Post-Race Quotes: April 10, 2017

Grade 1 $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby
Santa Anita, April 8, 2017 

John Shirreffs (trainer, Gormley, 1st and Royal Mo, 3rd)
“I think the key was (jockey Victor) Espinoza rating Gormley and then making his big move. This is very exciting. It’s thrilling to have a Kentucky Derby horse and it’s for the same owners (Jerry and Ann Moss) as Giacomo. Royal Mo ran really big. If he had a better post position, you wonder how he would have done.I really wasn’t paying attention to the fractions. I just saw my horse and he got behind horses, including Royal Mo. Gormley is an evolving horse. He’s very precocious and very excitable.I just need to turn that energy of his into positive use. It’s a lot of growing pains with a talented horse. I think using the tongue tie certainly helped us today. We’ll see how this shakes out. We’ll see how he comes out of this race in the morning and if all is well, we’ll point to the Kentucky Derby.” 

Victor Espinoza (jockey, Gormley, 1st)
“Today the big difference is that he was ready. Something went wrong last time, he was good but not quite where I wanted. I was a little bit disappointed but it seems like today he was on his toes, on his game and I was really ready for it. All it takes is having a lot of confidence in him against the other horses and with John (Shirreffs) we were hoping he chose the right one. He’s really quick out of the gate and today the plan was to take him back and make him run because it seemed like there was a little bit of speed in the race. I had a little bit of a hard time taking him back but all I had to do was jerk him one time, a bit harder than I wanted, and that’s all it took. He relaxed very nice. Down the backside, I started laughing to myself because I knew I was in a good position and I knew all the horses in front of me were going to stop. He showed me he’s capable of going the distance. The only problem is his size; he’s not very big but he’s tough and that’s what I like about him. He works really hard and that’s what it takes.” 

Jerry Hollendorfer (trainer, Battle of Midway, 2nd)
“I think he ran a pretty good race. If he didn’t get pressured so much early I think we would have won, but that’s how things go. I’m very happy with him. He’s been progressing all along, and if he can continue, he should be a contender.” 

Corey Nakatani (jockey, Battle of Midway, 2nd)
“He ran really well. I wish we could’ve gotten a breather at some point, but it didn’t work out that way. He ran dynamite.” 

Grade 2 $1,000,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes
Keeneland, April 8, 2017 

 Doug O’Neill (trainer, Irap, 1st)
“He’s a son of Tiznow, and he has a ton of ability. The fact he was still a maiden was kind of unfortunate, but he’s always been a talented horse. (Jockey) Julien (Leparoux) gave him a great ride. Unbelievable.” 

Julien Leparoux (jockey, Irap, 1st)
“It’s great (for a horse to break his maiden) in the Blue Grass. The plan was to be sitting second. He was very relaxed. We had the trip that we wanted. He (trainer Doug O’Neill) wanted me to start going at the half-mile pole. He said if a horse came up to him, he might (pull back) back a little. (In the stretch) I felt confident but I knew they were coming. He never gave up. I knew he was going to run good. He runs good every race. We talked and we had the perfect trip. It came to reality.” 

Chad Brown (trainer, Practical Joke, 2nd)
“He showed a lot of heart. I was disappointed with the trip but that was due to the (outside) post. (Jockey) Joel (Rosario) really didn’t have a chance to tuck him in. The winner really ran a courageous race. He really ran fantastic and I thought my horse did, too. Post is so important and today even though it was a short field, it hurt us because he had to go wide. I am proud of his effort.” 

Joel Rosario (jockey, Practical Joke, 2nd)
“It was nice where I was and he responded very well turning for home, but it was too tough to beat the horse on the lead. I thought for a second I was going to get him but the winner kept on fighting and had another gear.” 

Brian Hernandez, Jr. (jockey, McCraken, 3rd)
“We had a good trip. He (McCraken) ran his race, and it was a good third today. He ran with some well proven horses. We will just go on from here.” 

$750,000 Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes
Aqueduct, April 8, 2017 

Graham Motion (trainer, Irish War Cry, 1st)
“That was more like it; I’m speechless. I’ve never understood why he would not relax, this horse. He’s very classy, he’s very sensible.” 

Rajiv Maragh (jockey, Irish War Cry, 1st)
“He was always in a smooth rhythm. He relaxed real easily. He did everything I wanted him to do without a lot of effort. He did it all in rhythm. He wasn’t rank at all. He settled beautifully. By getting on him in the mornings, I didn’t think I’d have a hard time getting to settle because he goes so easy and comfortable. We ran good together today.”

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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