Notes & Quotes From Saturday’s Stakes Races

From the Media Teams at both Saratoga and Del Mar. Here are some interesting comments from Saturday’s major races:

Saratoga Race Course:

G1 Diana Stakes:

John Velazquez (rider of the winner Sistercharlie):

“Going to the three-eighths pole, I went to go around Javier [Castellano, aboard New Money Honey, No. 3] and he went out so I had to travel a little bit wider from the five-sixteenths pole to the quarter-pole,” said Velazquez. “It cost me a little bit down the lane to get her back into rhythm. She switched leads late but when she final did, she gave me that spur down the lane to get down there in time. She’s a very good filly. She just has to put it together at the start and break better, but she’s definitely talented.”

Chad Brown (trainer of the winner):

“In mid-stretch, I was worried that she wouldn’t get there, especially when she didn’t want to get her correct lead in the lane,” said Brown. “When Johnny finally got her there, I could see her surging. It was a matter of being on the right side of that photo. Luckily, she got there.”

“She broke better than her last start,” Brown noted. “She ran a cleaner race at a shorter distance and got up in time. It’s frustrating that she’ll put herself in that position early, but that’s her. Even before she arrived to my barn, that was her running style – coming from behind. She has a lot of heart and a lot of class. This isn’t her ideal distance, nor was the mile and a sixteenth in the Jenny Wiley. But just with sheer class, heart and ability, she can do it.”

Sanford Stakes:

Javier Castellano (rider of the winner Sombeyay):

“It was perfect. He broke good out of the gate and put me in the right position,” Castellano said. “Today, I didn’t want to be too far back. It worked out the way we wanted today. He’s a good come-from-behind horse. It was very satisfying.”

Todd Pletcher (winner of the winner):

“I thought he ran really well,” Pletcher said. “Showed a little more speed than I thought he would. Javier had to take a bit of a hold of him at one point, but when he took him out he finished up nicely. I think in these early 2-year-old races experience is huge. Having two starts compared to others with only one I think that helped today. I think it hurt him a little the last time when he stumbled, you could argue that it helped him today.”

“I think the Hopeful would be the next step with three starts under his belt,” said Pletcher after winning his record seventh Sanford. “If he’s tearing the barn down, we’ll see.”

Del Mar Race Course:

G2 San Diego Handicap:

DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Catalina Cruiser, winner) – “He felt good all the way; nice and relaxed. He’s a super talented horse. I knew that right from the beginning. John (trainer John Sadler) said ‘Just get him comfortable.’ He didn’t care if I was in front or coming from off it.  I figured we’d be in front – as long as someone didn’t do something stupid. Then he really pulled me into that first turn and he was going easy from there. Big race for him.”

JOE TALAMO (Dr. Dorr, second) – “My horse tried hard. Hats off to the winner. He ran a huge race.”

FLAVIEN PRAT (Dabster, third) — “It was a good race for him. The winner had it all his own way.”

JOHN SADLER (Catalina Cruiser, winner) – “The nickname of this horse around the barn is ‘The best horse nobody’s heard of.’ Today we changed it to ‘the next big thing.’ We’ve loved this horse from day one. He’s showed a lot of potential, but we’ve had to be patient with him. Today he showed us what we thought he could do. We’re not going to run two in the Pacific Classic. We’re going to run one horse to be determined. We’re going to see how these horses (Accelerate, Catalina Cruiser) train over the track and pull up.”

G2 San Clemente Stakes:

TYLER BAZE (War Heroine, winner) – “She’s an extremely fast filly; extremely fast. But it isn’t so much about the speed, it’s about how they’re expanding their energy. She was doing it well today.  I knew she was good for a mile; she’s all heart. She loves to stick her neck out and win. She’s tough.”

Will she get an extra eighth of a mile? ($300,000, Grade I Del Mar Oaks August 18 at nine furlongs) – “No problem.”

COREY NAKATANI (Ollie’s Candy, second) – “An awesome race for her. This was good education for her today. They got her right now.  She’ll be ready for the (Del Mar) Oaks now.”

KENT DESORMEAUX (Ms Bad Behavior, third) – “Good trip inside saving lots of ground. She responded well. This was her first time back in a while (three and a half months). She’ll be plenty ready now for the (Del Mar) Oaks.”

PETER MILLER (War Heroine, winner) – “She reminds me a lot of Belvoir Bay; small but mighty. She’s got a big heart and a lot of speed. I didn’t think we’d be on the lead and I told Tyler she doesn’t need to be, but if they give it to you take it. He rode a super race, got reasonable fractions and she really kicked home strong. I see no reason not to try her in the Del Mar Oaks. I think that’s the move and that’s what we’ll do.”

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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