Notes & Quotes From Friday’s Stakes at Keeneland: G1 Alcibiades / G2 Phoenix

From the Keeneland Media Team:

(Restless Rider wins the G1 Alcibiades Stakes on Friday / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

G1 Alcibiades Stakes;

Kenny McPeek (winning trainer of Restless Rider)

On his training job, taking her from winning her career debut in June at 5½ furlongs to stretching out to 1 1/16 miles of the Darley Alcibiades

“She took us. She is really, really special. It hasn’t been as easy as it might look on paper and what she did today. It wasn’t an exact straight line since the Spinaway (G1), but we got through it.

“(With) the weather changing here, there’s been a lot of horses that have been dealing with coughs here and there. She got one of them, and we were worried a little bit. But we kept on top of it. We have a great team. It’s a great team effort, and she is special.”

Brian Hernandez Jr. (winning rider)

“Kenny came up with a great game plan just to get her around the first turn in good order. Luckily we have a good filly that was able to do everything we needed her to do. Once we got in our position going around the first turn, I was pretty confident in her because she’s something special.”

On difference going around one turn in earlier races versus the two turns of the Darley Alcibiades

“She’s a smart filly. She knows what she’s doing out there. First time two turns, but there looked like quite a few fast fillies in here. She’s the type of filly where she’s got the class to her and she was able to put herself into position to make the trip as easy as it looked.”

James Graham (rider of runner-up Reflect)

“I was sitting fifth or sixth down the back, and she was more on the bridle than I wanted. (Trainer Keith Desormeaux) told me to get her away and get her running. I just couldn’t get her to come back off the bit. Took her an extra quarter of a mile to come back to me. That might’ve made the deciding factor when it was time to go. I guarantee this is a better bunch of fillies than people are giving credit.”

Florent Geroux (rider of third-place finisher Meadow Dance)

“She broke very sharply and went to the lead and relaxed nicely. The fractions were a little quick at the beginning, but she hung on for third and that was pretty big for her for her first time going two turns. I am very happy with her. She broke well and I wanted to take advantage of my post, especially in a big field like this. The first three finishers were in the one, two and three (posts), so I guess that was the place to be.”

Shaun Bridgmohan (rider of fourth-place finisher Chocolate Kisses)

“(She) tries hard. I may have given her a little bit too much to do. She never stopped trying. She gave everything she had. She ran real good.”

(Promises Fulfilled, on the rail, holds off 2017 winner Whitmore, far outside, in the G2 Phoenix / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

G2 Phoenix Stakes:

Dale Romans (winning trainer of Promises Fulfilled)

On whether Promises Fulfilled will continue to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships

“I’m sure we will. We still have to pay the supplement – he wasn’t nominated. But that went a long way to putting us in today. Now we have to decide what’s the best place to put him, the (Dirt) Mile (G1) or the Sprint (G1).

“We’ve got a little time to think about it, talk about it. I don’t think he’s restricted to going three-quarters of a mile. I think he’ll be good at any distance. We’ll talk about it. We’re just happy to get this big win. This is a good enough win in its own right. Not worrying about the next one yet.”

Luis Saez (rider of Promises Fulfilled)

“He’s a really nice horse. When he broke from the gate, he did everything perfect. He always fires. When he came to the straight, he didn’t let the other horse (Whitmore) pass. He always wants to win.”

Ricardo Santana Jr. (rider of runner-up Whitmore)

On the horse balking at loading in the gate

“He’s always done that. He ran his (butt) off, that’s all I can say.”

Jose Ortiz (rider of third-place finisher Limousine Liberal)

“My trip was good until we hit the three-sixteenths pole. When the one horse (Promises Fulfilled) left the rail a little bit, I had a shot to get through it. But I should have gone wide and let him run home free. I think this one is on me – I messed up. He responded when I asked him and he kept giving me more gears but like I said I messed up.”

T.D. Houghton (rider of fourth-place finisher Heartwood)

“(He) broke really good. We were laying second. He was just a little overmatched out there. The other horses were just a little bit better than he was. He ran his race. He tried hard and just got outrun.”


The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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