Post-Race Quotes: April 17, 2017

Grade 1 $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby
Oaklawn Park, April 15 

Mark Casse

Mark Casse

Mark Casse (trainer, Classic Empire, 1st)
“He just has so much ability. I knew if we could get him here that he’d be tough. He’s been a challenge, but the last month and a half have been good — a lot of chapters to the book I’m writing.”

“I was pretty nervous. We run a lot of places, but I was probably a little more nervous. I went and walked up and down inside, watched it on TV. About the eighth pole everybody around me started looking, because I was doing some yelling. I wasn’t sure he was going to get there. I was afraid that maybe late he’d get tired. But it was exciting. I’ll never forget it.”

“We’ll get him back there (Churchill Downs) and come up with a game plan. I think the toughest deal is over, getting to this point. Now he won’t have to do too much going into the (Kentucky) Derby.”

Julien Leparoux (jockey, Classic Empire, 1st)
“He wasn’t 100% today, so I was expecting him to be a little tired. He is a nice horse. He did it today. I wanted to drive a nice race for him. Be in the (Kentucky) Derby, so I knew I had to finish in top four. I think he is a special horse.”

“He walked in the gate and relaxed. He took me to the race. Usually he is a little keen and today he was, which is a good sign for him. In the Holy Bull (Stakes) he was just not himself, I was laying third, but I didn’t feel like I had too much horse at that time. So today I knew I was loaded. I just needed to get there.”

“It was a tough winter, I am not going to lie. Come January we expected so much from him and after the Holy Bull he just went downhill from there. It was hard to see whenever we got off the wagon, but at the same time we were running out of time. Today was the last race we could get before the Derby, so it was very important for us to get in.”

Miguel Hernandez (trainer, Conquest Mo Money, 2nd)
“Oh, my God, it’s so exciting. I want to say 100 yards from the wire, I said, ‘I got it, I got it, I got it.’ It was exciting. Right by the three-quarter pole, I thought he was going to quit. He came back. I’m happy with the way he ran.”

Jorge Carreno (jockey, Conquest Mo Money, 2nd)
“I have been on that horse and that was the best he ever felt, I think he is going to get better and better. All I can say is he is a warrior, a fighter, he doesn’t give up. He gave me all he got to the end, same as he did in the (Grade 3) Sunland Derby. This is a special horse, the best one I have ever been on since I started riding. And I fully believe he will keep getting better. I am just going to keep working and hope to get to the Kentucky Derby. I thought I had it.”

Steve Asmussen (trainer, Lookin At Lee, 3rd)
“He’s a tremendous horse. He’s just been so fun. He just shows up. He’s sixth 70 yards from the wire. I mean, he never quits trying, and you’d love to see him rewarded for that effort.”

Luis Contreras (jockey, Lookin At Lee, 3rd)
“Well yeah he got up perfectly so nice and comfortable. I swinged to the outside and I didn’t want to lose momentum so I didn’t drop inside. I thought I was going to get to the inside but he was kind of dead. I pulled outside and he started to run again, I don’t know. It was a perfect race, he tried so hard.” 

Grade 3 $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes
Keeneland, April 15 

Ken McPeek (trainer, Senior Investment, 1st)
“I was pretty confident. I’ve been trying to find a mile and an eighth race, and I had the option of taking him out of town. But I really felt like okay, we’re here. He trained really good here this week. So do we work him or do we run him? So, let’s say we run him.” 

Channing Hill (jockey, Senior Investment, 1st)
“He timed it right. Once I got him tipped out where he could really stretch his legs out, he came home nice. At the eighth pole, I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to get there, but he was really running on. This is a really nice colt – really special. When I won on him at Oaklawn, he showed a lot, showed a turn of foot, too. Today, he was the best one.” 

Flavien Prat (jockey, West Coast, 2nd)
“It was a good race and I had a good trip. He made a nice move on the (final) turn and it was too bad we got caught at the end.” 

Joel Rosario (jockey, No Dozing, 3rd)
“He ran a tremendous race after (being bumped around the first turn). He put everything back together. He was running really well in the end and it looked like for a second he was the winner.”

US Racing Team
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.
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