September 28, 2023

Kentucky Derby 143 Jockey Quotes

Jockeys for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 6, 2017 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

John Velazquez, Always Dreaming (1st)

“This is the best horse (trainer) Todd (Pletcher) and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with. Nothing against all the others, but this was the best horse. I got a good position with him early and then he relaxed. When we hit the quarter pole, I asked him and he responded. He did it himself from there.”

Corey Lanerie, Lookin at Lee (2nd)

“My horse ran great. I’m caught with seconditis – second in the Preakness and now second in the Derby. I’m still very happy.”

Flavien Prat, Battle of Midway (3rd)

“We got a good trip. He broke well from the track, took me right there. He ran a huge race. He gave me everything he had.”

Julien Leparoux, Classic Empire (4th)

“We got bumped around really hard at the start which put us in a very tough position early. He really only had one race before this but we’ll get them next time.”

Joel Rosario, Practical Joke (5th)

“Going into the final turn I thought we were in a great spot but turning for home my horse just stayed in the same spot.”

Jose Ortiz, Tapwrit (6th)

“In the beginning the 17 hole (Irish War Cry) came over on me. I got in good position behind Classic Empire but he didn’t respond today.”

Javier Castellano, Gunnevera (7th)

“I didn’t think he handled the (sloppy) track at all. In the beginning, he was holding it together, but when asked him for speed and to pick it up, he struggled quite a bit. It was disappointing.”

Brian Hernandez Jr., McCraken (8th)

“We got knocked around a little bit leaving there but from that point on we had a pretty uneventful trip. Turning for home we just weren’t on the best horse today.”

Victor Espinoza, Gormley (9th)

“I had a great trip, but not enough horse. He never really picked up the bridle.”

Rajiv Maragh, Irish War Cry (10th)

“My trip was ideal, what I was hoping for.  He broke well out of the gate and got a good position. He relaxed beautifully off the pace. Going into the turn, I seemingly had a lot of horse. I was ready to engage the five horse (Always Dreaming), he just kind of quit running on me.”

Florent Geroux, Hence (11th)

“I just couldn’t keep up. I was trying to follow lookin at lee but I could never catch up.”

Ricardo Santana Jr., Untrapped (12th)

“It’s a tough trip but it’s the Derby. I wish we could’ve gotten a better trip.”

Mike Smith, Girvin (13th)

“He felt OK but he was struggling with the racetrack early on. He was getting knocked around so many times and the poor guy just never had a shot inside. I felt like I was in the one hole. I finally get him running at the three-eighths pole and someone wiped out four of us again. The shot was over then.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Patch (14th)

“We had a good trip. We came into the stretch and got behind a couple of tiring horses, but he came back well and move on to the next race.”

Luis Saez, J Boys Echo (15th)

“Everybody came from the outside and killed us. I tried to rush him and see what we got, but by the half-mile everybody’s gone.”

Kent Desormeaux, Sonneteer (16th)

“I had no horse. I had no horse, never had a chance.”

Channing Hill, Fast and Accurate (17th)

“He ran good and he ran his race. We wanted to make the lead but we weren’t fast enough. I thought I shot early on but not able to quicken him.”

Mario Gutierrez, Irap (18th)

“I was in a great spot going around the turn and on the backstretch. I was following the speed and my horse was moving well. Once I asked him to respond he flattened out.”

Jose Lezcano, State of Honor (19th)

“I think my horse didn’t like the sloppy track. He broke good, I put him in a good position and let him go a little early. He stopped early but I think (on a fast track) he can go longer.”

Christophe Soumillon, Thunder Snow (DNF)

“I don’t know what happened at the start.”