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Whitney Handicap Quotes

WHITNEY (G1) QUOTES

 

Al Stall, Jr., winning trainer of Blame (No. 2): “I’m thrilled to death for everyone involved. The fact we were within four or five lengths from the three-eighths pole to the wire – he’s pretty tough. He’s got a great turn of foot. If he’s within striking distance of a horse, he usually gets there. That’s what I’ve learned about him in the last six months or so.

 

“The first half in :48 was a little nerve-wracking, but it kept us close. If he [Quality Road] goes in :46 and going just as easily, we’re 15 lengths out of it.”

 

On Blame’s next start: “There will be one race between this and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It might be the Woodward [September 4, Saratoga], the Jockey Club Gold Cup [October 2, Belmont Park] or the Hawthorne Gold Cup. The breeders want to do the New York stuff, which I do too.”

 

Garrett Gomez, winning jockey aboard Blame (No. 2): “We were super confident. It’s just one of those things you don’t want to say too much so you can let the horse do the talking. He’s been trained magnificently for this race and every other race I’ve ridden him in. He’s a magnificent older horse and I can’t wait until we go farther. If you watched me ride him, I never hit him. I actually moved up at about the three-eighths pole and I felt pretty confident then. I was just biding my time until we turned for home. I just didn’t want to sit too long because he’s got a long consistent run and just keeps coming. I just wanted to make sure that when we turned for home I did have him in a good place. He kept staying on and in that last eighth of a mile, when I finally got right to [Quality Road], I said ‘I got him’.”

 

Todd Pletcher, trainer of favored runner-up Quality Road (No. 3): “We had a comfortable trip, set reasonable fractions, and just got run down at the wire. He [Blame] ran a big race.”

 

John Velazquez, rider of favored runner-up Quality Road (No. 3): “I tried to put him into the bridle, but he was just going through the motions, which is strange for him. I was hoping there’d be nobody there, so I got to drifting. I was trying to make it more difficult for the horse on the outside.”

 

Derek Ryan, trainer of third-place finisher Musket Man (No. 6): “This was a tough finish. It looked like Quality Road and Haynesfield would go out there, and we would be sitting third. For some reason, I don't know why, the other speed didn't go. Rajiv [Maragh, jockey] said, 'They were crawling and I couldn't let them go.' Rajiv rode a great race. He did the right thing. He didn't want the speed to go alone on the lead. We were only two lengths behind at the end. He's an honest horse and tries hard every time.”

 

Rajiv Maragh, rider of third-place finisher Musket Man (No. 6): “The pace was slower than anticipated, so I put my horse closer to the pace because I wanted to be in a winning position turning for home. I thought I was in the right spot if I was going to win the race, and my horse tried hard all the way today, he just couldn’t get there.”

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