December 10, 2019

JIMMY JERKENS, trainer of EFFINEX (winner): “He ran so well last time and it looked like he never missed a beat with his training and everything else afterwards so that’s why we decided to come. We broke a step slow and then they kind of converged on him and they went like a bat out of hell so he just sat there and went in behind them.

“He’s just a good quality horse. He’s really come around since that weird effort at Saratoga where he went crazy from behind the gate. I still don’t know what that was about, but he’s been all business since then. He ran a hard race in the Breeders’ Cup, but he shipped all the way back on the van and acted like a fresh horse so we decided to come back. We didn’t really make a final decision until the week before. We were sure we could get Mike [Smith] to do it and we were sure that he wanted to come. We didn’t know what he had elsewhere but he definitely wanted to come so that helped us a little bit.

“Maybe we’ll send him to Florida, I don’t know yet. He’s such a tough horse, as long as there’s someone around taking good care of him that’s all he cares about.”

MIKE SMITH, jockey of EFFINEX (winner): “He’s done some quirky things. He’s bolted before, he’ll switch leads in the middle of the turn with you to the right, which is very odd for a horse to do that. He’ll kind of throw himself off and I just took a long hold and keep my hands down and just let him get comfortable with himself. Every move he does, I just go with and it seems to work out well. Instead of grabbing him and trying to make him stay in his left down the turn and stay in his right down the lane, I just go with him and it works. So far, so good. I’m very blessed, just to get the opportunities like this. I always love coming in and getting to ride these good horses and when you point these good horses in the right direction and stay out of their way, you get results like this.”

MARTIN GARCIA, jockey of HOPPERTUNITY (second): “The other two horses (Mr. Z and Shotgun Kowboy) showed the speed and I tried to follow them. The speed was fine here all day long and I didn’t want to be too far back. My horse ran a big race but I just couldn’t pass the other one (Effinex). The other one is a really, really nice horse. When I got next to him, he just took off. I couldn’t pass him. But my horse ran a nice race. I got beat by a good horse.”

VICTOR LEBRON, jockey of LOOKS TO SPARE (third): “We had a bad break. The horse got a little erratic as soon as they shut the last door (in the starting gate). He just hopped out in the air. At that moment I had to give away three or four lengths and had to go to Plan B, which was sit and wait and make the one run at the end. I mean, he’s a nice horse. Once I pulled the trigger on him to go, he was there and responded quick.”

DALE ROMANS, trainer of KEEN ICE (fourth): “I think that he proved he can run with anybody and that a mile-and-a-quarter is his game. I really think he’s going to be the best handicap horse by the end of next year. It’ll be up to (Donegal Racing manager partner) Jerry (Crawford) but I’d love to win a $10 million race with him (Dubai World Cup).”

COREY LANERIE, jockey of KEEN ICE (fourth): “He ran big. I got farther back than I wanted to but I had to just kind of let him find his stride without asking him. I wanted him to finish for me. I had a perfect trip. We came right up the middle and at one point I thought I was going to get nothing. Then he kicked it in and showed his heart and found some more. It was a little late but another couple of jumps and I think he wins.”

JOHN VELAZQUEZ, jockey of RACE DAY (fifth): “I had a perfect trip in the right position. We were drafting right behind the two leaders down the backstretch and got to the half-mile pole with the winner (Effinex) next to me. The winner kept running and mine didn’t.”

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