Breeders' Cup Saturday They Said It


NOVEMBER 3, 2012

"The most important thing I told (jockey) Brian (Hernandez) was the break. We have to get out of the gate. If we miss the break we're dead. We can't win. We have to get out of gate good and we can't be pinned down inside; we have to be out of there, goin' and then ride the race from there. That's what he did. He made a great move coming out of the gate and we were fortunate that Game on Dude broke a step slow and (Fort Larned) was able to get out instead of being tucked down on the inside down the back stretch, instead of being dictated to, we were able to dictate the race."

trainer Ian Wilkes on his instructions to jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. prior to FORT LARNED's winning run in the Breeders' Cup Classic

"Very much, yeah. This one is for Carl, Wanda, for our family, everyone, Tracy, Shelby, Brody; but when you learn from someone like Carl, when he points a horse for a race and you focus in on one race -- he was a master at doing that, keeping him going and pointing him. You've got to have him 110 percent on that day, and he was a master at it. I'm glad it worked out today because I can tell him I did it."

Wilkes on applying what he learned under Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger with Fort Larned

"I had a lot of pressure because Buff (Bradley) and Charlie (Lopresti) and I were together last week and before we came out we said we have to get a trifecta and when them two held up their part there was pressure on me to hold up my part."

Wilkes jokingly described the pressure to complete the 'trifecta' in the Classic with Fort Larned after his training buddies saddled Groupie Doll to win the Filly & Mare Sprint and Wise Dan the Mile

"This is definitely career altering. If someone told me in May I was riding a Breeders' Cup horse much less winning it, I would have told them they were crazy, and just being here is a great opportunity and I have to thank the Whithams for sticking us on this horse."

jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. after guiding Fort Larned to victory in the Classic

"He was gaining on us, but when he seen the horse coming he dug back in and even galloping out, Mucho Macho Man wasn't able to get past us."

Hernandez on Fort Larned's reaction when Mucho Macho Man challenged in the stretch

"I got kicked on the other side, the back side. That happened on Thursday. We got out here last night about midnight. We went out to the barn this morning and saw the horse and saw Ian and the Whithams, and we hung out and to see Santa Anita and waited for our race today. This was our first mount here at Santa Anita. I've been here one other time and this was our first mount over it."

Hernandez on the days leading up to the Classic

"With this horse, you got to trust him. You've got to trust this horse. You've got to let him do what he wants to do in a way, but don't let him, but you got to let him do it, if that makes sense. Brian has a knack with him. They get on great together and hoping we can keep on going."

Wilkes on the partnership between Hernandez and Fort Larned

"They ran good. We came out of the turn and the first two horses (Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man) didn't back up. Ron the Greek put in a run, and Flat Out put in a good run, but the first two horses just kept motoring. I don't think we have any huge excuse. To Honor and Serve backed up. He was laying right off the hip of Mucho Macho Man and he folded."

—trainer Bill Mott, who saddled FLAT OUT to third, RON THE GREEK to fourth and TO HONOR AND SERVE to 10th-place finishes in the Saturday's Classic

"I had a perfect trip. He was so relaxed all the way around there, even in that big field. We got a good spot and I was waiting for the time. Then when I asked, he kicked it in. He ran well through the stretch, but those two in front of us (Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man), they were better today. Today it was them."

jockey Joel Rosario, who piloted Flat Out

"I think the first eighth of a mile cost him the race. He wants to be right up there near the front and when he wasn't, that was it for him. It was unfortunate. It was a tough day for me, but I've had tougher. It really was a tough week. But what are you going to do? It was a great two days of racing here and I was glad to be part of it."

trainer Bob Baffert, who went 0-9 in the 2012 Breeders' Cup after 6-5 Classic favorite GAME ON DUDE finished seventh

"When these things happen, when things are hard, you've just got to move on. A few minutes ago Joe Torre (part owner of Game on Dude) told me that you've got to forget it. Things that happened five seconds ago, you've got to let them go and move on. That's what will happen."


"He broke from the gate so well. They rushed up past us, but that didn't matter. I got a good spot and made him comfortable. We were right where I wanted to be, and at the three-eighths (pole) he gave me his move. And then, all of a sudden, he was flat; totally out of gas. I don't know why. I can't understand it and I can't explain it."

—jockey Rafael Bejarano on his ride aboard Game on Dude

"He tried. You know what, it was a dream to have him even make it this far, and he tried his best."

trainer Mark Casse after his trainee POOL PLAY ran eighth in the Classic

"It's hard to put in words, but you're in the business for 40 years, and you know, you can do everything right and have the best of everything, and then you get a bad trip and you lose. With this horse, this is crazy to say, it's almost impossible to do that to him. As soon as he sees daylight he's gone, and nobody will beat him -- nobody!"

