BREEDERS' CUP THEY SAID IT
OCTOBER 24, 2008
"Having a horse like Zenyatta is obviously very special. Jerry loves the Yankees, so I think of Mario Rivera, right, the stopper. So Zenyatta's the ultimate stopper. Whatever's going on, you can always look to her, and something fantastic's going to happen. So she's just like the ray of sunshine in whatever cloudiness may come our way."
trainer John Shirreffs on Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) queen ZENYATTA (Street Cry [Ire])
"No, we sort of saved it all for seeing that she gets back OK, then we'll talk about it, I guess. I don't really, at this day, see any other -- I mean, she's just too good not to run again. But we have to talk about all that -- obviously, she deserves a rest, and then we go from there."
Jerry Moss, who owns Zenyatta with his wife, Ann, when asked if their charge will race in 2009
"I don't know. All records get broken some time. So I don't think records are really the big thing about horse racing. Horse racing is about performance. And we saw a great performance today."
Shirreffs on whether he'll go for a record-tying 17 straight wins with Zenyatta
"You know, everybody probably has a Bob Baffert story, but this is my favorite, right? So here comes Bob over as arrogant as he possibly can be with his (measuring) stick. I know that filly isn't bigger than Midnight Lute, I'm the myth-buster. So she's out on the wash rack, oh, what the hell, Bob. You know, Bob goes over and measured her, and she's a little over 17 hands, and he goes, 'Oh, she's bigger than Midnight Lute.' So had to turn around, walked back to his barn, and he didn't bust any myths."
Shirreffs explaining how fellow trainer Bob Baffert sized up Zenyatta
"You know, she started acting up a little bit in the gate today, so I got a little concerned. The cameras were clicking off and they were agitating her. So the starter got them to stop. Once they stopped, she slowed right down. She got away like she always does, slow. But one of the best she's ever done, only for the fact she got away in good order. She broke in the right lead. Sometimes she's so big, it takes a little bit to get her going. Whereas today, she was relaxed. Around the first turn, I knew she was there for me. I was pretty excited from that moment on, to tell you the truth. I knew she was going to run big today."
—jockey Mike Smith on his ride aboard Zenyatta
"Starts with a Z. I really believe she deserves it. If (Curlin) gets beat (Saturday), she deserves Horse of the Year, and I'm being honest. I really felt, these mares today, I felt this Ladies' Classic was probably one of the toughest distaffs I've ever seen. In any ride, these mares could have run against a colt, at least four of them could have. They could all run tomorrow. And yet she runs by them."
—Smith when asked whether he thought Zenyatta deserved Horse of the Year honors if Curlin (Smart Strike) is defeated in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1)
"I found a new word for her, it's 'Bottomless.' I seem to never get close to the bottom. Every time I ask her, there is something there. Today, I thought to myself, I'm going to really let her run today. And I went to let her do it, and I said why. There was no use. I hand rode her on in. She was just pricking her ears, she was just letting me have fun. She didn't care that I was on her."
—Smith continuing his praise of Zenyatta
"I hope they keep her around. That may be selfish on my part, but it's such a joy to be around her. It's amazing to say, but she's just now figuring it out. She really is. Before she'd get nervous and hot. She wasn't sure about everything. Nowadays, she's showing off every time people were cheering. Three months ago, four months ago, she would have jumped through her skin. Today, when everybody was cheering, she started dancing, man. She did her little dance. She's just figuring the whole thing out. She really is."
—Smith on whether Zenyatta should run as a five-year-old
"Man, they love that mare, and she loves them. I've never seen anything like it. I come around and she's like, 'Get away.' Her groom comes around, and she loves all over him. She licks him like a dog, it's amazing. That's a connection."
—Smith on Zenyatta's connection with her groom and exercise rider
"Well, besides today, the Apple Blossom (G1). That's when I learned to have confidence in her. I'd never ridden her. David Flores rode her in her first races. He did a tremendous job. He taught her this. He let her gallop back there last and move for an eighth of a mile. When I rode in the Apple Blossom, I went down the back side, and Ginger Punch and, I forget the name of the other mare in front of me, and I thought, 'Man, you left her way too much to do. Do something.' And I went and nudged on her like twice. Then I went to thinking, 'Oh, man, now you're going to hit the front too soon. What did you do that for?' That was the explosive move she had. Ever since then I knew to be very, very careful."
