(Say the Word / Photos by Coady Photography)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Luis Saez (winning rider of Say the Word)

“He just found a good spot (on the backstretch), and he picked up the bridle. I didn’t want to let him go too early, so I tried to relax him. When we came into the straight (on the run to the finish), he was pretty good. He took it away, and he won the race.”

Josh Flores (assistant to winning trainer Phil D’Amato, who is based at Santa Anita in California)

“The only instructions I gave to Luis was just get him to settle early. For a second we were a little concerned when he picked up the bridle on his own. Luis did a great job to get him to settle. Down the lane, the horse really dug in and put up a good fight.”

Corey Lanerie (rider of runner-up Channel Cat)

“We were forwardly placed right behind the favorite (Tide of the Sea). The eventual winner was right on my hip and I just could not hold him off. My horse ran great. Going a mile and a half, the pace might have been a little quicker than I thought we would be going, but he handled it the whole way.”

Jack Sisterson (trainer of Channel Cat)

“He ran a very good race. We were optimistic going in to this race. We backed off since his last race (fifth in Jan. 23 William L. McKnight-G3 at Gulfstream Park). We decided to point to the Elkhorn here at Keeneland – this is home for him. If horses could talk, he was telling us he was going to run a big race. It was good to see him run back to the form he had when he was trained by Todd Pletcher.”

On Channel Cat’s next race

“We might look at something like the Manhattan (G1 at Belmont Park June 5) or the United Nations (G1 at Monmouth Park July 17). I think he is better than a Grade 3 horse.”