—Morton Fink, the owner/breeder of Mile hero WISE DAN, on his horse of a lifetime

"I think he's accomplished an awful lot on every surface you put him on. People warned us of the dangers to come here because this track is different than he's ever -- no change of track has ever stopped him. So we're we were not concerned about that. I think (versatility) should (count). He's won with records over (different) surfaces. There is not a lot of horses that do that."

—Fink on Wise Dan's case for Horse of the Year

"What Frankel has accomplished, nobody could say anything about him. My God, it's a miracle what he's done. I'm not going to think about how he would do against Frankel. He's the best horse in the world. He's retired. We're never going to get a chance to run, so no point of thinking about that."

—Fink on how Wise Dan might have stacked up against Frankel

"Let me add, anytime a horse -- no matter where he runs -- goes undefeated, that's a really good horse."

—Wise Dan's trainer Charles Lopresti on Frankel

"I knew he was going to run good today. Every time he runs I know he's going to run good, but I never thought he would run this good. I never expected him to break a track record.

—Lopresti on Wise Dan's record-setting Mile victory

"He is just a super horse. Every time I work him, every time I do something with him, he amazes me, and I've tried not to work him too often and too fast. At Saratoga, I realized how fast he was when we started to work him on the turf -- some of you have seen him work there -- so we don't put a lot of works into him in between races. Sometimes you will look at the workouts and maybe they look spotty, and people will wonder what's wrong, but he's a phenomenal horse."

—Lopresti on Wise Dan's natural talent

"It was hard with him (Turallure) last year, but I wasn't disappointed in my horse, he ran a good race. He didn't get the best trip in the world as everybody knows, and to come and win this race has got to be incredible. It eases the pain. Now I'm thinking about what am I going to do next year and keep these two horses apart."

Lopresti on coming so close with Turallure in the 2011 Mile

"Julien (Leparoux) rode the horse, and he had to go to California to ride Never Retreat. He was committed to riding Never Retreat, and Mr. Fink and I talked about who to get, and I said I would love to call and see if Angel Cordero would let Johnny come ride the horse and when he got off him, he said 'this is one of the best horses I've ever sat on.' And I didn't know him very well at that time. I thought he was just telling me that, and Angel said no he's not telling me that, he means it. He said we would go to China to ride that horse -- wherever he goes, we're staying with him.

—Lopresti on how John Velazquez got the mount aboard Wise Dan late last year

"And when Graham (Motion) put Animal Kingdom in this race, people said I was going to lose Johnny and I called Angel, and I said I'm afraid we're going to lose you. And he said, I told you I would go to China to ride this horse. The only reason he didn't ride him in the Shadwell (Turf Mile), it was my fault. I was going to train him up to the Breeders' Cup, and they (Cordero and Velazquez) were committed in New York, and I talked to Mr. Fink. And that's what good agents and jockeys do -- they stand behind their commitments."

—Lopresti on Velazquez's loyalty to his commitments

"We want to enjoy this moment, and he's entitled to some time off. And you know, when you travel abroad with horses like that, I think it knocks 'em out. When you go to Dubai, it's going to knock him out, and maybe we may want to go on and do what we did last year and stay here in the United States and go to Saratoga and Woodbine, but we will wait and see. It's definitely an option, but we have to talk about it."

—Lopresti on whether Wise Dan would travel to Dubai or another international target

"I've been involved through Carolina Farms buying expensive horses and breeding expensive horses and in this case I paid $29,000 for the mare and I had a season in Wiseman's Ferry, who I had in partnership when he ran, and I knew he was a good horse running, and nothing breeding so far as we all know. But whoever we bred her to, the horse comes out looking like her and they all run. She has had three stakes winners, five horses have won over $150,000 this is from a $29,000 mare and she gives people -- you have to be lucky. You can do things right but you have to be lucky, too."

—Fink on breeding Wise Dan, a son of Wiseman's Ferry and the mare Lisa Danielle

"I have to say when no one believes in Little Mike, he does it. When he's not the favorite, and no one thinks he can do the extra distance, and when I'm nervous and don't think he has a chance, he wins! Maybe they will give him some respect after that, I don't know. Maybe because his name is Little Mike!"

—Priscilla Vaccarezza, owner of LITTLE MIKE, who upset the Turf at odds of 17-1

"Little Mike should be the Eclipse Award on the turf. We beat Point of Entry, and if for whatever crazy reason why he's not in the field today, I don't think it's any question who will be the Eclipse Award on the turf."

—Little Mike's breeder Carlo Vaccarezza hails him as the turf champion

"Little Mike is very unique. He has raw talent out of the gate. He's very fast. By the same token, he's got a lot of stamina, so if he goes in front, they try to run with Little Mike they're not going to beat him, and he can burn you at the end, because he can come home in 11. It's a unique horse, a lot of speed and a lot of stamina."

