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Wood Memorial Quotes



Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of favored Eskendereya (No. 3):  “It’s amazing. The further he goes, the stronger he gets. He’s a horse that has natural stamina. It would be big to win the Derby. We’ll try to make that happen.”


“We’ve never had a horse we knew could handle the mile and a quarter and we’ve never had one put together a couple of preps like this one. We’ve had some good prep wins, but none as impressive as these two. He goes back to Palm Meadows tomorrow and will stay there for a couple of weeks and hopefully ship to Louisville on the 20th.”


“He ran as well as he did in the Fountain of Youth. The thing that Johnny did today was take pretty good care of him from the eighth pole to the wire. There was more there than what we saw, even as impressive as it was.”


“He’s not at the mercy of anyone’s pace. He sets his own pace. We just wanted him in his rhythm. I thought he settled very well today. In the Fountain of Youth, Johnny thought maybe he could have settled a little more. Today, he couldn’t have been more professional.”


“I said to Mr. Zayat (last summer at Saratoga), this horse literally improves every week. A lot of times they improve to a certain point, and then level off. He keeps doing it.”



John Velazquez, winning jockey aboard favored Eskendereya (No. 3):  “This is the kind of horse where you hold him together and let him go when you want to and he responds the right way.  Today, he was more kind the first part of the race.  He allowed me to get him back off the slow pace, and once I did that I got into the clear on the backstretch and he settled really, really well until [Awesome Act] came to him on the outside on the backstretch.  I gave him his head a little bit then, and he settled.  Once we got to three-eighths pole he got on the bridle pretty strong and when I gave him his head he just went up and up and up from the horses.  He was just galloping.  It was a good feeling.”  


Nick Zito, trainer of second-place finisher Jackson Bend (No. 5): “These guys have to run against Muhammad Ali (referring to Eskendereya). That’s Smokin’ Joe Frazier (referring to Jackson Bend). He won’t give up. Obviously, Eskendereya just proved himself as a monster. For Jackson Bend, you cannot give him enough credit. I am very proud of him. I am very happy. We’re going to take him to Kentucky and see what happens. Kentucky is a place for a horse to get good. No one can say that this horse doesn’t belong there. Nobody. One thing we do know – Eskendereya is in a class by himself.”


Calvin Borel, rider aboard second-place finisher Jackson Bend (No. 5): “I thought he ran a super race. Jackson Bend does not want to give up. He keeps trying. That’s the kind of horse that you want in the big races. I thought we had a chance to win it, but we just got outrun. I cannot take anything away from the winner. So many things can happen in the Derby. Anything can happen with five or six horses. When you have 20 horses in a race, a lot of things can happen. When you have a 20-horse field, you cannot get everything your own way.”


Jeremy Noseda, trainer of third-place finisher Awesome Act (No. 2): “My horse was not suited by the pace.  It was a great performance by the winner, but for my horse the pace was wrong.  He lost a shoe coming out of the gate, which didn’t help.  We’ll move on to Kentucky and go from there.”


Julien Leparoux, rider aboard third-place finisher Awesome Act (No. 2): “There was no pace.  He got a little rank.  I think he lost a shoe coming out of the gate.  I think we still have a good chance in Kentucky – with more pace, he can relax better.”


Derek Ryan, trainer of fourth-place finisher Schoolyard Dreams (No. 4): He ran all right. The winner was much the best. He hesitated to go through the gap; that's what Ramon said, which might have cost him second.”


Eric Fein, owner of fourth-place finisher Schoolyard Dreams (No. 4): He didn't run as well as I thought he would. It cost him second. The winner was much the best. This horse is in the top tier of horses. I'm not going to the Kentucky Derby with him. I don't think he has enough money, but I don't think we would anyway. Maybe the Preakness?”


Joe Delozier, owner of fifth-place finisher Carnivore (No. 6): We didn't get beat that far for second. This horse has heart, tons of ability and stamina. We'll look for something a little lighter and then maybe you'll see us again.”


Justin Shepherd, rider aboard fifth-place finisher Carnivore (No. 6): "He's a little green. He's definitely got the talent. He can run with those horses; he just needs a little more practice.”


Bill Badgett, trainer of sixth-place finisher Most Happy Fella (No. 1): “We’ll be heading to the New York-bred Derbies next.”


Anna Rose Napravnik, rider of sixth-place finisher Most Happy Fella (No. 1): “We got him out to the lead and I think his best race is on the lead.  When they were coming to us, I know they had a lot more horse than I did, but he ran with them a little bit further than I thought he might and he tried really hard.”    

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