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Edited Tampa Staff Release — Winning co-owner Rich Mendez of Morplay Racing, LLC: “It’s an amazing feeling. Our partner, Dean DeRenzo, bought him as a yearling for $40,000, and we ended up keeping him.

I spoke to (jockey) Paco (Lopez) after the race and he said he was just playing with them. After his last race (fifth in the Mucho Macho Man), when he fell about 10 lengths back and still came back and tried to compete, we really felt good about him. He has so much heart.”

Winning trainer Jose Francisco D’Angelo: “I really liked his last workout – it was a monster move (5 furlongs in 1:00 at Palm Meadows). There wasn’t much speed in the race today and I said we probably were going to be second or third early, but he took the lead with no problem.

His next race? We will make the right decision for him, not for us, but if everything is in good order we’ll probably come back (for the Tampa Bay Derby) because he likes it here.”

Winning jockey Paco Lopez: “The trainer told me to put on the brakes out of the gate and sit third or fourth, but my horse broke unbelievable and I let him go. The pace was a little faster than I wanted, but his first and second quarters were very natural. I had plenty of horse the whole way and when I asked him, he gave me everything.”

Todd Pletcher, trainer of runner-up Agate Road: “Agate Road finished up with good energy. I’m happy with his effort. We’ll consider bringing Agate Road back here for the Tampa Bay Derby. We’ll likely go back to the turf with Tireless.”

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