Notes & Quotes From This Weekend’s Stakes Events

(Good Magic, after winning the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland this Spring / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

(Good Magic at Keeneland after winning the Blue Grass Stakes this Spring / Photo by Gene McLean)

From Media Teams at Monmouth Park, Saratoga, Del Mar:

Monmouth Park:

G1 Haskell Invitational:

Jose Ortiz, rider of the winner Good Magic:

“When I asked him to run I pushed the button and he was there for me,” said Ortiz. “It was a really easy trip. He made it easy for me.”

“All the credit to Chad for having him ready to come into a huge race like the Haskell off a 10-week layoff,” said Ortiz. “He had him ready, 110 percent ready to go.”

Chad Brown, trainer of the winner:

“I am so proud of this horse,” said Brown. “He put everything together today. He showed his ability, his agility and his class today. It’s not easy to win these races.”

“Winning the Haskell here means a lot,” he said. “To finally win this race is special. I got my start here. I took my trainer’s test here the day after the Breeders’ Cup in 2007. I came back a year later and had horses here. Last year we ran two horses in the (Haskell) and one was the favorite (Timeline) and didn’t win, so it means a lot. You have to come with the right horse and this is a really good horse.”

Luis Saez, rider of runner-up Bravazo:

“My horse ran great. I did everything I could to get him up,” said Luis Saez, Bravazo’s jockey. “I switched to the left to see if I could get more out of him. I just lost to a better horse today.”

Saratoga Race Course:

G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes:

Javier Castellano, rider of the winner Imperial Hint:

“He doesn’t have to hook up with the speed. He doesn’t have to set the pace and I think now he can settle back a little bit and then he finds the last kick,” said Castellano. “[It was] very impressive today the way he performed. I could have opened up by 10, but he is a great horse and I enjoyed the ride.”

Luis Carvajal, Jr., trainer of the winner:

“When he runs, I always expect him to do this well,” said Carvajal. “Winning here at Saratoga, this kind of race, it’s my first Grade 1 for me [and] my owner. It’s just fantastic. I have a good group of people who work with me and I can’t put into words how happy I feel.

“That’s the way I wanted to see him win,” he continued. “For Imperial Hint, it’s great to have a Grade 1. I think I’ll go back to the barns and see how he came back. It’ll probably be [in] New York [his next start], we don’t know yet. I’ll pick a spot. Now, I have to keep him sound and healthy and hopefully I can go back to the Breeders’ Cup.”

G2 Bowling Green Stakes:

Joel Rosario, rider of the dead-heat winner Channel Maker:

“He ran well. I thought for a second we had the horse on the inside [Glorious Empire] but he kept on running,” Rosario said. “He was a little far away from me so I couldn’t tell. I thought we won the race. We when he came back it was so close, very close.”

James Lawrence, trainer of the other dead-heat winner Glorious Empire:

“We weren’t quite sure if he would like soft ground, but that was the plan, to get the lead and try to slow it down,” Lawrence said. “It just worked out. Just worked out. We wanted to get him out there by himself and let him settle, and hopefully, get away with easy fractions. At the top of the lane I didn’t think they would catch him.”

“I owe it to Edgar Prado, the Hall of Fame jockey who rode him last time,” Lawrence said. “He said, ‘Chuck, this horse wants to go further. I really believe this horse will go a mile and a quarter.’ We stretched it out a little further.”


G2 Jim Dandy Stakes:

Steve Asmussen, trainer of the winner Tenfold:

“This is the type of horse we thought we’d have for the Belmont,” Asmussen said. “He was away cleanly today. He’s got a big rhythm. He’s a horse who is capable of being fast. That’s how he’s most effective.”

About drifting out in the stretch:

“I wasn’t happy until they put his number up,” he said. “I watched it from down the stretch a bit because he has lost concentration. Ironically, he has jumped back to his left lead and laid in his previous races. It’s obviously concerning. I’m glad he still won the race. But we all know we have work to do.”

About the Travers Stakes next:

“That’s what we were trying to get to with this race here today,” said Asmussen, who won his third race of the day, all ridden by Santana. ‘I’m glad we ran him over this racetrack, because he does find something new all the time. Ricardo said when he moved away from that horse he got a view of the screen in the infield and he couldn’t get him to quit looking at it.”

