Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Race Quotes

December 10, 2019

Bob Baffert (trainer, American Pharoah, 1st) – “We were hoping for a performance like this. When he’s right, if you let him run...I feel really good about it. What a horse! I'll never see another one like him. I'm just proud of my team, and Jimmy Barnes and I'm so happy for the Zayats. I'm emotional right now. I had more pressure. I wanted him to go out a winner. This one was for ‘Pharoah.’ It was for the people who came to see this and I'm glad he gave the people what they wanted to see. I'll never have another horse like him.”

Mike Smith (jockey, Effinex, 2nd) – “Once we hit the 3/8 pole I thought ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic. Maybe we can hold on for second,’ Passing the 3/8 pole we really picked it up. The real guy (American Pharoah) showed up today.”

James Jerkens (trainer, Effinex, 2nd) – “I’m ecstatic. I was happy to see him sitting second early and not being rank. American Pharoah started pulling away on the backside but he stayed second. It was unbelievable.

Shug McGaughey (trainer, Honor Code, 3rd) – “He was the only one to close. Those two ran 1-2 all the way around. When it came up with an eight-horse field, when two horses who looked like they had speed, Beholder and Smooth Roller, scratched, everybody was riding to be safe; they were riding to be second. The winner when he’s like that he’s pretty good. As a trainer, he’s the first Triple Crown winner I’ve seen and I think he was a very deserving Triple Crown winner. To see him come back to run the way he did today against this field of horses, he’s a very good horse.”

Javier Castellano (Jockey, Honor Code, 3rd) – “That’s the way it is. That’s his style, you can’t change anything. Unfortunately, the way the race unfolded, there was no pace at all. I think with those two (Beholder and Smooth Roller) scratching it didn’t help my situation. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything. You have to go with the flow, you have to ride the best you can, and hope that he showed up, and he did. He made a good strong and powerful move, but when I get to the stretch, the horses had run off already. I think he deserves it (Older Horse Eclipse Award).”

Jerry Crawford (owner, Keen Ice, 1st) – “We’re very our of our horse. Finishing fourth in what people call the toughest Classic ever is not a bad thing. In the last race (Travers Stakes ), American Pharoah was joined on the front end and we ran him down. This race, he wasn’t and we didn’t. American Pharoah showed me another gear today with fractions he set.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr. (jockey, Keen Ice, 4th) – “They squeezed me at the break and we were stuck in the back. I never could get close to (American Pharoah).”

Christophe Clement (trainer, Tonalist, 5th) – “We finished fifth. It's obviously disappointing. I’m going back to the barn to see the horse and we will reassess. There's no more to say.”

John Velazquez (Jockey, Tonalist, 5th) – “I had a good trip. It seemed like he was going well enough, but then I just didn't have anything to fire with. He was a little more aggressive than I thought he would be. He settled really well on the backstretch then didn't come with anything.”

Joe Talamo (jockey, Hard Aces, 6th) – “He just wasn’t in the game. The winner was way too much. My horse ran his heart out but it just wasn’t enough. But it’s great to be in a race like this.”

Kiaran McLaughlin (trainer, Frosted 7th) – “He flattened out late. Very disappointed. Thought we could be second or third, not sixth or seventh.”

Joel Rosario (jockey, Frosted, 7th) – “Good trip. He went real nice and they just kept on going up front. The pace seemed honest, but it looked like American Pharoah just kept going."

Aidan O’Brien (trainer, Gleneagles (Ire), 8th) – “It was massive to ask the horse and he couldn’t quite get home. He’s a top class miler on fast ground and he’s had a long, hard season getting him ready for races. All we wanted for him was to come home safe and sound. The winner is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen.”

Ryan Moore (jockey, Gleneagles (Ire), 8th) – “It will be fair to say that he hated the track. He was never handling the surface and I knew that from a very early stage.”

The victory was Bob Baffert’s second straight Breeders’ Cup Classic victory and his 12th overall. He is ranked second only to D. Wayne Lukas, who has won 20.

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