Cigar Mile (G1) Quotes

December 10, 2019

Christophe Clement, winning trainer of Tonalist (No. 5) and runner-up Red Vine (No. 3): "I'm always a little bit worried when I run him. The race was run in a funny way; they went so slow early on, which I didn't think was great for us. But that's what good horses do - they win and they overcome things. Great ride by Johnny [Velazquez]. I'm a very lucky man. They both ran very well. Joel [Rosario] came back and said he was very unlucky [on Red Vine]. The fun thing for me, as a trainer, was having the two best horses in the race. I'll have to talk with Mr. [Robert Evans about next year], but no matter what, they're both going to have a break."

John Velazquez, winning jockey aboard Tonalist (No. 5): "I got anxious a little bit when we passed the half-mile pole. We were going so slow on the backstretch and I could see the horse on the lead keep trying to get back, throwing his head up, and Javier [Castellano, aboard Mshawish] seemed to be taking back. I was thinking that we were just walking with these horses here. I was close enough I didn't worry about it but when we got to the turn, they started to move away from me. Now I wanted to do it little by little; I didn't want to shake him up too much and then not get him going, so I got him little by little, where he was comfortable. By the five-sixteenths pole, he started moving so I said OK, now he's moving. Another horse came to him by the quarter-pole, I don't know who that was, and he got into the bridle and started running. My job was trying to put him in the clear, run him in the clear. When I got him clear and hit him, he responded right away. The last sixteenth of a mile was really good, very exciting."

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