(Audible winning the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park / Photo Courtesy of Gulfstream Park)

Here are some notes and quotes from the KY Derby Trail:

Florida Derby:

  1. From Todd Pletcher, trainer of the winner, Audible (Audible picked up 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby to easily earn his way into the field for the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs): “Everyone at the end of the day is only going to remember the Kentucky Derby winner as the most important horse now, but the one thing that I’ve seen over the years, and we’ve been fortunate to win a lot of the prep races and two Derbys now, I think the excitement level for the owners is that this is what really drives them, this is what motivates them, this is what excites them. These are the races they want to win. To get to Churchill I think is kind of everyone’s ultimate goal or ultimate dream. It was similar to what we did with Always Dreaming last year. We knew we had to perform well in the Florida Derby or we weren’t going to accumulate enough points to get in, but we also all felt like if you don’t run well in your final prep then you’re probably not going to Churchill anyway. The most important thing is we thought he ran a huge race in the Holy Bull, we didn’t feel that there was a benefit to running him back in between, that we could hopefully take another step forward by giving him some space between those races and the fact that the Florida Derby is a Grade 1 is super-important to a stallion like he’s going to be.”
  2. From John Velazquez, rider of the winner (he picked up the ride on Audible when Javier Castellano opted to ride West Coast in the Dubai World Cup): “Once he got to the horses on the lead I just tried to keep him busy down the lane and he kicked pretty good. I didn’t ride him last time but he way he ran today he was definitely impressive. [The distance] didn’t seem to bother him at all. I think the farther he goes the better he gets.”
  3. From Bill Mott, trainer of Hofburg, who ran 2nd: “I think we’re all pleased.  Naturally, winning would have been the only thing that would have been better, but he ran well and he galloped out well.  He took a lot of dirt and was very professional.  He was much more seasoned today and did everything right.  He was the perfect gentleman and just much better behaved today. We’ve got to think about (the Kentucky Derby) he ran well enough and galloped out good enough that we’ve got to take everything into consideration but we’re not going to rule anything out at this point.” 
  4. From Dale Romans, trainer of Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled, who was last in the Florida Derby: “You live by the sword, you die by the sword. We went wire to wire last time, but that doesn’t mean we don’t regroup and go back in the Derby.”

UAE Derby:

  1. Aidan O’Brien, trainer of the impressive winner Mendelssohn, was quoted by Marcus Armytage, Racing Correspondent for “The Telegraph”“Obviously we weren’t expecting that. We were very happy with him after his win at Dundalk, we knew there was a lot of dirt in his pedigree and that he had a lot of speed but we weren’t sure how far his speed would carry him. We’re over the moon. The lads paid a lot of money for him.” (O’Brien is 0-for-5 at the Kentucky Derby, but…): “The ones we went with before (to Kentucky) had no run or a soft run before.”
  2. Ryan Moore, rider of Mendelssohn, was quoted by Marcus Armytage, Racing Correspondent for “The Telegraph” “It was his first time in front and he was still green in places. He’s high quality; second in a Dewhurst, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He’s getting better with every start. He’s very exciting.”