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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By NYRA Press Staff: Phil Serpe, winning trainer of Leave No Trace (No. 6, $31.60): “Her first race was impressive. I don’t swear by Beyer numbers and sheet numbers, but I do use them as a tool. Her numbers were good, she was training great, she worked 59 and change for fun. You’ve got to go and make hay when the sun shines. Some horses in here had run a couple of times, some horses like her had only run one time. But you got to take a shot. That’s what racing is.

“We kind of thought coming out of the gate she would be laying third or fourth, just let her finish up. But she broke real sharp and what are you going to say? I’m not out there, that’s [Jose] Lezcano’s job.

“I think we really don’t wind our 2-year-olds up or our first-time starters up, at all. We have them fit and ready to run. When she won that day like that, she was impressive and that shows something in our barn. So, she was impressive and she’s been impressive since before we ever left Belmont. She was working well, easily 47 and change, and you have to be impressed with a horse like that. If you look at her, she’s gorgeous. She went through a growth spurt in the spring. She’s grown six inches in every direction which is what you want a horse to do in August going into September. It was everything you would like.”

On first Grade 1 win in 29 years: “It’s great. We are really, really happy for the people who own this horse. They’re great people, they’re deserving and it’s all around a great feeling for everyone.”

On a potential next start: “We only wanted to go to today. We had to see what was going on. It wasn’t like we were 3-5, but the odds almost don’t matter in races like this because you just don’t know who these fillies are yet and some of them are going to get better. Some of these in these races haven’t even broken their maidens yet. So, it’s a crapshoot. We’ll see how she is and come up with a plan.”

Jose Lezcano, winning jockey aboard Leave No Trace (No. 6): “I think she’s a very nice filly. I never touched her before. She broke so well and she was right there. I really didn’t have to do too much. I let her [have] things her way and she did everything. When I asked her, she went on and won the race. I had a lot of horse going to the five-sixteenths.

On her run down the lane: “The way she did it, she did it so easy. I’m not surprised the way she did it. She traveled like a good horse, and she is.”

On winning a Grade 1 at Saratoga: “It’s very special to me. I try every year to at least take one. It’s very good and amazing.”

Mark Casse, trainer of runner-up Wonder Wheel (No. 9): “Obviously I would’ve like to have won but I thought she ran really well. She got hung out pretty wide. We were hung out and I could see Flavien [Prat aboard No. 1, Kaling] flying up the rail and I thought, ‘Oh dear God.’ I decided to give her a little time to get her ready and now we’ll go to the [Grade 1, $600,000] Alcibiades [on October 7 at Keeneland Race Course].

“She didn’t change [leads] until about the sixteenths pole. I thought maybe when she changed, she’d kick on again and she did. She ran well.”

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