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141st Travers Stakes Quotes

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Jimmy Jerkens, winning trainer of Afleet Express (No. 7): “He broke with the field and they went on pretty well ahead of him. He was tucked in pretty good behind him, and he was able to get through at a crucial time. I thought around the turn he was going to give himself a little breather, but he got to a certain spot and didn’t drop back any. Javier wasn’t moving his arms on him like he was in the Jim Dandy, and I felt we had a hell of a shot after that.

 

“This is probably the highlight [of my career], I’d have to say. At Saratoga it seems to be extra special. He probably learned something from his last race [the Jim Dandy].”

 

“When that horse crept up on him, I thought I saw him straighten out a little bit and give it another go. Win or lose, I was so happy with the way he ran.”

 

“Javier and I talked a little bit about it earlier during the ninth race. He said it all depended on what the pace was like. I told him the horse was doing well and would do whatever he wanted him to do. Just try to get as good a trip as he could, that’s all.”

 

Javier Castellano, winning jockey aboard Afleet Express (No. 7): “Turning for home I was very carefully watching the horse on the lead and we tried to squeeze through a little hole. I’m very, very proud of my horse for going through the hole between two horses. I thought I’d win the race by the eighth pole, but he hung a little bit in the last part of the race, and I give credit to the other horse for finishing very strong. I’m very lucky to get the bob and win the race. That photo could have gone either way, and I’m very lucky it went my way.

 

“I had a beautiful trip. I was very aware of the speed holding earlier in the card. My horse comes from behind. I wanted to get into position on the first turn, and hopefully, there would be a speed duel and the horses would come back to me. He gave me a couple of runs. Those photo finishes could go either way, and I got lucky. My lucky number is seven. As soon as we passed the wire, [Jose Lezcano, aboard Fly Down] and I looked at each other. We were laughing, but our faces were kind of worried. I said, ‘What do you think?’ I guess I wanted to say, like Tom Durkin, “Too close to call.’”

 

Nick Zito, trainer of runner-up Fly Down (No. 8), seventh-place finisher Miner's Reserve (No. 1), and eighth-place finisher Ice Box (No. 6): “That’s another second. They’re all tough. I can’t explain it. Sometimes, like I say, you’ve got to be content. You’ve got to be grateful, but it’s tough. The Travers would have been great to win. I would have loved walking around with my owners and my staff. It would have been super. I’m glad my horse ran his race. He ran a great race.

 

“I didn’t know (if he won). It was tough. When I saw the replay I thought the other horse had the bob. When they hit the wire, I was just hoping. But I’ve watched enough photos. It was really, really tough. It was unbelievable.

 

“This could have made everything. It’s just the way the meet’s been going for myself, and Jose [Lezcano, jockey]. You’ve got to be grateful to have a horse run like this. It’s sad that we didn’t get in the winner’s circle, but I salute Jimmy Jerkens and his connections. That’s the way it goes. We had a shot at it, obviously. A real good shot. That’s got to be one of the closest Travers ever.

 

Julien [Leparoux, jockey aboard Ice Box] said he just didn’t fire. We may have to try something different. I don’t know. He’s just not the same horse since the Triple Crown. We’ll figure it out.

 

[Miner’s Reserve], he tried. You knew he was going to try.”

 

Dale Romans, trainer of third-place finisher First Dude (No. 4): “He’s an honest horse. He runs his race every time. Eventually he’s going to run a breakthrough race and beat these guys.”

 

Ramon Dominguez, rider aboard third-place finisher First Dude (No. 4): “I wasn’t in any hurry [at the start] and I just let [Miner’s Reserve] go in front of me. It always takes him awhile to get going, so he doesn’t have the turn of foot you really want, but he does continue to fight on. He fought hard for third and that’s always the case.”

 

Robert Reid, trainer of fourth-place finisher Afleet Again (No. 10): “He ran OK It looked like a speed-favoring track all day. He looked like the best of the closers.”

 

Cornelio Velasquez, rider of fourth-place finisher Afleet Again (No. 10): “My horse ran well and he finished well, but he was a little green. In that big field, he didn't want to go inside.”

 

Tony Dutrow, trainer of fifth-place finisher A Little Warm (No. 5): “We came up a little short, but he's been a fantastic horse for us, but not today. Johnny [Velazquez, jockey] acted like he didn't have the same horse to finish with today.”

 

John Velazquez, rider of fifth-place finisher A Little Warm (No. 5): “We had a decent trip. We got swung out a little bit in the first turn. I sat quietly with him and kind of left him where he was comfortable. We got to the half-mile pole, got a little bit closer to the leaders there, and by the three-eighths pole I was already kind of asking my horse to stay where I was, so I knew I was going to be in trouble. Normally he's taking me to that point of the race. He just didn't have it today.”

 

John Kimmel, trainer of sixth-place finisher Friend Or Foe (No. 9): “He had kind of a hard run into the first turn. It looked like he lost a lot of ground there, and in a race like this you just can’t do that.”

 

David Cohen, rider aboard seventh-place finisher Miner’s Reserve (No. 1): “Based on what was in the race to set up the pace, I thought we got away to a relatively easy lead. We had it our way with not too much pressure. The horse gave a run coming down the lane. He ran his race.”

 

Julien Leparoux, rider aboard eighth-place finisher Ice Box (No. 6): “I had a good trip, we were last, but today he didn’t fire. I was in the back and he was very relaxed, but he just had no punch for the finish.”

 

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of ninth-place finisher Trappe Shot (No. 2): “It wasn’t the distance. He had no real excuse. He just did not fire today.”

 

Alan Garcia, rider aboard ninth-place finisher Trappe Shot (No. 2): “We had a good trip. The best horse won the race. I was sitting perfect to make the right move. When I asked him turning for home he was keeping the same pace.”

 

Todd Pletcher, trainer of 10th-place finisher Super Saver (No. 11): “We were able to get over and get decent position at the break. We were tracking in a good, fast spot, but just came up empty.”

 

Calvin Borel, rider aboard 10th-place finisher Super Saver (No. 11): “I had a good trip and there are no excuses for that trip. I got over fine and they weren’t going that fast. Between the three-eighths pole and the quarter pole I tested him, and I had no pony. He just wasn’t there. I don’t know if he bled or what. I don’t know. My confidence was high going in, but then I had nothing. I don’t understand that, unless he bled.”

 

Leon Blusiewicz, trainer of last-place finisher Admiral Alex (No. 3): “We just got eliminated at the start. They bumped him all around and then he got on the bit too much and Kent couldn’t handle him. But I guess that’s what happens in horse racing. Its only one race, and he lost but he’ll come back. Also, he was all worked up in the paddock and he didn’t do that before. He’s a young horse so we’ll give him another chance. So really the major factor could have been his lack of experience.”

 

Kent Desormeaux, rider aboard last-place finisher Admiral Alex (No. 3): “The first 200 yards was tough for him. He got bounced around a lot. I put him in the bridle and he was aggressive in the first quarter. That had to take a lot out of him.”

 

 

 


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