Quips and Picks from the Trainers Dinner

The annual Kentucky Derby Trainers Dinner, put on by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association on April 29, produced their annual outspoken comments by the trainers of horses for Saturday's Run for the Roses. Following are the tongue-in-cheek comments from the conditioners:

Bobby Frankel, trainer of Derby favorite Empire Maker and Peace Rules:
On Empire Maker's well-documented foot bruise:
"We'll know Thursday for sure. If he's not 100%, we won't run him, but I have confidence he's going to be all right. We took him out and jogged him this afternoon and he looked 100%."
On Peace Rules:
"He's a really nice horse, a very honest horse. He's the type of horse that if he gets in front he waits on horses, but when you get to him, he's really tough. He's easy to get to, but he might be a little tough to get by."
On potentially winning the Derby:
"It would mean everything to be honest with you. I've done a lot in this business and to win the biggest race in America, that would be the pinnacle."

Bob Baffert, trainer of Indian Express:
"If it wasn't for Laffit Pincay, who just actually retired today I heard, he's the one who found this horse for me, so I have to give him all the credit. It's unfortunate; it would have been his mount. I was talking to him a couple of days ago and I wanted to know if he was going to be ready for the Belmont because things were looking good.
"He (Indian Express) reminds me of Silver Charm the way he ran in the Santa Anita Derby in that he chased a really fast pace."

Jeff Mullins, trainer of the gelding Buddy Gil:
"He's a gelding not a horse. I asked the vet (after a scoping) if he couldn't see a little set of testicles back there. He's got heart; I know he's got one of those.
"I was here last year (with Lusty Latin) and it was a tuition for me, this year it's a pleasure. I really feel lucky to be here.
"I think a horse is going to run as far as he can. If you give him good, steady training he's going to get the distance."

Tom Amoss, trainer of Lone Star Sky:
"He trains very well on this track. If he's to run a successful race he's going to have to close along the outside as opposed to being down on the rail. Don't tell anybody. It's just between us, okay?
"It's hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the whole thing. Secretariat's my favorite horse. When I was 12, 13 years old he won the Triple Crown. He was one of my heroes as was Steve Cauthen when I got a little older. It's hard not to recognize just how special the first Saturday in May is. For a long time I've dreamed of winning the Kentucky Derby. It's going to be difficult over the next four days not to have those daydreams I used to have in high school in Latin class when I couldn't concentrate on what was being said."

Ron Ellis, trainer of Atswhatimtalknbout:
"I was so disappointed last time (in the Santa Anita Derby) and I don't think anybody was more disappointed than (jockey) David Flores. He really thought this was a special horse as we all did. That race was a little bump in the road, the first one we'd received all winter. We're hoping he'll bounce back and get the chance to show just how good he really is."
On the historical note that a horse who has not started at 2 not having won the Derby since 1882:
"Is that B.C.? Our program, we're not totally Derby oriented, at least we weren't before...He just wasn't mature enough and he bucked his shins last year."

Wally Dollase, trainer of Ten Most Wanted:
"I've had a lot of help. I've got four children and they are all helping me. We love the game and it's sure been good to us.
"It's incredible. It's been a big thrill. I talked Pat Day into coming out to ride the horse, and after he rode the horse the first time he said, 'We're going to have a lot of fun this summer.' To hear that from Pat Day, that's something."

Patrick Biancone, trainer of Brancusi:
He was a nice horse when he was young. I was stupid to run him in the Champagne, but I knew he was good before he knew he was good. Fortunately my owner is very patient.

Mike Tomlinson, trainer of Sir Cherokee:
"Mr. Jones (owner of Domino Stud) and (farm manager) Catherine Fraizer have been very good to let us do what we wanted to do with the horse. I was pleased he put it all together in one race (Arkansas Derby)."
"On being stabled at Trackside and vanning to Churchill to work:
We worked him this morning and he galloped at Churchill on Thursday. We're going to continue to keep him over there. That's his home and we're going to keep the same program going."

T.V. Smith, trainer of Offlee Wild, his first Derby starter:
"It's an exciting trip. From day one, this colt looked like he was one with extra talent. I was hoping we'd get more done by this time. We ran into a little roadblock with him, but he's training super right now. We're willing to roll the dice and see what happens. He's training good and Offlee Wild."

Ken Ramsey, owner of Ten Cents a Shine:
"I thought you had to get a good horse to get to the Derby, but I found out all you need is a $30,000 and a very enthusiastic Hall of Fame trainer who believes that you've got a horse that deserves to be in the Kentucky Derby.
"The 'Ragozin' boys tell me you don't have to worry about bouncing off his Blue Grass effort."

Manny Tortora, trainer of Supah Blitz:
"He acts a lot like his dad (Mecke). He's easy to train."
On his 15 starts:
"We were trying to get Breeders' Cup money which we didn't need. We didn't know it at the time."
On his jockey, Rosemary Homeister Jr., the fifth woman to ride in the Derby:
"At least when I hug and kiss the jockey you won't think I'm strange."

Patrick Gallagher, trainer of Domestic Dispute:
"Bob (Baffert) told me quite a bit about the horse.
"We're going to have some fun and take a chance.
"We bought the horse from Bob, I think it was on Friday or Saturday. I flew back to California and on Sunday and there were quite a few trainers at Santa Anita that were asking me what was going on in Kentucky. I'd just like to read a few of the nice things they had to say about Bob..."
Gallagher pulled out a blank piece of paper.

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