Trainer Quotes from the Belmont

Published on: 5th June, 2009

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Trainer Quotes from the Belmont  | read this item

Chip Woolley, Mine That Bird (No. 7) “The No. 7 is fine with me. My horse is going to back out of it anyway, so it’s not going to be a factor.”

“If you watch Mine That Bird run, his stride is bigger than most horses. He has a huge stride and gets over the ground real easy … With his running style, we’re going to have to let him run his race. But the good thing here is, when you start slowing the fractions down, if you let him run his same race, he’s going to move way up. If we can just be within 10 to 12 of them, I’m confident he’ll have enough kick left.”

“When I watched the replays of his races last year, he’d stop and restart like it was nothing. One win, he was on his left lead the whole way … before the Derby, Calvin watched the replays and saw this horse had a lot more to give than appeared (on paper).”

(On Calvin’s guarantee of victory) “That’s just Calvin. I’m fine with that. I love a man who’s confident and he’ll be comfortable when he gets on the horse, because he won’t be afraid.”

Nick Zito, Brave Victory (No. 10) and Miner’s Escape (No. 9): “They both had good winters. They both have good chances. I think they’re live longshots. They’ve had two good races in a row. I think they’re going to run well. The only thing, sometimes leading up to the Triple Crown can take a lot out of the horse. These two particular horses may have that in their favor – they might not be as good as the Mine That Birds or Charitable Mans, but on the other hand, they didn’t have the rigors of the Triple Crown (prep) races leading up to the Derby … If we have them the way we think we have them, and they’re strong, who knows, maybe lightning strikes twice. We’ve been lucky in this race, and hopefully everything will work out OK.”

“If we don’t win, we certainly are rooting for the connections of Mine That Bird and Summer Bird (both are sons of Birdstone, whom Zito trained to victory in the 2004 Belmont).”

Kiaran McLaughlin, Charitable Man (No. 6): “Our horse couldn’t be doing any better. We’re very excited. Charitable Man should be on or near the lead. We’ll let Alan (Garcia) decide where he’s going to lay early. He’s a young jockey with a lot of success – I like the fact he won the Met Mile and the Vagrancy and went to Canada and won a $300,000 race for Christophe Clement — his confidence level is high, and he won the Belmont last year.”

“I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.”

“Everyone said you have to have tactical speed, but we won (the Belmont) with Jazil coming from behind. With a little bit of racing luck, Mine That Bird could be going for a Triple Crown.”

Todd Pletcher, Dunkirk (No. 2): “After all the dust settled after the Derby, we looked at all the possibilities. We felt like John Velazquez has been our go-to guy for a long time and we’ve had a lot of success together, including this race, so we made the choice to go with him.”

“I felt going into the Derby this is a very good horse. At the beginning of the race out of the gate, he stumbled, and when he did get to the first turn, he got squeezed back and lost position, and I felt he never ran to his capabilities. He is training very well. He’s put on some weight since the Derby. I stand by the fact he’s a very high-quality horse. ”

(On his bullet work :47 1/5 on May 18)”That’s not really my style of training, but it shows how talented he is.”

D. Wayne Lukas, Flying Private (No. 8), Luv Gov (No. 5): “I think it takes a special horse (to win the Belmont). All of them run a mile-and-a-half, some take a little longer. The thing about it is, I think it’s the style of the horse, and of course there’s a gut-check with the pedigree about the quarter-pole, too. We think we have a couple of horses that fit the mold, at least in my opinion, to be competitive.”

(On revamping the Triple Crown): “I think what we need to do in racing is keep the field together to develop a fan base. I would say you don’t have to change the distance …. But it would be my proposal to keep our fields together, to maybe run the first Saturday in May, go ahead and run then mile and a quarter. Then maybe go to Memorial Day weekend, run the mile and three-sixteenths, and make this a Fourth of July celebration and run a mile-and-a-half here and even add Travers the last week of August, make it a four-race series?”

Eoin Harty, Mr. Hot Stuff (No. 3):“I have no idea (how he will handle the surface). We’ll throw him in there and see what happens.”

“I have three things to say: Edgar Prado chose our horse over Dunkirk. I don’t want to change the Triple Crown. And I loved the potato joke.”

Tim Ice, Summer Bird (No. 4): “The Arkansas Derby was his third race, and he showed enough to give him a chance. In the Derby, he had a wide trip. There were 19 horses in the field, and two birds were trying to surround everyone – Mine That Bird on the inside and Summer Bird on the outside.”

“We worked him seven-eighths to give him a good work, see how he handled it. He was a little uncomfortable over the track, and when he came back and worked five-eighths, he worked five-eighths much better. I’m very hopeful And I’m very confident.”

*The Potato Joke, as told by Tom Durkin
Once there was a very regal potato who married another potato of equally stellar lineage. Eventually they had a little baby girl potato, a sweet potato. When the princess potato grew up, she announced to her parents she wished to marry Walter Cronkite.
“Absolutely not!” said her royal parents.
“But why? Why can’t I marry Walter Cronkite?” she asked.
“Because,” replied her father, “he’s a common tater.”

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