The 2013 Breeders' Cup is in the books capped off by a 60-year-old jockey riding like he's in his 20s. The media relations staff for the Breeders' Cup sends out about a million emails this week, including transcripts of every post-race press conference. It takes a while to sort through everything, but here are some some of the quotes from Saturday's races at Santa Anita.
Gary Stevens post-Classic quotes:
This was a tremendous experience to win this race at my age (50). I never expected to be in this situation. This is the ultimate feeling. It's the icing on the cake of my career.
He was super, super sharp today. My intention in any big race is, I don't care if you're coming from off the pace or you're laying up close, you need a good, clean break. And he left there like a quarter horse today and actually outbroke them. I could have put him on the lead, had him on the lead.
But he's so push‑button. I let him roll away from there for a 1/16 of a mile, and Moreno came up on the inside and Game on Dude on the outside and Fort Larned. We were rolling. I just slid my hands back a little bit, and he shut it down, it's exactly what I wanted him to do. I looked back to see where Will Take Charge was going into the first turn. I didn't want anybody on the outside of him.
He's a big, long striding horse, and he was powerful down the back side. He was really pretty aggressive. Not rank at all, but giving me a feel different than what I had in the Awesome Again. And we rolled into the turn, and I knew that I had Game on Dude anytime I wanted him.
As I was watching the Classic replay I noticed that Stevens never hit Mucho Macho Man with the whip, instead he was just showing it to him all the way down the stretch. Turns out, there was as reason for that.
One thing that I thought I had seen in some of his races is a horse that gives you everything. I don't they don't necessarily want to be hit with the stick sometimes. I tested him again in the Awesome Again, and he didn't like it. You don't know how hard it was today not to go to the whip, but he doesn't like it.
He was giving me everything that he had. Inside 16th pole when I twirled my whip and didn't hit him with it, he surged again. It was like oh, thank you, buddy. You're not going to hit me. So he's a very intelligent horse, and just a cool dude to be around.
I'm pretty sure there are some jockeys that wouldn't have been able to be that restrained coming down the stretch in a $6 million race.
Wise Dan's trainer, Charles Lopresit, on the handling the pressure this year:
Yeah, it's a big relief because I think a lot of people, the scuttlebutt was that they lost some faith in him. I never lost any faith in the horse. I don't think that the weather conditions and the track conditions helped us. I blame myself a little bit for it because he ran such a great race at Woodbine, and I wasn't ‑‑ I didn't breeze this horse in between.
I thought that he got so much out of that race and he was so great that maybe that was the wrong thing to do to breeze him, and I don't know that it got him beat. But I still think that maybe I should have breezed him one time in between. I didn't make that same mistake between that race and this race. I breezed him once, and he had some strong gallops. I knew he was ready.
Joel Rosario on Za Approval's runner-up finish in the Mile:
Had a perfect trip. When he made the lead I thought maybe he was going to get there. I knew somebody was coming and when I heard Wise Dan I said ‘Oh, no!' My horse ran his best. Wise Dan is just too good.
Adian O'Brien on Magician's victory in the Turf:
[V]ery grateful to the lads. It was their idea to come here. Obviously, I was afraid going a mile and a half. But it was their idea to come here and I listened.
So grateful we are to them for letting us run him. He was a very impressive winner of an Irish Classic over from Ireland. He won the Derby Trial very impressively over a mile‑and‑a‑quarter. So he had a little bit of a mishap before Ascot. With the benefit of hindsight, I shouldn't have run him. He had a good break after that. He hasn't run all the time since then because we were waiting on good ground. But he was always a very exciting horse. Listen, Ryan gave him an incredible ride today.
Bob Baffert on Juvenile winner New Year's Day:
Well, I told Martin, don't get distracted. Ride this horse. We know he's a really good horse. He's steady. You know, he's not a speed ball. I said don't get caught up in the track bias. Ride your horse, not the track. If he gets there, he gets there. If not, he's going to get something good out of it. We're looking down the road.
