Travers (G1) Quotes

December 10, 2019

Rafael Bejarano, rider of runner-up American Freedom (No. 2): "I had to go for it. I was really comfortable the whole race. It was a good second for my horse. The winner, he was just the best. The winner, he went for it and he was still holding. I knew this horse [Arrogate] could run all day; it was the best I could get from my horse.

"I would say my horse didn't really want to go more than a mile-and-an-eighth. A mile-and-a-quarter might have been too much for him, but he tried really hard today."

Steve Asmussen, trainer of third-place finisher Gun Runner (No. 14) and seventh-place finisher Creator: "We ran into a freak today, who ran the fastest Travers in [1:59.36]. I honestly thought [2:02] would win the race. I think that's about right where we were [with Gun Runner]. I thought Florent gave him a great trip from the No. 14 draw. He wheeled out a little early at the three-eighths pole because he thought he had a lot of horse, but that horse on the lead [Arrogate], he didn't back up at all. That probably cost him second, chasing something late that you're not catching early. On a dry track, we saw how very high quality Gun Runner is, and it is very comforting to be able to throw out the Haskell [fifth on a sloppy track] now. With that being said, he was third today in a very fast running of the race. On Creator, watching him around the turn, and Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] was riding him around the turn. He just doesn't run the turns here very well. When they went down the backside, I thought Irad had him in a great spot, the fractions were obviously solid because he [Arrogate] never slowed down, but he didn't handle the turn. Gun Runner ran solid today, without winning."

Jockey Junior Alvarado, jockey aboard fourth-place finisher Gift Box (No. 9): "I thought he ran great. It was like I pictured before the race and it was exactly what happened. I couldn't be any happier with the spot I in was all the way around. At the three-eighths pole, I did get a little bit excited. When I asked him he started picking it up very nicely. They just kept running fast in front. They never backed up a little bit but he still ran a great race."

Chad Brown, trainer of fourth-place finisher Gift Box (No. 9), sixth-place finisher Connect (No. 10) and eighth-place finisher My Man Sam (No. 3): "I thought Gift Box and Connect got great trips. I loved that they had no one around them in the middle of the pack there, no traffic, with a really strong pace up front. I was feeling good midway down the backside but, boy, that was some performance. I don't know that I've ever seen a performance like that in any Travers. For Bob Baffert to run 1-2, he brought two well-prepared horses. Hats off to him and his team."

Keith Desormeaux, trainer of beaten favorite and 11th-place finisher, No. 7 Exaggerator: "He said he got bumped a little, but other than that we had the trip we wanted. Other than that, no excuses. Kent Desormeaux, jockey aboard beaten favorite Exaggerator (No. 7): "I wouldn't have any idea."

Eric Guillot, trainer of 12th-place finisher, No. 13 Laoban: "I think Baffert has 150 of the best-bred horses in the world, that's what I think. There will be five of them you can't outrun every year. He [Laoban] was too fresh. He fought."

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