—Carlo Vaccarezza on what makes Little Mike so tough

"I think Little Mike's turf champion. He has won two of the most prestigious races in this country on the grass. Wise Dan had a great year, but when you put the Arlington Million and the Turf Classic in the same year, I think you're a champion."

trainer Dale Romans argues the Eclipse Award case for Little Mike

"Today it's a mile and a half. He's a phenomenal horse. He's an overachiever and he's proven us all wrong. I don't think anybody up here thought he could be more than a miler last year and now we don't know where his limit is."

—Romans on Little Mike's best distance

"Carlo and I discuss every issue, and the good thing about training for them is you know you're not going to have to be second-guessed. You can make the right decision rather than the decision everybody thinks you should make. We have been planning all year, stretch him, stretch him, stretch him. And we had a knee-jerk reaction after the race at Belmont on the soft turf (the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational), and we decided the best thing was to go the mile and a half and control the race. We didn't think we can control the race with the mile race. There were pretty fast horses in there."

—Romans on the decision to run Little Mike in the Turf instead of the Mile, which had been his first preference

"We can run on just about anything, but I don't think -- there aren't many races that would have been left on that course at Belmont Park if it weren't such an important prep. There is no way they would have left that on."

—Romans on the yielding ground in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, where Little Mike was a poor fifth

"I was worried until he pulled up on the backside."

—Romans on how he felt watching the Turf unfold

"It has been unbelievable experience to be out in Santa Anita -- the way they treat the family and ours and our team. She (Tammy Fox) has been here for three weeks and she is trying to talk me into bringing a lot of horses out here."

—Romans on the Santa Anita hospitality

"Whoever is getting this message, it will be a disgrace if Dale Romans is not in the Hall of Fame!"

—Carlo Vaccarezza on Romans' place in racing history

"People ask me what my goals are, and really this is all part of the goal, to be on this level, riding horses for such connections as Starlight Racing and Coolmore Stud and Todd Pletcher, just to find the right horse. Shanghai Bobby is a cool horse to be around. He's talented and that's all part of what my dream has been is to be able to ride this type of athlete and compete in the World Championships, so it couldn't be a better feeling."

jockey Rosie Napravnik after becoming just the second female rider to win a Breeders' Cup race when piloting SHANGHAI BOBBY to Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory

"Bobby gets lost when he's out there by himself. He came to literally what felt like a walk. I just couldn't wait until the horses came up next to me because he turns back on like no other horse I've ever felt and he re-broke as soon as they came up to him. And he knew he was back in the heat of the battle and he -- he's the most talented horse I've ever ridden, and I still don't think we've seen the best of him. He's got unlimited talent."

Napravnik describing Shanghai Bobby's antics in the Juvenile stretch when he started looking around before being hooked by He's Had Enough right before the wire

"He was beginning to wander and I wasn't worried about the horses passing me, I was worried about how long it would take them to get there so he would get back into gear. He has so much heart and he turns on automatically and re-breaks. It's an unbelievable feeling, something that not a lot of horses can do, he is a very athletic horse and like I said, I just -- I'm excited to see how good he gets, because I don't think anybody knows yet."

Napravnik when asked if she was worried about Shanghai Bobby dawdling in the stretch

"You know, even when he's a little lost out there I'm trying to encourage him as much as possible but it's the competitive nature that when they see the other horses come up next to them, it's the heart that the horse has and Shanghai Bobby is such a race horse, he wants to win, so that's really a lot of it. Most of it is the horse."

Napravnik on whether she tries to encourage Shanghai Bobby when he loses focus

"The reason we bought into him is because we thought he was a good horse and the partners and I have a stud farm in Kentucky and we stand the likes of Uncle Mo and Lookin at Lucky, and this is a horse we thought would fit our program. We thought he was a good horse after we won the Champagne, and we're delighted to be involved with Starlight. Rosie gave the horse a phenomenal ride and we look forward to standing him at stud, hopefully at the end of his three-year-old career."

—Coolmore spokesman Charlie O'Connor on the organization's decision top purchase a 50 percent interest in Shanghai Bobby prior to the Breeders' Cup

"A horse like this makes it more real, but I was shown firsthand that you're not in the Derby until you're in the gates. Last year I had a horse withdraw the day before the day of entry, so Jack (Wolf of Starlight Stables) and I said, there is a lot that happens between now and May. So it's one race at a time, but as far as talent goes, they've got a real contender."

Napravnik speaking on the possibility of becoming the first female rider to win the Kentucky Derby

"You know what? I'm really not a person that gets worked up or gets nervous, and riding in the Derby was probably my first taste of that back in 2010, and I almost felt guilty for how much I wasn't nervous. It's just -- it's a factor of just being focused. Today was really the first test of being on a favorite and a lot weighing on this. I just get into a focus mode and have the confidence in the horse."

