Notes & Quotes From the Lexington Stakes & All Others at Keeneland

(My Boy Jack, outside, gets up at the wire to win the G2 Lexington Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Quotes from the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3)

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Kirk Godby (whose Don’t Tell My Wife Stables co-owns winner My Boy Jack with Sol Kumin’s Monomoy Stables)

On My Boy Jack earning 20 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby to increase his total to 52 and secure a place in the Kentucky Derby

“Unbelievable. Everyone knows we came here to get points and he got the job done today. We’re just thrilled. When I saw (jockey) Kent (Desormeaux) bring him out down the backstretch and we were within six or seven lengths, I felt pretty good about it. I was just hoping he had the gas to get home in the short stretch.”

Kent Desormeaux (winning rider of My Boy Jack)

“He was very, very comfortable in his stride and that was pretty much a repeat of his last start. Fortunately I didn’t grab a hot dog at the quarter pole and that made the difference.” (My Boy Jack closed from the back in the Louisiana Derby-G2 to finish third by three-quarters of a length.).

On the effects of his come-from-behind style in the Kentucky Derby

“I think it will (suit him) probably even better. We always tend to get a true, honest pace in the Kentucky Derby and I think he’ll enjoy that.”

Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Telekinesis)

“My trip was perfect. I was in a beautiful position – it was what I was looking for. I cut the corner and saved a lot of ground. I tried to get the jump, but the other horse (My Boy Jack) came way from the outside. Unfortunately, the other horse has been running more lately. My horse has great potential for only running three times.”

Mark Casse (trainer of Telekinesis)

“I was very proud of him. He is playing catch-up. This is only his third start, so for him to run as well as he did, I think he is a superstar.”

John Velazquez (rider of third-place finisher Pony Up)

“The first part he seemed like he was a little bit sluggish. The first eighth of a mile was like, ‘Come on, buddy, we need to be a little bit closer here.’ Then, geez, the last part he came running. I needed to be a little bit closer the first part. But he ran well.”

Joel Rosario (rider of fourth-place finisher Greyvitos)

“He broke sharp and it seemed like he had a lot of energy. He looked good the whole way, it just looked like in the last part they ran by me. I kept trying but he got a little tired in the last part.”

Robby Albarado (rider of fifth-place finisher Seven Trumpets)

“He ran well. It was a nice bunch of horses he ran with out there today, but he’ll catch up to them.”

(Sistercharlie wins G1 Jenny Wiley / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Quotes from the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1)

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Chad Brown (winning trainer of the first three finishers: Sistercharlie [IRE], Fourstar Crook and Off Limits [IRE])

On Sistercharlie

“She’s really matured and this was really a team effort. After her (last) race last year (second on July 8 at Belmont Park), she got really sick on us. We have a great team of veterinarians that worked on her. She had a lung infection that turned real bad. We rested her and (owner) Peter Brant was very, very patient to give her all that time. My staff did a tremendous job bringing her back after such a lengthy layoff.”

On whether he brings specific horses to run at Keeneland

“You bring your best ones to Keeneland or you won’t have any luck here. Luckily I have a lot of good horses and my staff has been working overtime. All the credit goes to them.”

John Velazquez (winning rider)

“I got good position going to the first turn, a position where I wanted to be. She sat really well. By the three-eighths pole, I knew I was in a good position – just looking for where I was going to shoot through. I got through the rail. Had the best horse.”

On earning his 50th Keeneland stakes victory

“I’m blessed to ride for a lot of good trainers with a lot of good horses. Trainers like Chad Brown give me the opportunities.”


Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Fourstar Crook)

“She had some things (working) against her because she was in the way outside post position. I think maybe a mile and an eighth is better for her. I liked everything she did today. I liked the way she finished. I know the winner is one of the best fillies in the country and she had a very good trip.”

Joel Rosario (rider of third-place finisher Off Limits)

“That was a good trip. She was a little bit tired coming home, but I got through, and she ran well. The winner ran a master race. For a moment, I thought I was going to get second. She came out of the gate great and was in a good spot. She was nice and comfortable, and ran beautifully. When the winner (Sistercharlie) came from the inside, she (Off Limits) was already flying.”

Jose Lezcano (rider of fourth-place finisher La Coronel)

“She broke good. I was in the place I wanted to be. She tried hard, but that big filly (Sistercharlie) came running. We weren’t going to catch her.”

Jose Ortiz (rider of fifth-place finisher and beaten favorite Dona Bruja [ARG])

“I didn’t want to be there (on the lead) today. She broke out of the gate really sharp and I wasn’t able to get her back and set her behind somebody. She was very keen the first part of the race; I think the early fractions killed me a little bit. The plan was to sit behind somebody – second, third or fourth. But she broke really well. I wish I could have taken her back.”

