We had a good trip and he fought really hard down to the wire. He ran well last time too (fourth in the Fountain of Youth) and he’s getting better."
Todd Pletcher (trainer, Rule, 3rd) – “Johnny just said that he ended up going quicker into the first turn than he really wanted to, that if he could do it over again, he would have gotten him to settle a little more and sooner. But he ran well. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t rate; he just didn’t make the decision to settle and if he could do it over, he would have ridden it a little differently. This doesn’t really change anything (in terms of training toward the Kentucky Derby). We’ll work him a few more times here and head to Kentucky.”
John Velazquez (jockey, Rule, 3rd) – “He was going along pretty good and he was settled, but I probably should have eased him back a little. I had him in the perfect position going through the first turn and I was able to keep some of the other horses out, but once the other horse (Pulsion) got in there I went to grab him, and he sort of forced my hand a little because by then my horse wanted to go. I probably should have taken my horse out of there from the beginning.
“He (Rule) is such a fighter. It was hard with all those sprinters in there, I knew we were going too fast but it was hard settling down with all of them. But he’s a top quality horse and he will have no problems moving forward. He’s a real fighter.”
Alan Garcia (jockey, Lentenor, 4th) – "He ran a good race. I'm satisfied with his effort. He was moving well and I tried to follow the four-horse (Pleasant Prince), but my horse ducked and lugged in, and we lost some momentum."
Edgar Prado (jockey, Radiohead, 9th ) – “Unfortunately he drew outside and he was pretty wide through the turn. I thought he was in a good spot down the backside, and I thought I would have a little something left for the end, but he just got a little tired.”
Corey Nakatani (jockey, Pulsion, 6th) – “We were trying something different going to the front. I thought he was going along really well until about the five-sixteenths when I think he may have clipped heels.”
Read more articles in the Gulfstream category.