So when he turned for home in that spot back there, he did the best job he could to keep him as clean as possible, but he didn't panic early and he rode a great race. He just bided his time and didn't get caught up in all the speed tactics. So when he turned for home, I knew about 16th pole that this colt, he's shown me, we've been really high on him since Del Mar. I told Gary and Mary, I think we have a good one here. When Garrett Gomez rode him, he said when the switch goes on, the light goes on, he's really going to be a good horse.
So I could see the last couple of works there he was really, really coming around. He's got a good way about him, good head. He's not a speedy, speed‑crazy kind of horse. He showed today what he's made of. It takes a pretty tough animal to ‑‑ especially a young horse to take all of that kickback the way this track is and still come on and win. And really, he wasn't really that tired.
Trainer Mike Puype on Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection and her perfect record on the downhill course:
I think it would be a shame if they didn't name a graded stake after her after this. I mean, she owns a piece of the lawn. She's never been beaten down the hill. She's beaten boys twice. She'll set the Breeders' Cup record for all time on two five‑month layoffs. I doubt that will ever happen again.
So enough said. The mare makes me look good. She's all heart. She's all game. She knows her way. Mike Smith gave her a perfect ride. If any other ride but that, you might not have even won today, because there was a little more speed that showed on paper that didn't show up. You were getting a little pressure on Renee. It was the kind of pace that she could have burst away and got us. I think the ending distance hurt Renee a little bit at the end. If we had to make up any more ground than Mike permitted today, it could have been a different story. I'll give him a lot of credit. He won't take any because he's going to refer to me. That's an absolute top ride again.
She's won on the lead, she's run from second, third, fourth, sixth, eleventh, it doesn't matter. She's won on the dirt, I just don't think you're going to get a horse to come and do those kind of things at this track. It is amazing.
Mike Smith on Mizdirection's trip:
I broke better this time (compared to last year's race). Much more alert. I took advantage of the break and I took the rail right away, which is the best place to be turning right. You get a lot of momentum coming out of that turn going left. Man, she was right there. I was worried I might have been a little too close, but I'm glad I was because the lead horses weren't stopping. Reneesgotzip wouldn't give up.
Jim Rome on what Mizdirection means to him:
Nothing this gal does should surprise me at this point, but I'm still stunned that she did it again. The Mizdirection experience is honestly one of the highlights of my entire life.
Trainer Buff Bradley on selling Filly & Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll:
First, I'll say that we're very lucky to have two great partners, my father and I, happy to have them on board with us for this and share this great experience with them. We all decided that at this time this was the best thing to do, really. We have a lot of ‑‑ we've got a farm full of babies that we have to take care of and keep moving forward. And the cost of keeping a mare that value is pretty high.
So we all decided that that was probably the best thing to do. We knew it was going to be hard for us and it was a hard decision to make, and we didn't do it overnight.
Onwer Ron Paolucci on acquiring Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia:
Actually, Chris Dunn from Jackson Bloodstock founder, I had watched her. I bet on her ‑‑ or not bet on her, I was watching her at Woodbine, and she ran a very good race against the boys. And I had her in my stable notes, and Chris Jackson, the Bloodstock agent called me and said this filly is for sale.
Well, I had already bought one previously from the same guy, and we haggled a little bit on the price which will remain silent to this point. We got it done. The first thing I did was call Jeremiah Englehart. Jeremiah is tremendous with young horses. I mean, I've watched him bring horses up and I just think that he is tremendously good with young horses. He can get one there just as good as anybody that I've seen around. So that's how we came to where we were at.
We only had her in the States for about seven, maybe eight days before the Frizette, and she wasn't cranked up. How can you be cranked up after vanning and ‑‑ I pointed towards this race when I bought her. I know everybody thought I was crazy, but I told Jeremiah we're going to get this filly to the Breeders' Cup. I said you should see the stride on this filly. She covers ground like crazy.