(R Rated Superstar Wins the Ben Ali / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the fine people from the Media Team at Keeneland:

Quotes from the $200,000 Ben Ali (G3)

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Javier Castellano (winning rider of Rated R Superstar)

“I had a lot of confidence. We (trainer Kenny McPeek and I) spoke before the race (about the plan). I knew there wasn’t a lot of speed in the race – the only speed was the favorite.

“I’m very impressed the way he did it today. It was a slow pace and he still finished really good. I liked the way he moved turning for home, and he won very easy.”

Kenny McPeek (winning trainer)

“I thought the six horse (favored Chip Leader) was going to be the pace to the race and it looked like the others were going to contest him at some point, whether it was early or in the middle.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Paul Parker (managing partner for owner Radar Racing). We’ve been working together with this (gelding) since he was a 2-year-old; there were times we had to wait on him a little bit. His running style was kind of problematic. He actually won a nice stakes (the 2016 Carry Back-G3 at Gulfstream Park) as a 3-year-old. Paul lets us do what we have to do. It’s a lot of fun to do this for a great group of people.”

John Velazquez (rider of runner-up Chip Leader)

“We were pretty even – (:24.22, :48.19, 1:12.77) – so we were where we were supposed to be, and when I asked him he responded. The other horse just got us.”

Brian J. Hernandez Jr. (rider of third-place finisher Guest Suite)

“We had the one hole and we had a little bit of a rough trip going around the first turn. But our horse overcame it and he ran on nicely to be a good third. You have to be proud of him.”

Joel Rosario (rider of fourth-place finisher Giuseppe the Great)

“He broke well and it looked like I was going to be a little bit back in the pack, which was exactly where I ended up. He made a nice move, but it was too hard to catch the first three. The fractions weren’t very fast; it felt like he was comfortable. It looked like he wanted to run a little bit and then he went and just didn’t have it today.”

Julien Leparoux (rider of fifth-place finisher Aurora Way)

“We had a good trip. We sat in second most of the way. No real excuse – we just couldn’t kick at the end.”

(Triple Chelsea wins the Giant’s Causeway Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Quotes from the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway (L)

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Adam Beschizza (who scored his first Keeneland stakes victory on Triple Chelsea)

“The race panned out beautifully. She’s definitely a filly that likes to be in a nice stalking position and we were following the right horses into the final eighth. It was just a question of (rousing) her.”

Joe Sharp (winning trainer who recorded his first Keeneland stakes victory)

On his decision to claim Triple Chelsea for $62,500 last September at Kentucky Downs

“I watched her replays and she just looked like a game filly that was very versatile. She’s just blossomed since we got her. She was in great condition when we got her and just found her niche. Adam learned her timing, and knew she needed to sit off it (the pace) a little bit and today everything just worked out.

“(She) won two of four at the Fair Grounds. At this time of year, options for turf sprinting fillies are a little limited. I felt she was in as good form as she’s ever been. I wasn’t excited to see Lady Aurelia in the entries, but it worked out.”

John Velazquez (rider of runner-up, 7-10 favorite and defending champion Lady Aurelia)

“She was a little aggressive the first part of the race and I think that cost her the race. And then she got a little flat the last sixteenth of a mile.”

Wesley Ward (trainer of Lady Aurelia)

“She ran a good race, and anytime you’re coming off a layoff, you’re always a little vulnerable. Last year in this race she was a little more relaxed. Johnny (Velazquez) said that the rider on the longshot (Rogelio Miranda on Brave Daisey) was chirping to his horse and hustling his filly along and that kind of kept Lady Aurelia from being as relaxed as she was last year. I take nothing away from the winner. She beat us on the square. (Lady Aurelia) hadn’t had a race and now she has so she should be ready.”


On whether the plan remains to return Lady Aurelia to Royal Ascot in England


“That’s what we’re here for.”


Jose Lezcano (rider of third-place finisher Morticia)

“(Morticia) broke good. She was right there, but the pace was fast. The other filly (Lady Aurelia), the front-runner ran hard. (She) just needs another race at this level.”

Robby Albarado (rider of fourth-place finisher Excessivespending)

“I had a beautiful trip, a great trip. I saved some ground, tried to get out toward the front. She (Excessivespending) ran great – I just got outrun today.”


Her cruising gear is so good,” Graham said. “You watch her races from Ellis park and from Churchill, she bounces along on the front end and travels through her races beautifully. She put them to bed turning for home. She did it the right way. She’s a little aggressive but she’s fast.”

James Graham, Rode Serengeti Empress to victory in the G2 Rachel Alexandra
  • 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 ...

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