Belmont Stakes (G1) compiled jockey/trainer quotes

December 10, 2019

Christophe Clement, winning trainer of Tonalist (No. 11): "It's a great win, it's great for the team, for the staff, for the owner, Mr. Evans, who believed in us. I'm absolutely thrilled. It's wonderful." "He trained great, he looked great before the race. I'm absolutely delighted that he won."

"I wasn't sure he won. We actually thought he finished second, but we got lucky, he won. It was great."

Did you ever think you'd win the Belmont Stakes when you were growing up in France? "I'm not sure, but I was hoping to win some big races."

Joel Rosario, winning jockey aboard Tonalist (No. 11): This is very important to me, like always. This is the Belmont, so this is great. This horse, he did very good today. I'm a little bit upset about California Chrome. If I was going to get beat, I wanted to just get beat by him. Yes [it's bittersweet]. [Tonalist is] just kind of a big horse, and he has one long stride, and he just grinds it, and keeps on going and going, keeps on coming, and he got the job done today."

Alan Sherman, son and assistant of Art Sherman, trainer of California Chrome (No. 2): "When Victor started to squeeze on him, he didn't respond. He was wore out, I think. Victor seemed to think he handled the surface fine, and he seemed to come back fine. We'll know more when we get back to the barn."

Victor Espinoza, rider of California Chrome (No. 2), who dead-heated for fourth with Wicked Strong: "A little tired. I thought he was...turning for home I was just waiting to have the same kick like he always had before, and today he was a little bit flat down the lane. [Taking dirt didn't both him] at all. I was nice and comfortable in there, and I had a chance to move out, and when I moved out he just don't have that today. I think it was tough for him. He ran back-to-back races in different tracks - and all those fresh horses. But he feels good."

Todd Pletcher, trainer of runner-up Commissioner (No. 8): "He ran super. I didn't anticipate that we would be on the lead, but we weren't going to take away anything they gave us. He was almost good enough today."

Javier Castellano, jockey of runner-up Commissioner (No. 8): "I had a beautiful trip. I went to the lead through slow fractions, but had a little pressure some of the way. He did great today."

Dale Romans, trainer of third-place finisher Medal Count (No. 1): "He ran very well. I thought he would be closer. It was a perfect trip. I think if we could have gotten free a little earlier because he's more of a grinder than a real turn of foot [horse], I would have been real happy with him. I'm happy anyway. It's a great day for racing in America."

"It's unbelievable the way this New York crowd came out here and supported our sport, and I want them to know how much we truly appreciate it. It's about being around greatness, and California Chrome is greatness. He couldn't get it done today like the last twelve that tried, but he's greatness, and it proves people here still appreciate the greatness of this game. It's always an honor to be a part of a great event like this."

Robby Albarado, jockey aboard third-place finisher Medal Count (No. 1): "I was in position where I needed to be the first part of the race down the backside. I had eyes on California Chrome and those were obviously two nice horses in front of us that eventually beat us. I wish I could have gotten out a little earlier toget some more momentum. He's not a quickening type of horse; he kind of grinds it out. I did get some room turning for home and had every chance to get to him.

"He ran huge. I had to get into him a little early to get some momentum going but he still ran big. I thought we had a chance when we went with the eventual winner but it didn't work out."

Jimmy Jerkens, trainer of dead-heat fourth-place finisher Wicked Strong (No. 9): "From what I could see, I thought he was in a pretty good spot. He just didn't have any real punch. He just kept grinding. I thought it looked like he was starting to make a move and somebody was right with him the entire way. He couldn't shake loose, but he ran pretty good. He didn't get beat far."

Rajiv Maragh, jockey of dead-heat fourth-place finisher Wicked Strong (No. 9): "The pace was kind of slow to materialize, but we were in a good spot all the way. We had a fair shot at it; we just couldn't quite get there. He kept on and never gave up. He tried his best. He sure belongs with these horses. He's one of the top 3-year-olds. He ran good."

Dallas Stewart, trainer of ninth-place finisher Commanding Curve (No. 4): "[Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan] came back and said he just didn't show up today. I don't know if it was the track, or what it might have been, but he said he just kind of went around there evenly."

Sean Bridgmohan, rider of ninth-place finisher Commanding Curve (No. 4): The race unfolded much like I thought it would. The horse just ran even all around the track today. He felt good the whole time, but he didn't finish with the same energy as he did in the Derby."

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