Ballston Spa (G2) Quotes

December 10, 2019

Shug McGaughey, winning trainer of Abaco (No. 3): "I'm excited. In her last three races, she's really had some good moves and been unlucky to lose. Jose [Ortiz] rode a great race today and got her in good position. She's a funny kind of filly; if you allow her to lay too close she won't finish as well. I was a little bit afraid that if we did get a pace that he might let her ease up a little sooner than we wanted to. I told him she's going to be back, so you're just going to have to judge your move on what the pace is, and he did a good job of that."

"I didn't know if she would get there or not, but I liked the way she was positioned the whole race. She's trained really well, she's done really well up here. I watched her the other day and said to my assistant, 'She's never looked this good.'"

"It took her awhile to get going. She probably ran seven or eight times before breaking her maiden, then won four or five in a row. I had to stop her again and give her a summer off, and she's been going well. My plan since the Sheepshead Bay was to wait for the Diana. Today, I thought going 1 1/16 miles she would get a little more pace. The pace was OK, but with a little bit of cut in the ground I knew it wasn't going to be blistering."

Jose Ortiz, winning jockey aboard Abaco (No. 3): "She doesn't have any speed, so we have to rate her from behind, and today was the perfect trip. Down the backside I was behind the favorite [Filimbi], and that was the one I wanted to follow. I was right there, and when I turned for home I knew she was going to give me the big move she gave me last time. By the eighth pole, I knew I had Johnny [Velazquez, aboard Strathnaver]. I passed everybody else, so I knew there wasn't anybody else coming."

Graham Motion, trainer of runner-up Strathnaver (No. 4): "She ran great. I guess Shug got me back for [beating him in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational] the other day, right?"

Bill Mott, trainer of beaten favorite and sixth-place finisher Filimbi (No. 7): "She was just flat. No excuse. The ground might not have been preferable, but she was just flat." Joel Rosario, jockey aboard beaten favorite and sixth-place finisher Filimbi (No. 7): "We had a good trip, a perfect trip. I thought I was in a good spot, but turning for home they kind of got away from me. She just didn't seem to have it today."

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