(Hit The Road wins the G1 Kilroe Mile / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
FLORENT GEROUX, HIT THE ROAD, WINNER: “The trip made the difference, we got very lucky with the trip. It opened up at the right time, and the horse got the job done.
“It was all heart. Sometimes when you have to go through a tight spot the horse doesn’t necessarily cooperate, but he did great and did everything I asked him to. I couldn’t be any prouder of the horse and Dan and his team for his first Grade I. They worked very hard to get to this point and I’m very happy for them. I liked my horse and the one horse (Smooth Like Strait), and I thought it was going to be very tough between those two. I was able to follow him all the way around and got through on the inside.”
JUAN HERNANDEZ, COUNT AGAIN, THIRD PLACE: “This was a lot different than the last race. My horse took a few bad steps around the turn and I pulled him up. He was training really well for this race back. When we got to the 3/8th, I knew it was time to run, so we went outside. He didn’t want to pick it up on the turn, but once we hit the stretch and he changed leads, he took off. I wish we had a couple more jumps, we would have won. He’s a really nice horse.”
DAN BLACKER, HIT THE ROAD, WINNER: “I was pretty anxious, but I thought if he can get through he’s got a good chance. Luckily, ‘Flo’ found a gap and he just proved he’s the best today.
“I gave myself ten years to win a grade one and luckily we got it done in year nine. I don’t want to make this about me. It’s all about the horse, he’s such a professional animal, he is a true racehorse. He was born that way he’s just a true athlete and so mentally focused on racing. I just feel so fortunate to have him and with him a great group of owners like Rick and Jim. Being with me for such a long time, they’ve been so patient, and I just really thrill for them all to get a win like this.”
MICHAEL MCCARTHY, SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT, SECOND: “Tough to lose a close one like that. My horse had a little breather after the Mathis Brothers. It has been my plan all along to run in this and then come back in the Shoemaker.
“I’ve got a world of faith in my horse, he will win more of these than he will lose. We are still on track for the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar.”
NOTES: The winning owners are D K Racing, LLC, Radley Equine, Inc., Taste of Victory Stables, Rick Gold, Rick, Tony Maslowski and Dave Odmark.