Notes & Quotes From the Los Alamitos Derby: Game Winner

(Game Winner prior to the KY Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From our great friends at HorseRacingNation (www.horseracingnation.com)

Trainer Bob Baffert (Game Winner — 1st):

The two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert now owns nine Los Alamitos Derby victories, including three straight.

Baffert hopes Game Winner treads a similar path to West Coast, who in 2017 used the Los Alamitos Derby as a springboard for a Travers victory.

“This should set (Game Winner) up for the Travers just perfect,” Baffert said. “West Coast, we did the same thing with him. Hopefully we’ll have the same kind of year with him. …

“All my good horses, most of them have run here and run well here. It’s a good, safe race track and they come out of it really well.”

Saturday marked Game Winner’s first start since he was elevated May 4 at Churchill Downs to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

In his two Derby preps, he ran second in both Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2) and in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

“I’m still a little bit upset – I really thought was going to win the Kentucky Derby this year,” Baffert said.

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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