—Smith when asked what he thought was Zenyatta's best race
"I was just second best today. I was real proud of the way she ran. I felt the winner moving on the outside. I knew she was going to be circling horses. I just tried to save ground and give my horse her best shot, but she was just second best."
jockey Ramon Dominguez on Ladies' Classic second COCOA BEACH (Chi) (Doneraile Court)
"I had the perfect trip -- right where I wanted to be. I was following horses all the way around and happy with my spot. At the quarter-pole, I wanted to get the jump and I did. But then I saw the big filly go by. She just went. She was much the best today. My filly ran great, but we got beat."
jockey Javier Castellano on his ride aboard MUSIC NOTE (A.P. Indy), who ran third in the Ladies' Classic as the only sophomore in the field
"We're happy with how they ran. That is a star filly they ran behind. It's hard to beat a horse like that. They both ran very well."
trainer Saeed bin Suroor expressing satisfaction with how his Godolphin charges, Cocoa Beach and Music Note, ran in the Breeders' Cup
"I think my horse might have been a little over the top. She ran her race at Keeneland (in the Spinster S. [G1]), but she didn't run it today. The winner is pretty good and was very impressive today."
trainer Shug McGaughey on CARRIAGE TRAIL's (Giant's Causeway) fourth-place effort in the Ladies' Classic
"She is just not quite the same on (an artificial surface). It is just a shame really, because she showed her brilliance for me earlier in the year and I was really happy with what I felt. When I worked her the other day, I told (trainer Jerry Hollendorfer) that she is probably not the same on this (surface) as she is on the other stuff. She is just not as aggressive and kind of waits on you to tell her what to do. I think she just doesn't like it too much."
jockey Garrett Gomez on HYSTERICALADY (Distorted Humor) not taking to the Pro-Ride when fifth in the Ladies' Classic
"She didn't like the track at all. She, herself, feels fine. There's nothing wrong with her. But she must have changed leads four or five times down the backstretch. She had her head cocked like she wanted to go to the outside and was just very uncomfortable. It seemed like she was jumping. She didn't show me anything."
jockey Rafael Bejarano on GINGER PUNCH (Awesome Again), who ran sixth as the defending champion of the renamed Distaff
"I was stuck down on the inside and I had to wait and wait and wait. With 14 horses, they all get packed down inside and I just had to wait. I finally got to swing out on the turn and she gave me her run."
jockey Alonso Quinonez on three-time Grade 1 heroine INTANGAROO (Orientate), who was sixth in the F&M Sprint
"Certainly it's incredibly meaningful to me. I'd like to think that a good trainer is a good trainer regardless of what particular discipline. But I hadn't won a really major championship-type race like this before. We were second with Storm Cat 24 years ago today, by a nose, and With Anticipation, had second (in 2002). But it does mean a lot to have this on my resume. I'm very happy and humbled by it.
trainer Jonathan Sheppard describes what FOREVER TOGETHER's (Belong to Me) Filly & Mare Turf (G1) score means to him
"Absolutely, very, very important part of it. We had a -- he inherited the mount, as you can see in the paper in past performances. Ramon Dominguez rode her in the Just a Game (G1), and I asked him to ride her back, and he couldn't. I tried to think of another rider that was good, you know, a patient rider, good going on the grass and with good hands, and someone that wasn't going to kind of man-handle the horse too much. Because this filly is a little quirky, and she likes to think she's getting things her own way. I kind of took a shot with Julien. He had ridden a couple of horses before, but not a lot. I like his European background, and I used to see him riding out with Patrick Biancone at Saratoga before he rode his first race. And he always seemed to have a good demeanor with his horses. Anyway, we took a shot, and here we are.
Sheppard on how valuable jockey Julien Leparoux has been to Forever Together's success
"I guess. I don't know. The only thing is, in this horse racing, you know, is all about horses. The jockey, I try to be a passenger on her, and she just gives me everything every time I ride her. So she's a very nice filly, and I just thank Mr. Strawbridge, and Mr. Sheppard, too.
