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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

BELMONT STAKES QUOTES

Edited NYRA Staff ReleaseRandy Hill, owner of Dornoch: “Nobody ever wake me up. I’ll be damn mad. Let me keep dreaming. I said to my parents, to Danny [Gargan], and Luis [Saez], ‘Let’s run our race today, let’s get the lead, and if anybody can beat us, let them come and get us.’”

Jayson Werth, winning co-owner of Dornoch (No. 6): “I didn’t do anything. That’s what these guys are for. I’ve got good partners and a good trainer, and a great horse. I’ll put this up there with anything I’ve ever done. This is the top of sports. Horse racing is the most underrated sport there is. This is as big as it gets. The emotions you feel when you play in a playoff game, when you win a World Series game, it is the top of sports, and this is where we’re at.”

Danny Gargan, winning trainer of Dornoch (No. 6): “I’m still just taking it in. It’s pretty exciting. It’s a special thing just to be a part of these races, not to mention to win one with a horse you bought at Keeneland and have had it for its whole [racing] life. I spend so much time with him and my staff has done such a great job with him.

“He’s not an easy horse to train and it’s not easy to get in this kind of situation. I’ve been blessed to have the right owners. Randy [Hill] has been with me since the beginning. He and Dan Reeves wanted me to start training 2-year-olds and focus on them instead of the claiming game, and I have to thank them.

“We wanted to be on the lead. In the Derby the one-hole got us. He broke a touch slow. Right after Brian [Hernandez, Jr. on Mystik Dan] came over and we got checked out of there. It’s game over then. Three days later we got him up here and pointed for this race. We trained him and tried to do everything the best we could. He was training phenomenal. He worked great here. We got overlooked a little bit because he ran one bad race. Now, they’ll look at us a little more next time, hopefully.

“I never lost faith in him. He had tremendous works up here. He’s a big powerful horse. You just have to be patient and not lose focus and just grind away, and hopefully, you get lucky and win one of these.”

Luis Saez, winning jockey aboard Dornoch (No. 6): “It was a pretty good race. The horse broke pretty sharp. The position we were looking for. He did everything right. He came to the top of the stretch, I still have a lot of horse and he fights. He fights to get there first. He’s a horse that really has a big heart and man, he ran the perfect race.

“Of course, [I thank] God. My family for the support, the owner, trainer, everybody involved, thank you.

“You are always going to have a Plan B. The plan was to try to take the lead, but we couldn’t. We were in the perfect spot so I just let him be comfortable. He did what he was supposed to do. He finished pretty well.”

About Mindframe closing to his outside: “At that point, I thought the other horse was going to beat us. But Dornoch, he kept finding. He never let the other one get by. Pretty nice horse, big heart.”

About compared to the troubled trip from the inside post in the Kentucky Derby: “Better post, we were expecting a good break from there. We were thinking to take the lead, but we knew they had a lot of speed to the inside from the one-hole [Seize the Grey]. That was great because we had a target to follow.”

Todd Pletcher, trainer of runner-up Mindframe (No. 10), fifth-place finisher Antiquarian (No. 5) and sixth-place finisher Protective (No. 7): “He [Irad Ortiz, jr.] said he drifted out on him a little bit and it felt like he [Mindframe] lost focus for a moment. He angled him back inside so he could see Dornoch and he re-engaged and was closing but just ran out of time.”

On Mindframe’s inexperience: “It’s just his third start and first time at this distance. First time he’s really been challenged; all the things we were concerned about. If he could have run a straight course down the lane, that would have been the difference. Irad felt like he just lost that little bit of focus. He was still coming at the end.

“It verifies what we thought of him. He showed so much talent in those two races but now we had to test him and see where he fit with the big horses.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr., jockey aboard runner-up Mindframe (No. 10): “It was beautiful. A great trip. For a second, I thought I was going to get there. It’s only his third start, so he showed a lot. He had only a little experience but these horses, they’ve been running everywhere, and had a lot more races than him. I think it was a great effort from him.”

Chad Brown, trainer of third-place finisher and beaten favorite Sierra Leone (No. 9): “We got slammed at the start and he got far back. He had an opportunity to engage the bit and improve his position down the backside and he really didn’t do it. At the quarter-pole, it looked like he wasn’t going anywhere, then he grabbed the bit late and he came on. It’s a hard track today to close ground on.”

Flavien Prat, jockey aboard third-place finisher Sierra Leone (No. 9): “I got bumped out of there [the gate], but then they were going quite fast, so I was happy where I was. I wish I could’ve got myself a little closer down the backside, but I was not able, the horse inside of me kept pushing me out. I wish I could’ve just cleared him and then get going. I was not able to do that so we got to the turn; I took a peek back at the inside and then he came running but just ran out of ground.”

Florent Geroux, jockey aboard fourth-place finisher Honor Marie (No. 8): “It was a pretty good trip, I just got bumped a little bit leaving the gate. I was able to weave my way between horses. He ran great. I just felt like today, like everyone sees, it’s a very speed-favoring racetrack, and it’s very hard to make up any ground.”

Jaime Torres, jockey aboard seventh-place finisher Seize the Grey (No. 1): “Maybe he didn’t like the different kind of surface, but he also had Dornoch on his neck the whole time. We were travelling well, but at the end, he just didn’t give me any more.”

Winning margin: Half length

Final time (1 1/4 miles): 2:01.64

Fractions: 22.99, 47.25, 1:10.67, 1:35.51

Full order of finish: 6-10-9-8-5-7-1-3-4-2

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