Brett Brinkman, winning trainer of Cilla [who was saddled by Charlton Baker] (No. 4, $23.40): “I don’t run any horses in New York. I may come up once a year and the girl that rubs this horse [Lisa Whitaker] used to work for Charlie [Baker].”
On why he shipped Cilla to New York: “She’s fast and she’s a 3-year-old. There’s limited opportunities for those fillies. We felt like after we got her on track a couple of races ago and that we were going to let her step along and buy her way to the next one. She’s obviously bought her way to this one.”
On the inquiry/objection: “I felt like both horses were a little bit at fault. Both fillies were running and both jocks were riding. The stewards were going to make whatever call they make, but I was still proud of my filly. She ran her race.”
Tyler Gaffalione, winning jockey aboard Cilla (No. 4): “As soon as Ricardo [Santana, Jr., aboard Souper Sensational] put a head in front of me, I asked her and she surged back to them, so I was confident that we were going to be able to come back to them. I was confident that we were able to get back. She fought gamely and all the credit goes to the connections for having her ready.”
On the stewards inquiry involving late stretch run: “That’s not the way you want to do things. You want to ride a clean race and keep a straight path. Unfortunately, my filly was just getting a little bit tired and every time I asked her she wanted to come out a little bit. But we never crossed that line and I was pretty confident that we were going to stay up. I’m just thankful for this opportunity.”
Mark Casse, trainer of runner-up and beaten favorite Souper Sensational (No. 6): “I think they [the stewards] made the right decision. There was some contact but we couldn’t get by her. She just beat us today.
“Maybe a little [had her momentum stopped], but I can’t disagree with their decision. He [Santana, Jr.] thought it cost her momentum and that when he hit her, she stopped running. These are big races. It has to be clear cut and I don’t think it was. I think the right decision was made.”
Winning margin: Half-length
Final time (six furlongs): 1:10.05
Fractions: 22.25, 45.06, 57.08
Full order of finish: 4-6-3-1-2
Chad Brown, winning trainer of Public Sector (No. 1, $4.40*) and fifth-place Founder [No. 5]: “I wanted to save ground, get a pocketed trip and see if he could square off with Never Surprised, who I think is a really, really good horse. He [Public Sector] came into the race as the favorite, but this is the best horse he’s faced, except in the Breeders’ Cup when our horse wasn’t right.
“I was really as curious as anyone to see how he would kick on when he squared off with this horse in the stretch and of course, we had the benefit of having some race fitness, while the other horse was coming off a layoff. I’m sure he got a lot out of that. I’m so proud of my horse and the trip Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] was able to execute with him. My team really kept him in good form and kept developing him.
“He broke well and Irad let them run a way a little bit. I thought maybe he would run on to the turn and make them go a little bit more, but he decided to take that first eighth of a mile that way where he just let them get a way a little bit, but quickly he scooted up into the pocket not too far away. From there, I thought we at least had a fair chance to win the race without knowing how he would do when he would draw alongside a really good horse.”
On targeting Grade 1 Hollywood Derby: “The Hollywood Derby, definitely. It’s a little far away and this horse will have to run between now and then one time. I’m not sure exactly which race yet.
“What we’re seeing with him and a lot of horses like him is as he matures, he should be able to stretch out a little bit. He certainly looked good doing this and I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of a mile and an eighth in the Hollywood Derby. For this year, that’s as far as I’ll run him. Then down the road, we’ll see.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr., winning jockey aboard Public Sector (No. 1): “I got a perfect trip. We broke well from the one-hole and two horses had speed, so I sat off of them. When it was time to roll, I asked my horse and he was loaded. When he switched leads, he gave me a good turn-of-foot. He responded really well.
On the race for the Spa meet jockey title in which Ortiz, Jr. [54 wins] is six wins back of Luis Saez : “We’ll keep trying until the end. You don’t want to give up.”
Luis Saez, jockey aboard runner-up Never Surprised (No. 4): “I had a good trip. He was moving well and ran really hard. That other horse came flying. He tried hard.”
Winning margin: one length
Final time (1 1/16 miles, inner turf): 1:41.78
Fractions: 24.73, 49.19, 1:12.42, 1:35.78
Full order of finish: 1-4-2-3-5-6
G1 Flower Bowl Quotes
“Win and You’re In” for Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Bill Mott, winning trainer of War Like Goddess (No. 3, $2.80*): “When they were coming out of the turn; I was watching the race and the pillar from the grandstand was in the way, so I didn’t know if she was still on the inside or the outside. Then by the time she came, I could see that she made her way to the outside and was clear.
