Belmont Stakes Quotes

December 10, 2019

Bob Baffert, winning trainer of American Pharoah (No. 5): "It's very emotional. I'm thinking about my parents, I wish they were alive to see this. I was hoping it would happen. I didn't know how good it was going to feel. Now I know. They [my parents] were with me today. I was talking to them the whole race.

"Down the backside, he was in his groove, and I knew that if he's a great horse, he's going to do it. He's just a great horse. It takes a great horse to do it.

"I just feel like I have a very special horse, and he's the one that won. It wasn't me, it was the horse."

Victor Espinoza, winning jockey aboard American Pharoah (No. 5): "Wow, wow, I only can tell you. It's just an amazing thing. It's just unbelievable how things work out. It's just an amazing horse like American Pharoah. I was coming to this race with so much confidence the last two times. It's just unbelievable. I feel great, and in the jock's room I drank some Monster [Energy Drink] and then I feel so good and I said 'I hope American Pharoah feels like me!' And he did. He's just an amazing horse.

"[I knew we would win] in the first turn. He broke a little step slowly, but in two jumps I was just right on the lead. That's right where I want to be, a length in front of everybody and just steady, steady all the way around. I tell you, I had the best feeling ever when he crossed the first turn."

Joel Rosario, rider aboard runner-up Frosted (No. 6): "My horse ran great, but the horse everybody expected to win won the race. My horse ran really great and we got second place. It's exciting because we have not seen this for so long and the winner really looked brilliant. My horse showed that he is a really nice horse and there will be lots of races down the road for my horse."

Dale Romans, trainer of third-place finisher Keen Ice (No. 7): "The horse was perfect. My horse ran his race. It's an amazing thing to be a part of. Bob Baffert is the greatest trainer of all time. My hat's off to him. Congratulations to the Zayats."

Irad Ortiz, rider aboard fourth-place finisher Mubtaahij (No. 1): "He's a monster. He's a very nice horse. He's a freak. We haven't had a Triple Crown winner in years. He's a great horse. I tried to be close to him. I kept following him and my horse ran very, very good. We had no excuses. The best horse won the race."

Javier Castellano, rider aboard sixth-place finisher Madefromlucky (No. 3): "I had a beautiful trip. I didn't have much excuse. My horse is a come-from-behind horse but he didn't show up today. American Pharoah was much the best horse in the field. I give him all the credit in the world. We have been waiting 37 years to see this. It's great for the sport and the fans."

Gary Stevens, rider aboard seventh-place finisher Tale of Verve (No. 2): "He ran a hell of a race. That's a hell of a horse. The race was over in the third jump from the gate, it was over. It's great to come back to a screaming crowd in a happy way instead of booing. It's a pretty cool moment."

John Velazquez, rider aboard eighth-place finisher Materiality (No. 8): "We were going slow enough, with those fractions, but I just didn't have anything. I was in trouble as soon as we got to the backstretch. American Pharoah is a great horse, that's the only way you can describe him. My horse ran as good as he could but he was done early. The best horse won the race. He's obviously a great horse to do all the things he's done race after race, you have to take your hat off to him."

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