Notes & Quotes From the G3 Dowager Stakes: Gentle Ruler

(Gentle Ruler wins the Dowager Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Chris Landeros (winning rider of Gentle Ruler)

“I knew we were going a little slow (early in the race). When I crossed the finish the first time (past the tote board), I took a peek over my left (shoulder) and I saw the :26 and change and I thought I better start creeping up a little earlier today. She’s so game. Ian (Wilkes) has her primed and ready every time. Thankful to the owners for the opportunity. When you ride a horse like her, it makes my job a lot easier.”

On scoring his sixth victory aboard her this year

“She’s really special to me. This is what we look forward to. Horses like her get your juices flowing early in the day. She’s special.”

Ian Wilkes (winning trainer)

On what caused her turnaround

“Maturity. Simple thing as maturity. The filly as a 4-year-old has grown up. Before, she was always quirky, wouldn’t go to the track without a pony. This year, she’ll go to the track without the pony, and she’s just grown up.”

On her future

“She’s done for the year now. We’ll bring her back next year, and we’ll give her a shot at some better company. I just didn’t think she was quite ready this year. She’s doing really great, but next year we’ll give her a shot and see how good she can get. We’ll let her dictate everything.”

Javier Castellano (rider of Elysea’s World [IRE])

“I had a good trip. I saved a lot of ground, which is what I was looking for today. She is the kind of horse to come from behind. Unfortunately, the pace was slow, a :26 – everyone was walking in front. She earned a good place, second best. The winner was the best today.”

Feargal Lynch (rider of third-place finisher Decorating)

“I just let her do her thing. She traveled well into the straight, but she just lacked that kick at the end. The winner came on the outside and got us. I am very happy with her. I knew there would not be much pace in the race and I knew we would be prominent. She is a stayer and I wanted to make sure it did not turn into a sprint.”

On her slow prancing in the Saddling Paddock, Walking Ring and Post Parade:

“That is her Zenyatta step. She has done it since she was a baby. She is so cute and so happy.”

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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