(Prince Lucky Wins State Dinner Stakes on Belmont Park’s closing day / Photo by Elsa Lorieul & Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Byron Hughes, Assistant Trainer for Prince Lucky (1st)

Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher, said he was impressed by Prince Lucky’s rebound effort.

“This was a nice rebound for him coming off the Met Mile,” said Hughes. “He didn’t have a lot of excuses in there and got a bit of class relief in this race, but it was still a solid group of older horses. He was able to break on top and Johnny got him in a good rhythm. He was able to pull away there at the end.”

Jockey John Velazquez, Rider of Prince Lucky:

Velazquez said the key to victory was allowing Prince Lucky to dictate his own terms.

“He broke well and I got the position I wanted, so I just put my hands down,” said Velazquez. “They went a little quick, but he was doing it easily. Last time I tried to rate him behind horses, he threw his head up and started getting out. So today, I just let him do what he was happy doing.”

Live racing now shifts to Saratoga Race Course for the 40-day meet featuring 76 stakes, highlighted by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers and the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney as the anchors of two of the biggest racing days in North America.

Thursday’s Opening Day card at Saratoga is highlighted by the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville and the Grade 3, $100,000 Quick Call. Friday’s card is headlined by the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple and Saturday will mark Saratoga’s first Grade 1 of 2019 with the $500,000 Diana for turf fillies and mares on a card that also includes the Grade 3 Sanford for 2-year-olds. Sunday of Opening Weekend will be highlighted by the $100,000 Coronation Cup.

Following Opening Weekend, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.