Notes & Quotes From the Old Friends Stakes: Get Western

(Get Western jumps to victory in the Old Friends Stakes at KY Downs on Thursday / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the KY Downs Media Team:

Upon his retirement, Get Western will have a home for life at Old Friends after winning the stakes by the same name at Kentucky Downs Thursday afternoon.
Get Western led all the way, augmenting a trend during today’s races, setting fractions of 47.84 seconds for the first half-mile and getting six furlongs in 1:12.95. He coasted home unchallenged under Brian Hernandez, Jr. in 1:43.96 for the mile and 70 yards in the $250,000 Old Friends Stakes during the RUNHAPPY meet at Kentucky Downs.
Cullum Road was second, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, after running mid-pack in fifth until making his move in the stretch. He finished well, reducing a four-length deficit at the furlong marker. Space Mountain and Zero Gravity, both far back after the break, found their best strides in the stretch to complete the superfecta, beaten 2 1/4 lengths and 3 3/4 lengths, respectively.
Jockey Brian Joseph Hernandez — Get Western (1st):
“He’s one of those horses where he’s so athletic today he was there for me every pole, every step of the way,” said Hernandez. “He never traveled like he was going to get beat. Around the turn, it’s a little chewed up, but he’s so athletic I was able to put him so close to the fence that he was able to get on the good path. He was just cruising. Turning for home when I called on him, he picked it up again. I didn’t even worry about anything else. I thought, ‘If a horse beats him from this point, they really have to be running.”
The gelding’s victory in the Old Friends came despite the horse losing focus nearing the finish, in which he jumped shadows of signage placed alongside the course.
 “It just goes to show you how easy he did it,” Hernandez said. “Because he was just paying attention to his surroundings, he was just cruising up there on the lead and that’s what caused him to jump the signs.”
Trainer Brad Cox — Mr. Misunderstood (Unplaced):
“You try once, he didn’t care for it last year,” he said of a third-place finish in the 2018 Tourist Mile. “Obviously he didn’t care for it today. That’s what we were hoping. His last race was pretty good, and to run like that. We’ll draw a line through this one and give him another shot somewhere.”

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
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean