Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whitney (G1) Draw Quotes

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Whitney (G1) Draw Quotes


Todd Pletcher, trainer of even-money favorite Palace Malice (No. 5): "I felt like we let a Travers slip away from us there [last year]. He simply didn't break well, spotted the field and came away last, and the fractions weren't real fast. I thought he ran a great race to almost overcome that."


"As a 3-year-old we kept feeling like this is a very talented horse that has the ability to win some of these big races. In the Louisiana Derby he had a nightmarish trip. In the Blue Grass he saw some tracks on the ground just before the finish line and lost his momentum, switched back to his left lead and we felt like he let that race get away from him."


"We tried the blinkers on in the [Kentucky] Derby because [he jumped the tracks in the Blue Grass] and then he flew the first part. Finally in the Belmont he put it all together, and the Jim Dandy was another big race. He made the mistake in the Travers and was simply second-best in the Jockey Club. He missed the break again in the Breeders' Cup Classic, which I think compromised his chances that day, especially with the way the track was playing at Santa Anita."


"The biggest difference this year is he hasn't made those types of mistakes. We were worried about the Met Mile, drawing the one hole and carrying top weight, and he's just gotten more professional."


"When you make statements that you think a horse is good and it took him a little while to prove it, there's some added satisfaction for that."


"He really is [an iron horse]. He's an uncomplicated horse. He's hearty, he stays in the feed tub, you can train him however you want. I think he actually thrives on action. We ran him back pretty quickly in New Orleans after his first start of the year. It was back in three weeks and we were concerned about that, and he actually ran enormous that day. I think he likes the action."


"I think the Belmont was certainly one of the most satisfying wins for us. Mr. [Cot] Campbell and Dogwood [Stable] have supported me for a long time and it's great to have a horse of this caliber for them."


D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of Will Take Charge (No. 1, 4-1): What are your thoughts about drawing post position 1? "I hate to have an upset stomach this early in the morning. Not good. I never really have much luck on the rail in any big race, not really in [a race] of this magnitude."


On Will Take Charge's rigorous schedule: "He's thrived on it. He's done really well. It was last year when we saw a real change in him when he came up here. He got into the feed tub, he trained well. I think he has an affinity for this racetrack. You can say the same thing this year. I think he's put on weight since we last ran him."


"We're the champion until someone dethrones us. We're the champion, we earned it last year, we're not making apologies for anything. I really think it's wonderful that we decide [championships] on the racetrack, not in the press box, not by guys on television. We get them out there, we get them all on the track, we've got a wonderful field here. It's probably going to be the first of many through the fall. John Nerud told me years ago, 'Championships are always decided in the fall, never in the spring.'"


"I never thought that he even trained as well at Churchill as he has trained here. Even at Santa Anita I thought he trained better. So I don't know, maybe I'm reading into it too much, but I have no qualms about the fact that he likes it here. I think he showed an affinity for this racetrack before, so I feel comfortable."


"He's gotten stronger and better. I think that he needs that action. He was in a growth spurt last year. He's matured. You're going to love the look of him when you see him in here. He's quite a horse, and I think he's the best horse in the country right now. We have to go out and prove it; prove it a couple of different times, I'm sure, three, four more times to get where we want to get. Like I said in the press conference, I feel like he's still the champion and I feel very good about the fact that we all get together on the same racetrack."


Al Stall, Jr., trainer of Departing (No. 6, 6-1):  "We brought him as a 3-year-old here. We didn't really consider the Jim Dandy and Travers. He had come out of the Preakness and we wanted to give him some time after that race. We decided to stay on the low road. We went to the West Virginia Derby, which is run on the same day [as the Whitney]. It's almost the same training pattern as he did last year for the West Virginia Derby. He flourished and won that race by almost 10 lengths. He's going to step into a tougher race than the West Virginia Derby. He seems to thrive up here, even though he has never run over the racetrack. We sure love the way he gets over it.


"I say there is no comparison [with Departing to Blame]. There is only one Blame, as far as we are concerned. We are trying to see where Departing places himself. If he doesn't fare well, he's going on the low road again.


"We think he's a Grade 1 type of horse. The Stephen Foster was his second race in 8 ½ months and his first race around two turns [this year]. He went from just an allowance race into that race. I think he acquitted himself quite well. He had the lead between calls in the stretch, and he got a little heavy right there toward the end. It did knock him down, but I think it built him up a little bit. I think he's ready for a big race in his third off the layoff."


Eric Guillot, trainer of Moreno (No. 3, 10-1): Is 1 1/8 miles Moreno's best distance? "No, actually, a mile and a quarter is his best distance. His [performance in the Grade 2, 1 ¼-mile Suburban Handicap] was probably his best race since the [1 ¼-mile] Travers. Everyone told me [with] the configuration of the starting gate [at Belmont] in the 11 hole in the middle of the turn that I had to go 22 3/5 [seconds] to go 23 3/5. I had to make up three lengths from the start, and he put away everything that pressed him. Inner fractions make races, like always, and a mile and a quarter is even better for him, but I think with the shorter stretch and the narrow turns and the short run to the [first] turn [in the Whitney] kind of helps him."


"They're all threats, these are all good horses. [Itsmyluckyday] is a one-trick pony: he's going to get the lead. I'm going to tell you now: If you're in front of me, you went too fast."


Tom Albertrani, trainer of Romansh (No. 7, 10-1): "The way he ran in the Met Mile, it was really encouraging to see him finish like that and thinking another quarter of a mile in the Suburban would really set up perfectly for him. He came up empty that day for whatever reason, I don't know why. He's had a little inconsistency before in his races, and when he shows up on his game he's very tough."


"He's been doing very well since he's been here. Last year, everything was coming up a little quick for him. He was lightly raced coming into the Travers. I think he's really physically done well since last year, and I love the way he's been training up to this race."


Eddie Plesa, trainer of Itsmyluckyday (No. 4, 12-1): "I was talking to my wife [co-owner Laurie Plesa] yesterday and she said, 'What number would you like?' And I said, 'Four, five or six,' so you've accomplished that. I think the speed is on the inside of me, which is probably a good thing. I'm just real pleased with the way the horse is going, and I'm pleased to be able to come up there and see what we have. It's going to be his sternest test, no ifs, ands or buts about that, but he deserves an opportunity and he's training up to it great.


On racing at Saratoga for the first time: "I don't know. I can tell you more after the race. I'm not concerned about it. It is what it is, and you have to do these things. I know it can be tough on some horses, but I'm just hoping that nobody has any excuses and everybody gets to run their race."


Ken McPeek, trainer of Golden Ticket (No. 8, 20-1): "He broke flat-footed and got left, basically [in the Cornhusker over a sloppy track]. I think he probably spotted them five [lengths] leaving the gate, and he gets beaten a length and a half. He probably should have won that day. We all know there is no sure thing. The really interesting thing about him is that he has never met a veterinarian. He's been a horse who has been a really easy keeper. He probably does a little bit better when his races are spaced a little bit farther apart. Of course, for the Travers, he came off a long layoff and shocked the world that day. He likes this racetrack. I probably should have run him here last year, seeing that Alpha pulled it off. So, here we are. We are going to give him another shot over the Saratoga surface.


Any concern about Golden Ticket having hung in the Alysheba?: "No, not necessarily. I think Calvin [Borel] did a great job that day on Moonshine Mullin. He hugged the rail and snuck right up in there. Golden Ticket still ran a great race that day. In this race, $1.5 million compared to $300,000 for the Alysheba: My hat is off to Saratoga and NYRA by making this such a huge event. The purse, right now though, is hard to turn your nose up at it. Even if you run third or fourth, it's not a bad day at the office."


Dale Romans, trainer of Prayer for Relief (No. 2, 20-1): "A million-and-a-half [dollars], Grade 1, it's going to be the toughest field [he's faced]. It's a very prestigious race and that's why it's worth so much later on in a horse's life and their next career if they can win it."

"I feel like this horse fits. He ran well in the Suburban and he runs well everywhere we take him. Last year, the year before, every race he's in he's right there. He's just looking for that little oomph to get over the hump and win a big Grade 1."


"I like the two post better than the one; I'm like Wayne [Lukas], I never want to be down on the rail. It seems like they always seem to break to the inside and get themselves in trouble, so the two post is good for us. This horse is pretty versatile, so it'll be up to the jock. Joel [Rosario] is riding him, and he'll have some decisions to make going into the first turn. I think we'll be just fine."


"I think this is the 10-year anniversary of Roses in May winning the Whitney, which was my first Grade 1. We're creeping up on 30 [Grade 1 races], but I'm not sure exactly. About as many as Wayne has won in one year."

Forward this email

This email was sent to by |  

The New York Racing Association, Inc. | NYRA | Press Office | P.O. Box 90 | Jamaica | NY | 11417