Notes & Quotes From the Wacky World of Thoroughbred Racing

(Cover Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs / Divine Queen winning the Dogwood Stakes)

Notes & Quotes From Around the Wacky World of Thoroughbred Racing:

Parx Race Track:

G1 Cotillion Stakes:

Mike Smith, rider of Midnight Bisou, who was moved up to the win:

“I was going straight as an arrow to stay in my path,” Smith said. “But when (Momomoy Girl) chose to come over and take it from me, I choose the outer route. There probably would not have been a DQ if (Geroux) would have stayed straight at that point, but he came out again and we wound up in the eight or nine path. I never got a straight run and we got beat only a neck. You got to do what you got to do.”

Florent Geroux, rider of Monomoy Girl, who was disqualified by the stewards and placed second:

“It was close,” he said. (Monomoy Girl) wandered around when she made the lead.”

When asked if he thought it was the right call, he shrugged.

“I am not the steward,” he said. “This was a million dollar race. A grade I race. I thought our filly was the best today.”

Scott Blasi, Assistant Trainer to Steve Asmussen and Midnight Bisou:

“We thought she came in here really fresh and on her game,” said Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s assistant. “It’s tough to win like this, lose like that. We’ve all been there. That being said, she deserved to win the race.”

It would have been nice to have a comment from the stewards, who made the call, but in Pennsylvania, they do not comment to the press regarding disqualifications. Sad.

G1 Pennsylvania Derby:

Mike Smith, rider of the winner McKinzie:

“If anything can be taken away from a sting of a Triple Crown horse retiring, it’s a horse like this,” Smith said. “He is an incredible horse. Really, really proud of him. Bob [trainer Bob Baffert] had him ready. To come off the bench at a mile and an eighth, Bob is just a tremendous trainer. I felt very confident that I could be aggressive early and move a little early.”

“He is still learning as well,” said Smith. “Although he has raced, he had a lot of time off. He got to looking around, looking at the tracks and gawking around and I had a really good hold of him today and I didn’t really want to bother anyone. The last time I rode him we got disqualified [San Felipe Stakes] of course. I picked his head up, and when I asked him to finish he really got underneath me and really galloped out really well.”

Bob Baffert, trainer of the winner:

“He had been training really well,” Baffert said. “I always felt like he was the best 3-year-old and then he got hurt and Justify picked it up. He has come back with the time off and has responded really well. It was good to see him get back in the game. It was a pretty tall order to go 1 1/8 miles off that kind of layoff. But you can do it with good horses. I thought we had him pretty tight. I thought we had him pretty tight I felt like he was the best horse. If you had asked me on January 1. I would have told you we were going to win the Kentucky Derby with that horse.”

G3 Gallant Bob Stakes:

Jason Servis, trainer of the winner Firenze Fire:

The horse ran super. He just ran smooth,” Servis said. “Irad saved all the ground all the way around. We may go to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint now, what can I say. I mean he’s been great. Ron [owner/breeder Ron Lombardi] had the mare sitting, and didn’t want to breed her, then he ended up breeding her. He’s a special horse.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr., rider of the winner:

“He (Whereshetoldmetogo, runner-up) tried to bite me,” Ortiz Jr. said. “Jeremy [Jockey Jeremy Rose] told me he tried to bite me but nothing happened. My horse broke so good oout of the gate and he just pulled me. I wanted to stay close and when I asked him he just went.”

(Divine Queen wins the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

Churchill Downs

Dogwood Stakes:

Buff Bradley, trainer of Divine Queen, who won the Stakes event at odds of over 50-1:

“This one was for The Player (a superstar colt for the barn and the same ownership group, who was severely injured at the Fair Grounds this past winter),” said Bradley, who trains both horses. “It’s been such an emotional week for us and to be able to bring The Player home yesterday and win this afternoon means a lot.”

Calvin Borel, rider of the winner:

“I’m so happy for Carl (Hurst, co-breeder and owner) and Buff,” Borel said. “This filly has been training so well and she put things all together in this race. The horse in front (Jean Elizabeth) was getting out a bit so it left the rail open and we got a great trip.”

Paul McGee, trainer of Go Google Yourself, the runner-up:

“She ran really well. We’re proud of her effort and I think she’ll move forward off of this.”

James Graham, jockey of Jean Elizabeth, the third place finisher:

“This filly is fast. She was doing everything on her own up the backstretch. I just grabbed a hold of her and she moved easily. I’m proud of her race. She tried hard the entire time.”


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

More From The Pressbox Staff