Mark Casse, trainer of the runner-up Flameaway:

“He ran hard,” Casse said. “We’ll see [about the Travers]. I’ll talk to [his owner John] Oxley. As of an hour ago, I think Wonder Gadot is going to run in the Travers. We’ll see. I’m fairly certain, if everything stays the same, we’re going to try the Travers with her. She likes a mile and a quarter as good as anybody. We figure it’s one of our only shots, so why not go for it? As far as Flameaway, I’ll have to talk to Mr. Oxley.”


G3 Shuvee:

Channing Hill, rider of the winner Farrell:

“She’s such a good mare; she deserves to win a race like this up here,” said Hill, a former NYRA regular who won his first race at Saratoga since August 18, 2011 in a claiming race aboard My Man Marty. “I can’t say too much bad about her. She can be a little particular, as you can see. Halfway down the lane, I thought we should have opened up by open lengths by the eighth pole, but that’s just her.”

Wayne Catalano, trainer of the winner:

“This track is favored for speed, so when they scratched the 1 [Frost Wise], I looked pretty comfortable there,” said Catalano. “Now, I had to get us to the eighth pole and Channing had to do the rest. Of course, the filly did a great job. We were very happy with everything, obviously.”

Catalano added that Farrell will likely be under consideration for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina at seven furlongs on August 25, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Filly & Mare Sprint.

“We need to win a Grade 1, so we’ll see,” he said. “This came up to our liking, so here we are standing in the winner’s circle.”

Del Mar Race Course:

G1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes:

MIKE SMITH ((Unique Bella, winner) – “She ran OK. This wasn’t her best race, but it was OK. She blew a shoe coming away from there and she was a little uncomfortable (because of it). When she heard that other mare ((La Force) coming, she surged again. This wasn’t her best, but it was good enough.”

DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (La Force, second) – “Kind of like kissing your sister or cousin (running second).  My filly ran the race of her life. She was really trying. But I saw (Unique Bella) jump forward when we got close to her. She (Unique Bella) dug back in.”

KENT DESORMEAUX (Bernina Star, third) – “She gave me all she had. She’s a giver.”

JERRY HOLLENDORFER (Unique Bella, winner) – “We take every race seriously and we took this one seriously. She won, and we’re happy with the way she did it. Until they hit the wire, you’re always concerned if they’ll get there. She’s been off awhile and we wanted to get a win so we could plan her next race, which either will be back east or here. We’re not sure yet.”

Fleet Treat Stakes:

TYLER BAZE (Just Grazed Me, winner) – “She reminds me of (multiple stakes winner and Fleet Treat Stakes record holder) Enola Gray. When I saw her last week, I thought it was her. She (Just Grazed Me) doesn’t get away from there as fast (as Enola Gray) and get into the race as quickly as her, but boy, she can come running. I knew she was good; I just didn’t know she was that good. When I asked her, she cut.”

RAFAEL BEJARANO (Show It N Moe It, second) – “I had a beautiful trip. She ran good. But the winner went by me like she was a quarter-horse.”

COREY NAKATANI (One Fast Broad, third) – “We tried ‘em. The winner was just too tough.”

PHIL D’AMATO  (Just Grazed Me, winner) – “The thing I like about this filly is she’s versatile. As a 2-year-old she had some shin problems. So we took our time with her and took care of that. Since then she’s really come on strong. She’s very well composed, very rateable, has a nice little kick, and I think she’s just going to get better.”

G1 Bing Crosby:

FLAVIEN PRAT (Ransom the Moon, winner) – “I was thinking I was riding this horse up too close. I might have been taking his kick away from him. So today I went a different way. We had a big field and I knew there would be some pace, so I sat back with him. Then he came running. I had a lot of horse.”

KENT DESORMEAUX (Roy H, second) – “He’s been off a while, so he might have needed this one. The boss (trainer Peter Miller) will go over him real well and get it figured out.”

GARY STEVENS (Touching Rainbows, third) – “I caught a flyer out of there and he was in a comfortable spot. Turning for home I thought I might even win it. Unfortunately, the oil light came on about the sixteenth pole.”

PHIL D’AMATO (Ransom the Moon, winner) – “This horse beat this field on the square. Roy H is a great horse, hats off to him. But my horse, since I gave him a freshening awhile back he has kind of become the horse of old. I was more focused on (his other horse, the third-place finisher) Touching Rainbows as the race developed, because he was in (contention) but then I saw Flavien (Prat) tip Ransom the Moon out and saw them steadily pick up speed. By the time they hit the top of the lane I thought Ransom the Moon was going to run them down.”

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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