Whitney Post Position Draw Quotes


Todd Pletcher, trainer of Quality Road (No. 3): “That [post] is perfect. I wouldn’t think post position is important for anyone.


“I think Quality Road certainly belongs in any conversation about the best horse in training. I think if you look at his Donn Handicap, for example, that was just an unbelievable race, and then to come back with a similar performance in the Met Mile – we believe he is the best horse in training.


“Blame is on a hot streak and he’s a very good horse, you have the Derby winner in there – we’re concerned about everyone.”


John Velazquez, jockey of Quality Road (No. 3): “In the case of my horse, I think he’s going to be fairly close to the lead. If he won’t be on the lead, he’ll be laying second, so there’s not much choice for me. They’re going to have to run hard to go by him with that long stride that he has, and not only that long stride, but he can keep that pace all the way around.


“That’s the only thing that concerns me – if the track comes up wet, he doesn’t run his best race. He runs well, but he doesn’t run his best race. I think he runs really well on the fast track, I think he’s just a little intimidated by the wet, the way it was last year on Travers Day. Other than that, I think he’s done everything very well. If we have the same horse that ran the last two races, he’ll be really tough.”


Albert Stall, Jr., trainer of Blame (No. 2): “He can handle anything. Nothing bothers that horse. We’re ready for the task. This is his third race this year. We’re excited to be here and run in the Whitney. We are ready to take on all comers. I’m looking forward to it. If he [Quality Road] goes :45 flat [for a half mile], I’ll be smiling; Garrett will be smiling. We’ll be way off him, that’s for sure.


“Quite possibly [the Woodward could be in the future]. We’ve changed our plans a little bit because we won a Grade 1, so we kind of got that in our pocket. We’ll try to do one more race after the Whitney, provided he runs a good race and comes out of it fine. Whether it is the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont or the Woodward, we’ll just kind of ride that out.


“It looks like two horses will go out there. I was happy to see Quality Road draw inside Haynesfield. I’m sure Ramon and Johnny will play a little bit of cat and mouse, and back it up a little bit. Garrett will have to use his own judgment to decide what he wants to do from there.”


Garrett Gomez, rider of Blame (No. 2): “It will be real tactical. Johnny’s horse [Quality Road] is a little more tactical, and it’s going to dictate what happens with him early. My horse has his own style of running. We don’t really want to take him out of his game plan. Hopefully, he performs well.

“As long as there’s somebody to dictate that there is an honest pace, it will help a horse that comes off the pace. Usually, you do have an honest pace in a bigger field. In this [the Whitney], everybody knows where everybody’s at; therefore, it becomes a rider’s race. With a rider’s race, usually, the horses have a little more tactical speed and plays a little bit more in their hands.”


Derek Ryan, trainer of Musket Man (No. 6): “Ramon is committed to Haynesfield, so we named Rajiv Maragh, who we’ve won a lot of races with.


“The horse is doing very well and came out of his work in good shape. He’s some bad racing luck this year, so maybe he can turn it around.”


D. Wayne Lukas, Hall of Fame trainer of Mine That Bird (No. 1): “He’s changed a lot since the Derby last year. I watched him with interest last year – Leonard Blach, the co-owner, is a good friend of mine, so I was interested in the horse even though I wasn’t training him. He’s a different horse [now]; he looks different. Most people, I think, who have seen him on the racetrack will agree. He’s put on weight and filled out and he’s probably moving a little freer. We’re optimistic that maybe we can get him back to that Derby form.


“[Dr. Blach] was a veterinarian at Ruidoso, New Mexico and Raton and the Texas circuit, so we go back a long way and that probably led a little bit to my getting the horse. [His most recent race on the turf] was a bad experiment. I would like to forget that one – can we draw a line through that one? To take on these horses on the board up here, coming off a long layoff and so forth, with the form we had and so forth is a big task. [He won’t be coming from as far back] he’s been in the past, I don’t think. I think we’ve got him a little sharper. We don’t have any grandiose ideas that we can run down Blame or Quality Road or some of these others – Musket Man – from left field. We’re going to have to stay a little bit closer. We’ve been training a little bit different and he’s showing a little bit more turn of foot, so we won’t be as far back hopefully.


“This is not a hard race to win, I won it with a filly, but it won’t be so easy [this time].”


Calvin Borel, rider of Mine That Bird (No. 1): I love him being on the rail.  It’s the shortest way around the track and he likes to run on the fence.  He’ll sit back, but he’s a little sharper, so he probably won’t be as far back as usual.”


Toby Sheets, assistant to Steve Asmussen, trainer of Haynesfield (No. 4): “I think that’s a nice draw. We’re very pleased with the draw.”


Ramon Dominguez, rider of Haynesfield (No. 4): “That seems like a good post position.  He is a versatile horse with good tactical speed, and can be where he needs. We’ll be able to see what happens early on and go from there.” 


Eduardo Caramori, trainer of Jardim (No. 5): “Jardim is Portuguese for ‘garden.’ If you see the races in Dubai, he faced some big names, but didn’t run well. He came back here, ran a short race, he was a little rank. It was a bad race; we expected more. Then he ran in a two-turn race and ran better.


“Number-wise he’s totally overmatched, but there aren’t many races for him to run in and we knew it was going to be a short field. This is the graveyard of favorites, and we’re not a favorite.”



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