Gotham (G3) Quotes

December 10, 2019

Rick Violette, winning trainer of Samraat (No. 1A): "This is a real horse now. We knew he had a shot to be a real horse after the Withers; he proved he is a real horse today. This was a good field. It was a deep field of horses. The weight had me worried. We picked up five pounds from last time; that's a big shift. I'd be lying if I said we weren't already thinking [about the Kentucky Derby]. At this stage, we didn't want to do anything that would prevent us from going to the Derby. A couple of races before the Derby probably toughens him, but this was another stretch-long, hard duel, but Jose [Ortiz] never hit him. He's an honest racehorse and there might be a little left. Today, he graduated big time. His last race was a terrific race and this was a notch above that. He was pretty impressive today. He leaves for Florida tomorrow. The Wood [Memorial, Grade 1, $1 million, April 5] is a real possibility. That would be our best option as long as the horse cooperates and tells us that we should get on a plane and come up for it."

Jose Ortiz, winning jockey aboard Samraat (No. 1A): "He has a lot of heart, he's a nice horse. We had a good trip, broke from the eight post. As soon as we got to the first turn I was third behind the two leaders, and that's where I wanted to be. He responded very good. In the stretch when I showed him the whip a little bit, he was lugging in, but he never made contact with other horses. I just hand rode him and he responded very good, and I tried to keep him straight. He runs good when he's in the front, but I rated him the last two times and he responded and passed horses and kept running. That's a nice horse. I think he's going to handle [additional distance] very good."

Leonard Riggio of My Meadowview Farms, winning owner of Samraat (No. 1A): "We thought he might need a little more time [after the Withers]. The horse bounced back pretty quick. He's a magnificent horse, and that was some race."

Gary Contessa, trainer of runner-up Uncle Sigh (No. 4): "Samraat is a nice horse. Now I'm a believer. We closed the gap on him a little bit today, and my horse is still very young. He was intimidated and he got bumped, and he might have been a little bit cautious down in there, but we're getting better. He's certainly developing."

Do you plan to compete in the Wood Memorial? "Absolutely. It's still home-field advantage, it's a mile and an eighth on the main track, I love the distance. God willing, and, if the horse is sound, we'll come back in the Wood."

Corey Nakatani, jockey aboard runner-up Uncle Sigh (No. 4): "These young colts, he was trying to run, but he [had] no room to stride. He's getting a lot of experience out of this. I thought he ran a great race. I thought they'd go a little bit quicker."

Joe Rocco, Jr., jockey aboard third-place finisher In Trouble (No. 2): "Coming off a layoff we were concerned he might need a race, but he ran very game. Very game. He really dug in well and we're looking forward to see what he can do next time. [Tony Dutrow] thinks we're going to move forward with him, to the [Wood]."

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