Leparoux reflects all the credit upon Forever Together
"No, to be honest, I didn't have a clue (laughing). But this is a game of chance, and it's a game of luck. I've often heard it said, the trainers say, well, I'd rather be lucky than good, I think that's true.
owner George Strawbridge admits he did not envision Forever Together's pedigree producing a 10-furlong turf star
"I wanted to keep her covered up until the very last minute. She's got Woodbine figured out but this was a new course for her. At the eighth-pole, a hole opened and she just went shooting through. She got to the lead and then just kind of pulled herself up and the other horse (Forever Together) just went by."
jockey Patrick Husbands on F&M Turf runner-up SEALY HILL (Point Given)
"I wasn't surprised. I thought she was training better than ever. This looks like it's going to be it with her. She has a date with Distorted Humor -- unless Mr. Melnyk (owner Eugene Melnyk) changes his mind."
trainer Mark Casse was not surprised by Sealy Hill's performance in her swan song at 48-1
"She broke a little slow, but that sort of worked out for me. I was able to keep her covered up and they went slow the first part. At the quarter-pole, I asked her and she gave me a big run but just didn't have it late in the stretch."
jockey John Velazquez recaps the effort of F&M Turf third-placer WAIT A WHILE (Maria's Mon)
"John Velazquez (on Wait a While) forced my hand too soon. I was where I wanted to be and waiting, but when he came up outside I had to go. I would have liked to have waited; I think it would have made a difference. But it wasn't to be."
Johnny Murtagh, the rider of F&M Turf favorite HALFWAY TO HEAVEN (Ire) (Pivotal), who faded to seventh
"Johnny (Murtagh) just thought that maybe it was the mile and a quarter. She went a mile and a quarter at Goodwood (winning the Nassau S. [Eng]). That was Johnny's first impression. It's been a long season, too."
trainer Aidan O'Brien on Halfway to Heaven's disappointing finish
"I would think that clinches the two-year-old championship but I'm not going to Disneyland, I'm coming back to the Breeders' Cup next year."
—trainer Christopher Paasch following STARDOM BOUND's (Tapit) win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1)
"Yeah, she's our Baby Z. That's what Chris named her first off. I said Baby Zenyatta, and he said Baby Z. And we've been going for that. It's an incredible performance. I'm at a loss for words."
—Smith on Stardom Bound's nickname around the barn
"I'm thrilled to know Charlie and Karen Cono, what they've done for me and my wife, Bonnie. And what a special day it is for me to walk down to that winner's circle this afternoon with Charlie and give him a hug and congratulate him. I'm sure that the kind of people that are going to take this filly are going to, you know, be able to take her and continue her career and make her into the kind of filly as an older filly that I'm sure she can be. I have no heartache at all about it. It will be a little bit sad, but I'm thrilled to end it on a win like this. And let everyone know we've definitely got the best two-year-old filly in the country this year."
—Paasch on his feelings about Stardom Bound's upcoming trip through the sales ring
"I'm one of those people that I don't believe in running fillies against colts at two, three, four, five or six. Fillies, I believe, belong against fillies. There have been some great trainers that have done that with their fillies. Evidently they felt that was the right thing to do, and there's been a great outcome. My personal feeling is I'd keep her in the filly division and let the colts have the colts."
—Paasch on whether he would consider running Stardom Bound in the Kentucky Derby (G1) next year
"I think she's going to like the dirt better. She ran well, but she gets better acceleration on dirt. It would have been a great race to win, but third in the Breeders' Cup in the third start of her life is pretty good."
—trainer Steve Klesaris on SKY DIVA (Sky Mesa), who was third in the Juvenile Fillies
"We've always known she's a talented filly. I've liked her since day one. I was able to ride her coming down the hill, and I've always been high on her. And I thought by the end of the year, at least by the end of the year, she'd get a Grade 1 under her belt. I've always been confident in her. Just a matter if she would take to the surface and like it."
Gomez on Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner VENTURA (Chester House)
"She was just a little antsy in the gate. And right before they had kicked it, she had kind of hopped up a little bit. Just as I kicked it, she gave it a little crow hop. But she never seems to get away real well from the gate anyway. My main concern, like I said, is just trying to find her spot early on where she's in a good rhythm and relaxing. No matter if she's two lengths off the lead or 10, it's just getting her into a good, nice, smooth stride, and having her breathe really well, and I was able to do that."
Gomez on Ventura's slight hop at the start of the F&M Sprint
"Well, you never want to give up a Grade 1 winner. But it was just one of those situations. As a matter of fact, I think it might have been the same day that I had to go ride Ventura up in Canada or something. I had to go up to Champs Elysees (GB) (Danehill) or something up in Canada. You know, with the kind of business that Ron (Anderson) has gotten for us, and what we've gotten for ourselves, and the people have been so gracious to give to us, we run into problems every now and then. We can't be two places at once. Every now and then we run across a problem and we have to make a decision, whether or not that, you know, it comes back around to bite us in the tail or not. You know, we have to deal with what kind of decisions we make. When we make those decisions, hopefully we make the right ones at the time."
