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Battle of the Exes Quotes

Jockeys Mike Smith and Chantal Sutherland ride in the Battle of the Exes at Del Mar on August 7, 2011

MIKE SMITH (Joker Face) – “I tell you, I’ve been taking heat for the last three or four days from the boys (in the jockeys room). Rightly so. I had to win this one. They would never let me live it down if I didn’t. The key for me today was that my horse was right on his toes. Peter (trainer Peter Eurton) had him ready. He put blinkers on for this and he was ready. I think I won it going away from there fast. I tried to take it wide and get her to drop inside, but she rode it smart. She didn’t fall for my trap. At the half mile (pole), I took a peek back and saw she was coming on, so I let my horse go. And that was it. He just drew away from there. Someone asked if I thought about the possibility of letting the woman win and the answer to that was ‘no.’ There was pressure here; pressure to win. For my gender and all that. But there was fun, too. Look, I grew up doing this (in New Mexico). I knew how to do it and it was fun.”


CHANTAL SUTHERLAND (Parable) – “Even though I didn’t win, it was fun. It was exciting. When we went onto the backside and there was just the two of us, that was really neat. Never had that one before. I felt fairly confident early; thought I was in a good position. But then when we got to the half-mile pole and Mike started pulling away, I said ‘Oh, God, I’m in trouble.’ Mike rode a really good race. All credit to him. To be honest, I’m glad it is over. There was a lot of pressure around this; a ton of media work leading up to it. But it was fun, too. All in all, I enjoyed it. And the cheers from the fans here today were special. The fans were awesome. That made it all worthwhile.” 


PETER EURTON (Joker Face) – “Mike made his own strategy based on the previous races he has ridden. I wasn’t about to tell him how to ride a race. I just told him about the horse. That he likes to run against the bridle and that way you’ll get him interested and he’ll stay focused. But if you just throw his head away he’ll flounder.”

Did he put blinkers on specifically for this race?

“Not specifically.  Actually I was going to put the blinkers on the other day after Bejarano rode him (July 8 at Hollywood Park) and he finished second.  Rafael said (Joker Face) was kind of looking around in the stretch and it may have cost us the race. Which I’m glad it did, because this was a lot more fun.

“I was nervous before the race. I just wanted to see a good race. I didn’t want to see one of those races where a horse might bleed or wind up 10 lengths back. I just wanted everybody to have a good time, and that’s the way it turned out.

“Not as competitive as everybody wanted it to be, but enough for me.”


CARLA GAINES (Parable) – “I just told Chantal to not lose contact. They’d put blinkers on Mike’s horse and I was afraid he was going to show more speed. But you can’t run my horse off his feet (early) or he doesn’t come through. He hasn’t really trained that well on this surface.

“But anyway, it was fun. What can you say? We got beat but we get second money.”


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