William Casner, co-owner and chairman of WinStar Farm, owner of Colonel John (No. 2): “The Travers, at least in my opinion, is certainly the second most prestigious three-year-old race, next to the Kentucky Derby. It is a race for the ages. Today, the announcer talked about horses like Man o’War, Lexington those horses that have won this race. It is just incredible.
“I never doubted that this horse could run on dirt. Eoin (Harty) had the utmost confidence on him and he did a tremendous job of training this horse, making sure that he threw enough at him, but didn’t throw too much. And Garrett (Gomez) put a stellar ride on him and got it done. I always say winners find a way to win, and that’s what Garrett did today. He found a way to win when it was deep in the race.
“It is just indescribable to be able to win this race. When both of those horses hit the wire, we were just hoping to God that we were able to prevail. Sometimes, it doesn’t always work out that way. But either way, we’re extremely proud of our horse.
“My wife (Susan) deserves all the credit. She found the mare. In 2001, in the back ring at Keeneland, there was a connection there that was just unique. She’s never had it before and she’s never had it since, but that was mare that she had to have. I didn’t buy her when she was in the ring, but fortunately, she didn’t meet her reserve and I was able to buy her afterwards. But the mare has been a wonderful producer. It’s my wife’s one and only mare. Susan certainly deserves the lion’s share of the credit.”
Winning trainer Eoin Harty: “This horse, I could put another prep into him, but I think I could probably bring him to the Breeders’ Cup on works. That’s something I would have to discuss.
“We did have a less than ideal trip in the Kentucky Derby, and not to take anything away from Big Brown that day because it was a stellar performance. He was fantastic, and I’m not sure Colonel John could have beat him anyway. But I would certainly love to get Big Brown somewhere down the road, hopefully, at the Breeders’ Cup.”
(Harty will try to win another $1 million race on Sunday when he saddles Well Armed in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar):
“We’re leaving in the morning. It’s another WinStar horse, so it is kind of a group event. We’ll be traveling en masse tomorrow morning.”
(on shipping horses to Saratoga this year): “I’ve been doing it for the last four years, but I haven’t had the quality of stock that I had this year. In the past, I’ve just had two-year-olds and some of them have been good enough to compete and some of them weren’t. This I’ve been very fortunate to get these Tiznow horses from WinStar Farm. A year ago, I was sent three Tiznow’s, one was a horse coming back from a serious injury. Here it is a year later, and all three are graded stakes horses, and the chances of that happening are a billion to one.
“So, it’s been a great shot in the arm for our team.”
“I certainly never lost any confidence in him. When you’ve been around horses for a long time, the really good ones do things very differently than the usual ones. This one, from Day 1, had shown that. He never did anything ever to disappoint me. It was an unfortunate thing in Kentucky. In hindsight, the race he had in the Swaps was a very good race. He’s a beautiful horse to be around. He has a beautiful personality, and he’s never done anything to make me feel bad. I’m just fortunate.”
Winning jockey Garrett Gomez: “I knew I was going to have a tough trip. I had a great trip as far as saving ground, but I knew all the horses would be in tactical, stalking position, somewhere on my hip or right near me. So, I had my hands full trying to weave my way in and out. I was just going to have to bide my time and go through holes without using my horse. When he got left a little bit, then I thought, ` Oh, no.’ I squeezed him just a little bit to get him into the race. From then on, the race pretty much unfolded the way I wanted.
“The way he ran today was a heck of a performance. I’ve always liked him, I was fortunate enough to be the first one to ride him in a race. Eoin was high on him then. It took me a while to get back on him and I got to watch him kind of develop. It’s been a real trip for me, to have him is unbelievable. The kind of trip and what he did today, it takes a special horse to do what he did because he got left a little bit. He was inside and then I got bounced around a little on the turn and then I had to jump over heels. To do that after going a mile, he still jumped up on his feet and started to quicken it and lengthen his stride. It shows that he is right up there with the top of them.”
Neil Howard, trainer of runner-up Mambo in Seattle (No. 9): “He ran well. I’m grateful to train a horse like him. I thought he went well. He had to go around horses and he got beat by one of the Kentucky Derby favorites. I really couldn’t tell if we had won the race.”
Robby Albarado, jockey of runner-up Mambo in Seattle: “He ran an amazing race, and I want to thank Mr. (Will) Farish and Mr. (Neil) Howard. I thought I had it. It never feels good to lose. I just got beat.”
Steve Asmussen, trainer of third-place finisher Pyro (No.11): “He ran a good race. Shaun (Bridgmohan, jockey) did a great job to get through as much traffic as he did from as far back as he came. He did a good job to earn third late.”
Shaun Bridgmohan, jockey of Pyro: “I thought I had a fabulous trip. There was a little traffic at the top of stretch and I had to weave through a little bit. I thought he ran very well.”
Todd Pletcher, trainer of fourth-place finisher Harlem Rocker (No. 8); “He was right in the thick of it. We were forced to go pretty wide on the far turn. We just didn’t have any other option. Once he got up near the front, he just ran pretty even, especially from the eighth –pole on. I thought he ran well. The race set up much like I thought. But I was still very happy with his effort.”
Eibar Coa, jockey of Harlem Rocker: “I had a good trip. I was a little too wide on the turn, but didn’t want to stop. He showed me this might be a little bit long today.”
Nick Zito, trainer of fifth-place finisher Da ’Tara (No. 3), 11th-place finisher Cool Coal Man (No. 6) and 10th-place finisher Amped (No. 7): “I thought Da’ Tara had it for a while. He was hanging in there. He just got tired in the end. Cool Coal Man was there early. I don’t know what happened to Amped.”
Barclay Tagg, trainer of seventh-place finisher Tale of Ekati (No. 1): “I guess he couldn’t do it. He was in a good position and in contention for most of the race.”
Dallas Stewart, trainer of eighth-place finisher Macho Again (No. 5): “He came back all cut up.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey of Macho Again: “The trip was not great. The winner came out. It was a good spot for us, but he came out straight and we got (bumped).”
Beau Greely, trainer of 12th-place finisher Tres Borrachos (No. 10): “He just didn’t seem to care for the track. He never looked comfortable. And Tyler (Baze, jockey) said he was fighting him a little bit on the backstretch. We’ll take him back to California on Monday and either go the Goodwood or Super Derby.”
Tyler Baze, jockey of Tres Borrachos: “He just was not happy out there. I knew on the backstretch that it probably wasn’t going to be his day, and it seems he didn’t care for the dirt.”