With jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan aboard, Ikigai stalked from second down the backstretch, took command on the far turn, and drew clear to score by 2¼ lengths over Lael Stable’s Rollers with Wind River Stable’s California invader Black Seventeen another 3¼ lengths back in third as the winner was timed in 1:09:37 over the ‘fast’ track.
“He’s just gotten better and better. He’s just naturally fast and did what he does. Mr. (Marty) Wolfson told me not to take anything away from him. Let him go. He responded the whole way – I had a beautiful ride. I never felt in danger of falling out (of contention). I knew we had a pretty good shot at going the whole way. I was kind of concerned we were too strong out there, but I have to give Mr. Wolfson all the credit in the world. He did a great job of getting us prepared for today.”
Winning Trainer Quote
“I really loved him today. I looked at the race and didn’t see that much speed. He’s a very fast horse. He’s come a long way. I ran him for $32,000 (claiming) the first time I ran him after he was sent to me (last summer). Thank goodness nobody took him. The only time he got beat since I’ve had was when he was eliminated at the gate (stumbled). I would think he’ll go seven-eighths. I don’t know what’s next, but we’ll definitely look ahead to the Smile Sprint (Calder) this summer.”
22:63, 45:46 & 1:09:37