Quotes from the $1 Million Toyota Blue Grass (G2)

Click here for a replay of the race

George Weaver (winning trainer of Vekoma) 

“The last start (where he ran third in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth [G2]), there was a pretty fast pace, and I told (Fountain of Youth jockey) Manny (Franco) to be conservative the first half-mile.

“I talked to (jockey) Javier (Castellano) before this race, and told him I wasn’t so worried about that. I wanted to know if he can go the distance. He’s got great tactical speed, (which) put him in a spot going into the first turn and just ride him natural.

“He’s so talented and he’s done things in the morning. I’ve really never had a colt like this in all the time I’ve trained. Nothing would surprise me.  If he comes out of it well, we’ll go to Louisville (for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve [G1]) and see what happens.

“I’m pretty tore up. I’m excited. I grew up in Kentucky and came to the Bluegrass when I was a kid, every year. Winning this race is very special.”

Javier Castellano (rider of Vekoma) 

“I like the way he broke out of the gate. In the first turn, I realized I didn’t want to dictate the pace. I tried to ride a smart race. I didn’t want to be too aggressive early; you have to save something for the end. So we tracked it. I liked the way he rated the first quarter mile, and I liked the way he finished. Every time I asked him, he kicked on a little bit.

“I’ve been learning about the horse. I’ve been watching his races. I really fell in love with the horse last week when I worked the horse.  I was very optimistic about winning the race today.”

Irad Ortiz Jr. (rider of runner-up Win Win Win)

 

“I didn’t win today, but I am so proud of this horse. He ran a great race. I got into a little traffic early and when I finally got him clear, I asked him to run, and he started to really turn it on. I think he can keep improving for the Derby. He’s a really nice horse.”

 

Michael Trombetta (trainer of Win Win Win)

 

“I don’t think we necessarily have to talk about distance being a limitation for him anymore. This was only his second start around two turns and he’s really starting to figure it out. Maybe the 1 1/4 miles in the Derby will be perfect for him.”



Brian Hernandez Jr. (rider of third-place finisher Signalman)

“We've been fortunate enough to work out some really good trips today; hopefully it’s all a building block on the first Saturday in May. It looks like we have enough points now to get in, so we’re excited about it. The Lewises (co-owners) are really excited since this will be their first Derby, and it looks like we’re going in there with a live horse. This will be his third race already in his 3-year-old career so you’ve gotta be excited. The race track has been playing speedy all day, and horses that have been close have been holding on, so we had to use our horse a little more than he may like but he still held on for a good third.”

Tyler Gaffalione (rider of fourth-place finisher Somelikeithotbrown)

“If you take into consideration the way the track’s been playing all day, I thought it (the pace) was pretty fair. In the filly race going a mile and a sixteenth (the Central Bank Ashland [G1]), they went :46 for the half. Speed held there. Speed’s been holding all day, so we tried to be a little aggressive. Just wasn’t our day.”

Mike Maker (trainer of Somelikeithotbrown)

“That’s his running style. He was fourth best today. It’s that simple. He handled the dirt well."

 

For more than 80 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. The world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland conducts four sales a year, in January, April, September and November, and its sales graduates dominate racing globally at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2015 and will hold the event again in 2020. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses and millions of dollars donated in support of horse industry initiatives and charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more, visit Keeneland.com.



For more information contact Amy Gregory at 859 361-3490 or Amy Owens at 859 421-2566