Joe HirschTurf Classic (G1) Quotes

December 10, 2019

Chad Brown, winning trainer of Big Blue Kitten (No. 3), runner-up Slumber (No. 5) and fifth-place finisher Shining Copper (No. 7): "I thought they both [Big Blue Kitten and Slumber] ran terrific. Today, Big Blue Kitten got the better of Slumber at a mile and a half. I'm proud of both horses. The race pretty much went the way I expected. Shining Copper has run admirably all summer as the pacemaker for us; nearly won a couple of Grade 1s. I didn't want to deter from our plan of him being the pacemaker, and we stuck with that plan. He did his job and set up the race for Big Blue Kitten and his stablemate. Maybe with 70 yards to go, I was a little concerned, but he had enough. Very impressive effort today."

"The Breeders' Cup is such a difficult event not only to get to, but to win. We've been very fortunate in the Breeders' Cup. At this point, we're trying to identify horses who are worthy of competing on the world stage, and then, from there, you're extremely lucky if you're able to win a race. So I'm not getting ahead of myself. We're in the process, these last round of preps, of trying to identify horses who belong in the Breeders' Cup. A horse like Big Blue Kitten would be one, and we have a big weekend of racing both here and at Keeneland next weekend."

Joe Bravo, winning rider of Big Blue Kitten (No. 3) "He's just such a good horse, so honest and puts you to it all. You're watching the pace, but it's kind of nice to sit back and see the pace unfolding. The pace was sort of 'stop go, stop go' but at the top of the stretch, I said 'go' and he said 'okay.' I had my hands full with him but I thought. 'hey, let them catch us now.'" "When it comes down to it, he's an amazing horse and he deserves to hold a track record. He's done so good that he makes you look good."

Irad Ortiz, Jr., runner-up jockey aboard Slumber (No. 5): "I had a perfect trip. No complaints. I just got beat by the best horse. Big Blue Kitten is a very nice horse. I'm happy for my horse because the last time he got in a lot of trouble and I never really got to ask him to run. He didn't have any trouble today, he got a clear trip and showed that he can run with those horses."

Javier Castellano, jockey aboard beaten post-time favorite Red Rifle (No. 1): "He ran a good race. It was a good setup, no speed in the race I just followed the pacesetter all the way, it just wasn't his day today."

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