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BELMONT THEY SAID IT

JUNE 11, 2011

"It was unbelievable. I saw it happening. It was happening in slow motion. Everybody was doing what they were supposed to do, the way they had been told to do it, the way we envisioned it happening. It was playing out the way we had discussed it. I think that, in itself, was unbelievable and I just remember there was a lot of screaming going on. I'm still shaking. It was amazing, because we really were the underdog and I couldn't have dreamt it any better, but here we are."

—Lori Hall, owner of Belmont S. (G1) winner RULER ON ICE (Roman Ruler) with her husband, George, describing Saturday's Test of the Champion

"When we crossed the finish line, I think I was stunned a little bit. I don't know exactly what I was thinking. It was wonderful."

George Hall on his reaction to winning the Belmont

"No better place for us to win a big race. My brother and I used to start coming to Belmont and Aqueduct when we were kids, when were nine and five. Our grandfather used to take us almost once a week. Right after the race my brother gave me a hug. He said 'I had flashbacks to when we used to come with Grandpa.' Winning the Belmont is just as special."

George Hall

"He liked Monmouth Park. I have a plain barn at Monmouth Park that holds 20 horses. He didn't like to be in our main barn. The Belmont winner is in our "B Barn" right now because we found out what he liked, he liked to be off the beaten path, he liked where he was at. It made him happy. You try and have a happy horse. This horse has antics, even going back to when he was being broke at Barry Eisaman's farm in Ocala (Florida). Barry called me up. He said everything is great, everything's going fine "but". You always have the "but." He says, 'This one horse is a little nuts, I think that we need to geld him or else we're going to have trouble or he's going to hurt somebody because that's how nutty he can be.'"

trainer Kelly Breen on why he only shipped Ruler on Ice in for the Belmont the morning of the race

"He honestly doesn't ship well. He pulls his antics. We're slowly getting used to what he likes. He has his own van. You know, when he came over here, the attendant held him the whole way, which you don't usually do for a horse shipping 60 miles away. It's like trying to take baby steps with this horse. We're just understanding what he wants or what he needs and we're just pacifying him. I think the day he went down to Maryland our van driver said that he had to go get a couple of the bars fixed from him kicking the back walls of the van. Today, you know we turned him a little more sideways. Whatever we've got to do to try to settle him down. Had an attendant holding with him, petting him, what we needed to do to get him here."

Breen describing Ruler on Ice's shipping antics

"It looks like he was pinched by the horses on either side. The horse almost fell down. Johnny couldn't believe the horse stayed up. He lost his iron. It took him until halfway around the turn to get his foot back in the iron. It's really disappointing. It's disappointing not to give the horse a chance to run his race. I thought down the backside we didn't have any shot at all, and then he started to make that incredible move. But it was asking too much too late."

trainer Graham Motion after ANIMAL KINGDOM (Leroidesanimaux [Brz]) finished sixth in the Belmont; the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner clipped heels at the start of the race, throwing his rider nearly out of the saddle

"It was unbelievable. They came over on me and clipped heels and I almost came off. I had a horrible trip. I was asking him for run way too much to be where I was from the half-mile pole to the quarter-pole. At that point, I was just hoping to get a piece of it and that's why I rode him that way after the start. No way he was going to make up that much ground. He's still a great horse."

jockey John Velazquez on Animal Kingdom's misfortunes in the Belmont

"He had it his way. We had it the way we wanted. He just didn't hang on. It's still wide open for champion three-year-old. He did everything he was supposed to do and didn't hang on. We're so proud of the way he performed. I was down, but I would never get too down running in this level of race."

trainer Dale Romans after Preakness S. (G1) winner SHACKLEFORD (Forestry) faded to fifth as the Belmont pacesetter

"I have no excuse. He was doing it easy. He broke out of the gate the way he usually does and he was doing it easy; he gave me a good effort. My horse is a fighter. He tried not to let anyone pass him but he got a little tired. He handled the off track fine, no problem. He is a good horse."

—jockey Jesus Castanon, who piloted Shackleford

"He ran very well. It looked like he had it at the eighth-pole. I thought he was going to keep coming with that run. Joel thought he was kind of looking around once he got to the lead, and that maybe he was kind of idling a little bit, but he ran well."

—trainer Tom Albertrani following BRILLIANT SPEED's (Dynaformer) third-place run in the Belmont S. (G1)

"I had a good trip. He ran well. Turning for home he made the lead and he looked around a little bit. I think he ran a good race today. The distance is perfect for him and he did much better than in the Derby."

jockey Joel Rosario on his ride aboard Brilliant Speed

"He ran a gutty race. He was kind of green with the kickback of the mud. He looked like he was swimming there a little and ended up fourth. He ran another solid race without winning."

conditioner Steve Asmussen speaking of NEHRO (Mineshaft) finishing fourth

"Everything was new to us. Considering with the way the track was playing, I was able to get over to the inside and tuck in. He never really settled like I wanted him to do. He was climbing from being hit in the face with the mud. He's a young horse who has done a lot to this point. I know it is a little disappointing. I'm looking forward where he can put it all together one day."

—jockey Corey Nakatani describing Nehro's Belmont run


 

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