“She was tucked in most of the way. He [Julien Leparoux] tipped her out and got running room. She’s won on the inside before. If you can get a clear run, that’s all you need.”
On training up to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Del Mar: “We’ll talk about that, but there’s a good possibility of that. She seems to run pretty well fresh, so maybe that’s what we’ll do.”
Julien Leparoux, winning jockey aboard War Like Goddess (No. 3): “She’s a classy filly. You can do whatever you want and she’ll still give you that punch in the end. Its nice. It’s a sign of the good ones, for sure.
“Bill Mott knows how to get them to these Grade 1s. They took their time with her and it has paid off.
“For sure, the Breeders’ Cup is the goal, so if she gets there healthy, she’ll be going in with a big chance.”
Joel Rosario, jockey aboard runner-up Great Island (No. 6): “She was closing really nicely. The other horse had a better kick than I did. She ran well. I thought for a second we were getting there. She seems fine with the distance. The winner was much better.”
Winning margin: 2 1/4 lengths
Final time (1 3/8 miles, inner turf): 2:13.07
Fractions: 24.71, 48.83, 1:13.66, 1:37.40, 2:01.27
Full order of finish: 3-6-4-5-2-1
G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Quotes
“Win and You’re In” for Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Steve Asmussen, winning trainer of Max Player (No. 2, $9.60): “It was beautiful. Max, in the [Grade 1] Suburban [victory], ran that race under different circumstances on an off track. For him to do this on a fast track in the Jockey Club Gold Cup here at Saratoga, it is very satisfying. This is who he is, and I thought it was a dominating win.
“We’ve learned that about him. He likes to be where he’s going to run. Physically, he looks great. He’s matured wonderfully. He’s made a beautiful older horse, getting strong and running his best races at the right time.
“He completely lost focus over there [11th in the Saudi Cup in February]. It was too much for him to run his race at where he was physically.
“I really thought we had a chance with him at Churchill [in the 2020 Kentucky Derby], the way he was training over the track. He lost so much ground early in the race and then fought the dirt from where he was. He didn’t even begin to level off until the last eighth of the race and still ended up fifth.
“He likes good spacing between his races. Ricardo [Santana, Jr.] has done a tremendous job of putting him into the race, so he can actually perform.
“We went back with him to the gate and started from a hand open, just to leave the gates. Ricardo did a tremendous amount of work with him there and knows the horse really well. It took some riding from Ricardo today in the first three or four jumps but immediately, when he got him going, 50 yards from the gate [I thought] ‘you get your chance, I’m glad to see this.’
“There were questions. His Suburban was so much better than his four previous races for us – more than considerable – but it was on an off track and an odd configuration. To do it here at a more traditional mile and a quarter on a fast race track more than validates his Suburban.
“It’s been a dream meet. It really has. With achieving the [all-time trainer win] record here. With the fans coming back. With how it felt. At Saratoga – not only do you have fans – you have educated fans. They’re aware of racing. To set the record here and this is the third Grade 1 win of the meet. It’s been a dream meet and it will be beautiful to reflect on, but we have two Grade 1s left before we’re there.
“I will speak with Mr. [George] Hall [the owner], but I think the right thing to do is to go out there [Del Mar] early and wait for the Classic.”
Ricardo Santana, Jr., winning jockey aboard Max Player (No. 2): “I was happy with him. Today, he broke good, so I was really happy with it. The trainer is doing all the [work].”
Todd Pletcher, trainer of runner-up Happy Saver (No. 4): “I thought he ran very well. We got bottled up in behind horses in a pace-less race. He ran on well, but we’d benefit from a more truly run race. I’m proud of his effort.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr., jockey aboard runner-up Happy Saver (No. 4): “I had perfect trip. We got beat by a nice horse. He did everything right, he just got beat.”
Bill Mott, trainer of third-place finisher and beaten favorite Forza Di Oro (No. 1): “I’m disappointed that he didn’t get the 10 furlongs. I just didn’t think he had any excuse. We’ve got to see. There’s another race; the [Grade 1] Woodward could be a possibility [at 1 1/8 miles on October 2 at Belmont Park], I suppose. But it’s a little early to commit to anything.”
Junior Alvarado, jockey aboard third-place finisher Forza Di Oro (No. 1): “We had a great trip. No excuse whatsoever; the winner was the best horse. I thought we could have held for second, but he got tired on me at the end. It could be a distance thing, where maybe he doesn’t want to go that far, but other than that, there’s no real excuse.”
Winning margin: Four lengths
Final time (1 1/4 miles): 2:02.49
Fractions: 24.05, 48.70, 1:13.14, 1:37.77
Full order of finish: 2-4-1-5-3-6