Napravnik on her rise to fame this past year, including becoming the first female rider to win the Kentucky Oaks in May

"It means a lot. We started with her from before she was born. It's special to know that we're able to be down there and follow the mare out and have a filly like Groupie Doll. It's very special to reach this point, my dad has worked a long time for this and we worked a lot of hours on the farm, and seen a lot of them not make it to the races. So when you get here you know how special this one is and able to have one and keep this one healthy all through the campaign is exceptional."

—trainer Buff Bradley when asked about how special it is to have bred and campaigned Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner GROUPIE DOLL with his father, Fred Bradley

"I have an excellent team and they have done a great job of keeping her and watching her and they told me last week she was doing better than she was in Kentucky, and I said how is that possible? The filly has a good demeanor to her. She takes everything in, and she is pure class. With that and the team that I have and the care that they have put into her, I think that's why we have been able to keep her at this level."

—Bradley on all the excellent reviews Groupie Doll received leading into the Filly & Mare Sprint

"We haven't talked about it yet, but I think we will give her a little bit of a break and try that same thing next year as long as she comes back good. She'll fly back to Churchill tomorrow morning, and then we will keep her there a few days and we will talk about it and decide where to go from there."

—Bradley on future plans for Groupie Doll

"It's hard to get to the top level in this business. You need to win races like this very often and I consider myself -- I have been riding for nine years, but still a young jockey and do the best I can and whatever they want to call me they call me, but when I go out there I try hard every time and do the best I can."

jockey Rajiv Maragh, who has ridden Groupie Doll in all but one of her races this year

"First of all I would like to thank the Parbhoo family, they have been one hell of a ride to make my dreams come true and my family, means a lot to me, 24 years of riding you can dream this moment and sometimes you live it, close, but to actually taste it, it's an amazing feeling, so I would like to thank them and God."

Jockey Willie Martinez, the winning rider of Sprint winner TRINNIBERG

"...When he ran the last couple of races, every time he reached the eighth pole, he would lose confidence in himself, because he always at the eighth pole most of the time he was a length, two lengths. So I said, wait, you know, this horse need something. In order to keep him focused, from the eighth pole to the wire, that was my biggest problem, that he would not get not focus on the race and with the blinkers, it surely did work."

—Trainer Shivananda Parbhoo on why he re-added blinkers to Trinniberg's equipment for the Sprint

"I'm numb. Having a hard time believing that that happened and she came back and won that race and I said that to Alex (Solis Jr.) and he said, "Why are you so surprised?"

—sports broadcaster Jim Rome, co-owner of Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection

"A prep race wasn't in my mind. I have had good luck and good owners that let me take my time to get a horse ready. It's the easiest thing in the world when you're pointing for a race and you know when you're running, so I have an assortment of owners and they have let me do what I needed to do. And I was content not having the layoff race and bring her straight into this race she would run well with the rest."

—trainer Mike Puype on why he did not give Mizdirection, who had not run since May, a prep race

"Breeders' Cup is the Olympics of racing. At the end of the year our best horses from all over the world are here. It's somewhere everyone wants to be and it's fighting for the pedigree of all the horses."

—trainer Aidan O'Brien on what the Breeders' Cup means internationally

"I'm afraid I can't. Took me a while to learn how to pronounce it, sorry."

—O'Brien on the background of Juvenile Turf winner GEORGE VANCOUVER's name

"Sue (Mrs. John Magnier) nicknames all the horses, obviously. I don't know how Sue puts such good names on the good horses. Obviously the lads are rating them from the time in the barn and we're rating them for the time for them to come in as yearlings. And the ones I rate end up being the bad ones and Sue always manages to get the right names on the right horses. Sue looks at the horses, looks at the comments and makes up her own mind up, and she watches the work reports as it goes along. That's how they're named really, but it's a difficult thing. It's difficult to get the good names on the good horses which she seems to do every year."

—O'Brien on how the Coolmore horses are named

"I remember earlier in the year we had 10 'Navigators, and early in the year, in April, six of them were working like world-class horses, but the one thing they had was speed, and usually when you have speed, you have to have the go-ahead as ground to use the speed, and this summer has been so bad for us, I can't tell you.  So most of the races have been slogging races more than speed races. So to answer that, what he had is speed, and it's what they seem to all have, but ground is a must to go with that routine."

—O'Brien on how the wet weather in Europe has compromised George Vancouver and the other juveniles by Henrythenavigator

"This race we knew we were going to run differently because when he ran in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last year, the plan was to restrain him and not let him have too much speed and that proved to be ineffective with his style of running, so the plan today was to let him be a free‑running horse, to go out there and let him be on the lead or off the lead and hopefully have something left coming home."

—owner Ron Winchell on the change in running style TAPIZAR employed in the Dirt Mile compared to last year