Notes & Quotes From G3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita: Gunmetal Gray

(Gunmetal Gray wins the G3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)

From the Media Team at Santa Anita:

JOCKEY QUOTES

MIKE SMITH, GUNMETAL GRAY, WINNER: “I didn’t expect to be that far back. I got taken off my game plan a little bit. Coliseum kind of slipped and broke to the right. He really hit me in behind and set me farther back than I wanted to be.

“He got up, got back into the race somewhat and got into a nice, comfortable stride. I figured from that point that he would run well, we just had to be good enough to catch them and he was.

“I learned that distance shouldn’t be a problem, which is very important. The best part of his race was certainly the last part of it. Going around two turns and stretching out a little bit farther shouldn’t be a problem.

“I actually worked him his first three-eighths of a mile that he ever worked and I thought a lot of him then, believe it or not. I told Jerry to take his time and thought he’s the kind that will get better as he gets a little older. He’s taking that big step forward but I think he’s shown he can get the distance. They’ll start separating themselves as these preps go on but at least he took that first step.

Regarding the namesake of the race: “It’s too bad Secretariat had to be running the same year, otherwise I think they both would have been Triple Crown Winners for sure.”

TRAINER QUOTES

JERRY HOLLENDORDER, GUNMETAL GRAY, WINNER:  “Mike knew we wouldn’t be near the lead and we were hoping to get some pace to run at.  Mike sat back, bided his time and he ran them down.  We came back here after the Breeders’ Cup and he’s really trained well the past two months.”

LAFFIT PINCAY, JR., TROPHY PRESENTER AND RIDER OF THE GREAT ‘SHAM’ WHO WAS SECOND IN THE 1973 KENTUCKY DERBY AND PREAKNESS STAKES: “It was very special to present today’s trophy. He had a big heart and he could run, he could do anything. That day, in the Kentucky Derby, I thought I was going to win that race. I got to the stretch and when I saw Secretariat it surprised me because my horse was really running. You saw what he did, Secretariat broke the track record. Even though Sham got beat, it was a great race for him. I’m pretty sure that if Secretariat wouldn’t have been around that I would have won the Triple Crown.

“Secretariat was the best horse ever in my opinion. So, to run second to him was an honor.”

NOTES: The winning owners are Hollendorfer, LLC, Pearl Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds.

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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