(Mustasaabeq impresses in late move to win G2 Bourbon Stakes / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
Todd Pletcher (winning trainer of Mutasaabeq, via phone)
“(On the race setup) I was a little concerned. He didn’t break well and that has historically been him. He’s a horse that has speed and he has a tremendous turn of foot as you saw today, but he’s notoriously not been great the first jump or two away from the gate. So I wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get away well and then he kind of got shuffled back and then a horse kind of came over and he had to steady a bit.
“The first 100 yards didn’t go very well, but he was able to save a little bit of ground around the first turn and it looked like Luis (Saez) was biding his time and trying to figure out whether he should find a seam to go through or ultimately he just decided to circle the field and kind of sling-shotted them. He delivered an explosive turn of foot. Great to see and great for the Shadwell team.
“His maiden win was very impressive and his gate work prior to his maiden win was as good as any 2-year-old we’ve had at Saratoga ever. We felt that the Hopeful (G1), they kind of ran away from him and he couldn’t really close the way we hoped he would. Kind of looking into his pedigree, the Into Mischief’s run on anything.”
Amelia Green (assistant trainer)
“He’s always been a very happy horse. If you ask him, he thinks he’s 17 hands and a big stud. We don’t tell him otherwise – we let him think that. He showed it today.”
Luis Saez (winning rider)
“We broke a little slow. Last time he did the same thing, but I knew I had a lot of horse. The distance was great for him. He was working so good on the turf. We knew what we had. When we came to the half-mile I was trying to (decide) where we were going to go – inside or out – but inside we had so many horses. I felt like I had the horse to go out and let him roll. When he came to the straight, he just took off. He did it easy.”
Brad Cox (trainer of runner-up Abarta)
“He ran fantastic. I really didn’t know what to expect. The jockey (Umberto Rispoli) did a fantastic job of keeping him involved. He looked like he got shuffled back turning for home and then really kicked on down the lane. Obviously he does not mind two turns. We’ll see how he comes out of this race and then possibly the Breeders’ Cup next.”