Sunday, September 27 2015


DRAYDEN VAN DYKE, PHOTO CALL, WINNER: “I picked up the mount from Graham (Motion, trainer.) He’s been very nice to me and given me some nice horses, given me a lot of opportunities. Graham told me to place her behind the lead horses and just try to get her to shut off as much as possible. In her last race she was pretty sharp the whole way. She was tugging on me a little but we got into a nice, happy rhythm.

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MIKE SMITH, SONGBIRD, WINNER: “It lived up to the expectations. She opens that stride up and she has such a high cruising speed.

“Not only does she have the ability but she has the mind to go with it. There are so many horses with that kind of ability but a lot can get to them. She’s so intelligent, she’s so smart and listens to everything I tell her. I got her to fall asleep there on the lead but she fell asleep too much! I had to wake her up a little bit at the eighth pole but after that she jumped back into the bridle and it was over.

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GARY STEVENS, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “Richard has a big smile on his face. He told me yesterday, ‘I want to win but by no means do I want to knock her out.’ We couldn’t have scripted it any better. I told him that he might have to tack-walk her in the morning because she pulled up full of it.”

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MARIO GUTIERREZ, NYQUIST, WINNER: “He’s been on the lead in the past but he was tougher than I expected today. I was expecting him to be easier but he was tough, he was in the bridle. I adjusted though and it worked out in the end.

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Valid Scores Game Victory in Groomstick Stakes

Breeders' Cup Could be Next

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Crossed Sabres Farm’s Valid gamely put away an onslaught of closers to win the $75,000 Groomstick Stakes Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park.

“He’s a warrior,” winning trainer Marcus Vitali said. “He’s been really good for me and Crossed Sabres, and I’m grateful to Crossed Sabres to be able to train these kind of horses.”

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Churchill Downs Stakes Recap: $175,000 Lukas Classic


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015) - A.L. Luedtke's homebred Geothermal ran down favorite and five-time stakes winner Departing in a long stretch drive to win Saturday's $175,000 Lukas Classic (Listed) for older horses at Churchill Downs by 1 ½ lengths.

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Saturday, September 26 2015

Joe HirschTurf Classic (G1) Quotes

Chad Brown, winning trainer of Big Blue Kitten (No. 3), runner-up Slumber (No. 5) and fifth-place finisher Shining Copper (No. 7): "I thought they both [Big Blue Kitten and Slumber] ran terrific. Today, Big Blue Kitten got the better of Slumber at a mile and a half. I'm proud of both horses. The race pretty much went the way I expected. Shining Copper has run admirably all summer as the pacemaker for us; nearly won a couple of Grade 1s. I didn't want to deter from our plan of him being the pacemaker, and we stuck with that plan. He did his job and set up the race for Big Blue Kitten and his stablemate. Maybe with 70 yards to go, I was a little concerned, but he had enough. Very impressive effort today."

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Vosburgh (G1) Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Rock Fall (No. 7): "He's blessed with a lot of natural talent but to go along with that he's got a lot of fight, which is great. There are a lot of similarities between him and his sire [Speightstown] and the way they train. You wouldn't necessarily know they're as good as they are. Watching in the mornings, he can be a little idle, but you just have confidence that come game time he'll show up. He takes care of himself well. I was a little worried, I didn't quite overdo it with training coming into this race. I wanted to get this one and still have something for the Breeders' Cup, so I was hoping I didn't cut it too close and he pulled it out. It's a fine line between running well in the prep and hoping you have something left for the Breeders' Cup. He's been winning races since March and seven in row so we just want to continue ticking over."

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‘Surprises’ abound in talented Bongard, Gimma fields

ELMONT, N.Y. - New York-bred 2-year-olds will take the stage at Belmont Park in a pair of stakes races on Sunday, the $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard and $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma for fillies, supporting the day's feature race, the Grade 3, $200,000 Miss Grillo, and demonstrating that there is no shortage of homegrown talent in this year's crop of juveniles from the Empire State.

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Pilgrim (G3) Quotes

Matthew Schera, winning owner of Isotherm (No. 5): "We bought him in the Keeneland September sale last year. We all loved him. Everyone can see he's one of the prettier horses around. I kept telling everyone that he trains better than he ran last time, but he still won so we kind of expected something more today and it looks like he came out and he did it. We even think he likes the dirt too, so we'll see down the road for that. As long as he comes out good and he's healthy, we'll go to Keeneland for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf."

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Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) Quotes

Linda Rice, winning trainer of La Verdad (No. 2): "I think she needed the race. She's been carrying a little extra weight with having had that issue at Saratoga. We missed a little training. I thought she broke just a tip flat-footed today. She's usually much quicker away from there, but she hadn't run in a while. I've had to work hard to get her here and we lost some time, but I think this race will do her a lot of good. She'll move forward and will be harder to beat next time."

Jose Ortiz, winning jockey aboard La Verdad (No. 2): "She broke well. She took the lead easy. I had a little pressure from the outside, but after that she settled down and she was fine."

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Beldame (G1) Quotes

Kiaran McLaughlin, winning trainer of Wedding Toast (No. 2): "[The layoff was] not much of a concern if you saw her worktab. Last week, she worked three-quarters [of a mile] in 12, so she's been fit. She just had a little foot issue and we had to skip the [Grade 1] Personal Ensign [at Saratoga] and then, thinking about it, we thought this was a better spot anyway because she loves the one turn. As good form as she's in, she'll be able to handle two turns [in the Breeders' Cup Distaff]. She's won at two turns. But this race was here and it's a Grade 1, so it worked out well. I don't say it very often, but I asked him [Jose Lezcano] not to give her a hard race if he didn't have to because she looked that good on paper. We have a big race in five weeks. Couldn't have asked for better, it really went perfect."

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