Gomez on giving up the mount on Indian Blessing to ride Ventura
"I kid around with Bobby and stuff, and Juddmonte about how much I really love her. She's just the kind of filly that she's a very petite. I tell them she looks like a deer. She's just put together very light, but she's very strong. That's like a deer. They can jump 10-foot fences and stuff, and that's the way she is. She's very powerful, but yet very light on her foot."
Gomez on Ventura
"Perfect trip. She broke really well, I let the other horse (Dearest Trickski [Proudest Romeo]) go, and sat right outside of her. I even eased away from the other horses. I got head and head with the horse on the lead, and down the stretch, straightened out, and she came running. That horse (Ventura) still ran right by me. I couldn't believe it. I was running too. Wow, man. We ran our race today. (Ventura) just ran a little better."
jockey John Velazquez on his ride aboard F&M Sprint favorite INDIAN BLESSING (Indian Charlie), who ran second
"She broke well but I had to use her a little the first furlong. After that, we saved some ground and were in perfect position. Indian Blessing was in front of us and at the three-eighths pole I just followed her. The other filly (Ventura) flew by us on the outside. I tried to catch Indian Blessing for second but couldn't."
Bejarano on F&M Sprint third ZAFTIG (Gone West)
"She ran really good. She may have gotten a little tired because she hasn't raced since June and had to run pretty fast to keep pace. She tried hard. She's a classy filly."
trainer James Jerkens on Zaftig, who was returning off a 139-day break in the Breeders' Cup
"I didn't know about the Europeans. But after working for the guys I worked for, I was around so many good horses that I knew what they looked like. So when I got one or two good ones in the barn, I started to match them up against horses I had been around, and she matched up against some good two-year-grass fillies Bob (Frankel) used to have, so I put her in that category and I trained her like that."
trainer Chad Brown explains how he knew that Juvenile Fillies Turf queen MARAM (Sahm) was a good one
"Well, there's been a lot of highs and lows. Losing my grandfather was tough. You know, it was a family decision. He wanted me to be here. And I did get to see him about six days ago before he passed. So it was real emotional. He wasn't a horseman; he was a big fan of mine, though. He was very proud that I went on my own and started winning races this summer. And his name is Elmer Maynaod. And he was laid to rest today, right where he lived, in upstate New York, not too far from Saratoga racetrack."
Brown describes the loss of his grandfather earlier this week
"It's exactly what her name means. It's a wish, it's a dream. (In Arabic), Maram means destiny, wish, or dream.
co-owner Karen Woods points out that Maram lived up to her name for her connections, all of whom were winning in their very first Breeders' Cup start
"I believe in the dams, and I think the dams rule, and Salsabil (Ire) was one of the best dams ever to race. She beat Quest For Fame (GB), which is also the sire of my filly American Dreamer. So if you just look at the family and you start thinking about women, there's always a woman behind a man, ladies and gentlemen, and the dams rule. So I believe in that bloodline. And in seriousness, I love that bloodline, the Welsh Flame. You can't buy it anymore, so I wanted to breed to it. It was a very inexpensive stallion, Sahm (a son of Salsabil). And I have to say a shout-out to Shadwell Farms for putting stock out there, studs that we can breed to at a reasonable rate, because I am not a rich woman by any means.
Woods reveals why she sent her mare American Dreamer to the stallion Sahm, a mating which resulted in Maram
"She ran a great race, absolutely. We always thought she was a nice filly. I thought Johnny (Murtagh) gave her a brilliant ride. She was closing all the time and she's a filly who has only been running five and six furlongs. She's a filly to look forward to next year now with this race."
O'Brien on HEART SHAPED's (Storm Cat) near-miss second in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
"I wished I could have gotten her to go a little slower for the first half, but she was keen today. She was on the bit all the way. I wished I could have nursed her along a little better, but she was too good to go."
jockey Edgar Prado on Juvenile Fillies Turf favorite LARAGH (Tapit), who tired to third after setting the pace
"Up the backstretch, she had a little trouble settling and relaxing. She was coming back in just 15 days and had been a little sharp. She's kind of tough to handle when she doesn't relax. But she's a nice filly, and she'll learn. We'll probably freshen her a little for next season. She's a nice big-framed filly, and we'll let her fill out and come back as a three-year-old."
trainer John Terranova issues a similar after-action report on Laragh
"Garrett (Gomez) was a little frustrated. He chose the inside route and didn't get the cleanest trip. But she ran huge. The blinkers helped. Garrett was thrilled with her."
trainer Graham Motion on SAUCEY EVENING (More Than Ready), fourth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in first-time blinkers
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