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Breeders' Cup 2017

Belmont Stakes 2012 Also-Rans Quotes

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo.
Photo: Kevin Creative (Kevin House)

Bob Baffert, trainer of runner-up Paynter (No. 9): “Is there a Triple Crown for seconds? I need a Triple Crown for seconds. I really thought he was going to win today. He was doing so well. I just feel bad for [owner] Mr. [Ahmed] Zayat. The poor guy, he’s been tortured on this Triple Crown. Turning for home, I knew we had the horse to do it and that horse snuck up on him there. He’s still a young horse, still learning how to run. It’s over. When you get beat, you get beat.”


“[Jockey Mike Smith] will probably take a lot of heat for [letting Union Rags up the rail]. It’s a jockey thing. He didn’t want to give up the rail. But you know what, he did a tremendous job. The outside horse had that horse trapped. Johnny [Velazquez], you have to give him credit. He was patient and he just waited. He knew sometimes that happens in these big races.”


“There were no excuses. The first quarter was a little quick, but he had to use him a little bit to get him over because we wanted to get him on the lead and shut down the [No. 2] horse [Unstoppable U] immediately, because I figured he was in there as a rabbit for the other horse [Atigun]. Once he did that, he slowed them down and was in a perfect spot. He did all I could ask for. I had him ready. The crew did a great job, Jimmy Barnes and everybody. We had him ready, and we really thought today we were going to get it done. Unfortunately, we came up short, but we got beat by a nice horse.”


“He’s a really good horse. I really like this horse a lot. I wanted to win one of these races so badly, I’m telling you. My crew deserves it more than anything; they work so hard. And Mr. Zayat, he needed to win one of these. Poor guy. He really deserved it. It’s a shame. It looked like we had it. It looked like it was ours. I really felt like I was going to win the Belmont. It was snatched away again.”


“We were always really high on this horse. It just took him a little bit longer to come around. The horse is really green. He ran a hell of a race.”


“We’ll probably look at the Travers, something at Saratoga, something like that.”


Mike Smith, rider of runner-up Paynter (No. 9): “He ran tremendous. I’m such a perfectionist. [Union Rags] just shouldn’t have gotten through on me. I’d like to see what the outcome would have been if he wouldn’t have. I haven’t had the chance [to talk to Bob Baffert]. I’m sure he doesn’t want to speak to me right now.”


Ahmed Zayat, owner of runner-up Paynter (No. 9): “Heartbreaking defeat. A heartbreaking defeat. He ran his guts out. It’s just his fourth race. What do they call that race, the ‘Test of the Champion?’ To go a mile and a half the way he did, in only his fourth race, I am very lucky to have him. I’m very disappointed we opened the rail for [Union Rags].”


“Not only that, today Justin Phillip [second in the Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens] was winning for fun in crazy numbers and got beat. Sometimes when you run a lot of seconds, they say you tripped, or you got lucky. But my horses are showing up and running big. Somehow we are not able to close the deal.”


Ken McPeek, trainer third-place finisher Atigun (No. 4), sixth-place finisher Unstoppable U (No. 2): “Both horses were in contention turning for home, but the gray horse [Unstoppable U] needed the race. He didn’t have enough bottom under him. Atigun, he ran super. I was real pleased. He’s just maturing; he’s figured it out. He knows when to kick. Mr. Anthony [John Ed Anthony, Shortleaf Stable Inc.] is real happy. He’s a good man, and he’s good for the business.”


Julien Leparoux, jockey aboard third-place finisher Atigun (No. 4): “It was a very good race. There was a clean race for everybody, so that’s very important. For us, as the jockeys, for the people watching the race, it’s great to see a clean race. I hope everybody had fun today. We had a good trip. We stayed inside most of the trip. I could get him out around the turn, I thought I had a good chance to win, he made a nice move. He ran a big race, so that was good.”


Chad Brown, trainer of fourth-place finisher Street Life (No. 1): “He was in the right spot and that is where the horse wanted to be. He made a run, and he was good enough to get up to be fourth, but that was probably was as good as it was going to be today. He’s a horse that needs some pace to run at and I thought that with the blinkers on he would lay a little closer. I think he is more focused with them on, but he is a horse that comes from behind that needs some pace. In a mile and a half race we really didn’t get the pace that we needed to make the big run. We’ll probably keep him at a mile and an eighth to a mile and a quarter.”


Dale Romans, trainer of beaten favorite and seventh-place finisher Dullahan (No. 5): “He said he felt comfortable all around the backside. He felt he was relaxing in the right spot. Turning for home he just got to spinning his wheels. He said the track was pretty deep and cuppy. I don’t know. The race unfolded like it looked on paper to me. Paynter ran a big race, they all ran big, Union Rags ran big; we just didn’t have a finishing kick. This is a good horse, a very good horse. I was sure he was going to run a really big one. It’s disappointing.”


Was it the track?: “I’m not going to make excuses for him. I said all along I thought he could handle the dirt. I think it puts Union Rags in the picture for an Eclipse Award, I would think. There’s a lot of year left, and with I’ll Have Another out, it’s definitely in his own hands.”


Javier Castellano, rider of beaten favorite and seventh-place finisher Dullahan (No. 5): “I don’t think he really liked the track today. He’s the type of horse who likes the turf or Polytrack more. The track was a little deep today and he kind of struggled a little bit. He was in a great position and not too far back. I was right in mid pack which is right where I wanted to be. I was in a full drive and he never got a hold of the track. He never gave me the power and kick like he did at Churchill Downs [in the Kentucky Derby]. He was spinning his wheels.”




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