Notes & Quotes From the G2 Stephen Foster: Seeking the Soul

(Seeking the Soul winning the G2 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:


John Velazquez, jockey of SEEKING THE SOUL (winner): “He ran really well here the last time out, and we knew coming from Dubai he probably wasn’t going to be 100 percent. He had the perfect timing to win that race (Grade II Alysheba, May 3, where he finished third), just like this one. Today he was right back to where he normally is, high energy. As soon as I broke out there and got into the first turn, he was a little more aggressive than I want him to be. He’s never been that close in the first part of the race. But I got him back to where I wanted him to be, got comfortable where he was, and then down the stretch, pulling out, he had it.”

Dallas Stewart, trainer of SEEKING THE SOUL (winner): “We will definitely be in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year. This horse is so special to our entire barn. We have to thank Mr. Fipke for allowing us to train him. With family and friends here tonight, this is as good as it gets – we’re in the Classic.”

Florent Geroux, jockey of QUIP (runner-up): “We were in a perfect spot tracking (Tom’s d’Etat). He fought the entire way down the stretch and even when (Seeking the Soul) got to us, he tried to dig back in and rally. He ran great.”

Shaun Bridgmohan, jockey of TOM’S d’ETAT (third): “It was kind of an interesting race shape. I didn’t expect him to necessarily be on the lead.”

Joel Rosario, jockey of GIFT BOX (fourth): “They went pretty slow up front and he just couldn’t close into the leaders.”

Wes Hawley, trainer of THIRSTFORLIFE (fifth): “One of these day’s we’ll get the big race. He ran a credible effort but just didn’t match up the Top 3 tonight.”

Joel Rosario, jockey of YOSHIDA (JPN) (sixth): “I thought we were sitting in a good spot, but he just wasn’t steady after that. They kind of kicked home and he stayed in the same space. They kind of left me. Turning for home, he made a move, but they kind of got away from us again.”

Tyler Gaffalione, jockey of EXHULTING (seventh): “We were in a good spot and were comfortable up the backstretch but when I asked him for his run he picked up some ground just got a little tired late.”

Julien Leparoux, jockey of RUNAWAY GHOST (eighth): “We were in a good spot early tracking the leaders but flattened out.”

Ricardo Santana Jr. jockey of TENFOLD (ninth): “He ran alright but just wasn’t able to catch the leaders.”

Javier Castellano, jockey of KING ZACHARY (10th): “He broke good and got in a good spot but didn’t have the fight in him today.”

Channing Hill, jockey of ALKHAATAM (11th): “We were kind of far out of it after that break. He didn’t like running behind horses.”

Rodney Prescott, jockey of RATED R SUPERSTAR (12th): “It wasn’t his day today. I thought he’d run a bit better but just didn’t fire.”

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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