(Marzo zips away to win G3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Mike Maker (winning trainer of Marzo)

On the confidence to move the gelding into graded stakes competition two races after claiming him

“We claimed him (in August at Kentucky Downs) with this idea: stretch him out with this race in mind if another horse, Bigger Picture, didn’t make it. With the purses in Kentucky, it was a no-lose situation. Hats off to Mr. (Kirk) Wycoff for picking him out.”

On whether he expected Marzo’s running style

“Yes. He gave us the impression he’d be forwardly placed. I was thinking we might be on the lead, but I left it up to Ricardo (Santana Jr.).”

Ricardo Santana Jr. (winning rider)

“The horse broke really sharp. I stuck him behind the pace. The horse traveled really good. I was really happy with his position. At the three-eighths pole, he was pulling, saying ‘let me go.’ I let him go.”

Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Nakamura)

“I handicapped the race and I was concerned a little bit because there was no pace. My horse is not fast out of the gate. I didn’t want to rush – it’s a mile and a half. Unfortunately, the way it set up was a disadvantage for my horse. I still give a lot of credit to my horse because he finished really well. I couldn’t catch the winner.”

Jose Ortiz (rider of sixth-place finisher and beaten favorite Focus Group)

“In three-turn races you save ground the first two turns and then the last one you can go wide. No excuses. I was following Javier (Castellano on runner-up Nakamura) and he finished second but I wasn’t able to keep up with his momentum at the three-eighths pole.”