Belmont Stakes (G1) Press Conference Initial Quotes

December 10, 2019

Bob Baffert, winning trainer of American Pharoah (No. 5): "Before we came up here from the barn, someone asked Bode if he was nervous and he said he was 10 times more nervous in the Derby. When they asked him why he said, 'Because the race is really, really far.'"

"We knew we had the horse. We hoped he had the horse. Once Victor got him in the clear and got him into that beautiful mode of the way he just goes over the ground, I just loved every fraction. I saw 13 and change; I loved that. I was talking to Jill the whole way around there and turning for home, I was preparing for somebody coming because I've been through this so many times. I was just hoping for once and I could tell at the eighth pole that it was going to happen."

"All I did was just take in the crowd. The crowd was just thundering and I was just enjoying the crowd and the noise and everything happening. Thirty-seven years we've waited for this but, you know what, this little horse he deserves it. He's just a great horse and the way he's been all winter and this spring has been incredible."

"While I was here in town, I was listening to every news station and people were saying, 'Oh, it never happens and everybody gets up for it.' But there's something about this horse that he just brought it every time. He's just a joy to be around."

"When I saddled him in the paddock, I could tell and I told Victor in the paddock that he was ready. I told him to go ahead and ride him with confidence and he did. He rode him with extreme confidence. I said to put him on the lead and go for it and if he doesn't make it don't worry about it, but he just kept on rocking and rolling."

"What a feeling. It's probably going to take a few days to sink in. I had my kids here and they got to enjoy it. Savannah, she's here somewhere. I was holding her in my arms when she was four years old for Real Quiet. Luckily, she doesn't remember that."

"This is going to be, the moment, we'll never forget this. Bode, hopefully, he'll never forget it."

Victor Espinoza, winning jockey aboard American Pharoah (No. 5): "He walked into the gate amazing. He was ready today. As soon as I sat in the saddle, there was so much power and so much energy this horse had. He trained just perfect, just unbelievable into this race."

"Warming up he was just class, all class. He was a touch slow out of there, but I sent him anyway. I'm telling you in the first turn it was the best feeling I've ever had. I was so concentrated [in the stretch], I said, 'You know what, I've been here three times.' I didn't even get excited. I was excited in the first turn. You know, turning for home I was like, 'This has not happened yet.' I wanted to ride to the wire. I just dropped my hands and he just took off. It's just an amazing feeling that you have when you're 20 yards from the wire. And then at the wire I was like, 'I cannot believe I did it.' I win the Triple Crown race now, but I didn't make any money, because I donated my money to the City of Hope."

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