(Magnum Moon winning the Rebel Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Oaklawn Park www.oaklawn.com)

Here are a few tidbits of news, notes and quotes as we travel fast and furious toward the first Saturday in May and the 2018 version of the Kentucky Derby. On Saturday, two more preps were run and a few more dreams were cast.

Here’s a closer look at what people are saying:

The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park:

  1. Trainer Todd Pletcher, after the undefeated Magnum Moon ran off to an impressive victory in the deep stretch: “We felt like we had a very talented colt. We were very pleased with his first two races. But, this was a step up in class and running against accomplished, seasoned colts. We were confident that he was training very well, coming into it in great shape and just hoping he could handle the continued rise in class.”
  2. Pletcher on picking up rider Luis Saez, who switched off of Sporting Chance. “We were high on the colt. Louie’s ridden him both starts and we were happy with that. We always thought a lot of him, from early on when was at my dad’s training center as a yearling and as a 2-year-old. It didn’t really change our confidence level so much. But that was a difficult decision. Sporting Chance is a very nice horse.”
  3. Pletcher on next start could be the Arkansas Derby: “most likely and most logical spot.”
  4. Rider Luis Saez: “We took like two weeks to make that decision (to ride Magnum Moon). I always thought this horse was going to be a good horse. I love Sporting Chance, he’s a very good horse. But we decide to ride him today and he proved he’s a good horse.”
  5. Saez on the stretch run: “He was traveling pretty good. He broke good and was in the right spot. When he came to the stretch, he just kept running and never stopped. Well it was magnificent you know. That horse is a pretty good horse. He proved today that he can really run and I don’t know. Let’s see, hopefully everything will be going good for the Arkansas Derby.”
  6. Jockey Flavien Prat, who rode second place finisher and heavily favored Solomini: “Had a good race… We had a good trip. We got on the inside and that’s not the best for him, but then I wasn’t going to keep him off. And he made a nice run. I mean he ran a good second.”
  7. Trainer Steve Asmussen, third, fourth and sixth with Combatant, Title Ready and Zing Zang respectively: “Zing Zang, the race track has not been playing towards him at all this year. Combatant, I would have loved to have had a better draw so he would have had a better position earlier. He made a long run and looked like he got a little tired down the lane. Title Ready held on really well.”

The Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park:

  1. Assistant Trainer Octavio Vergara told Alicia Wincze-Hughes of the www.bloodhorse.com about winner Blended Citizen: “(Trainer) Doug O’Neill sent him here to win and get into the Kentucky Derby…I knew he would run good,” Vergara added. “Last time out he should have won the El Camino Real Derby, but he got stopped twice.”
  2. Jockey Kyle Frey, who rode the winner, was quoted by www.bloodhorse.com: “We broke a little quicker, and we were a lot closer than I expected, and I had to steady a bit, because the outside horse closed in on us early in the race. I wasn’t too worried about it. I pulled out of there and waited. (At) about the half-mile pole, it seemed like the race just started to fall apart. As things opened up, I just let Jesus take the wheel. With the way he was moving, all I needed was an opening, and I got it.”