Here & There – Derby Preps

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The action came fast and furious for an extended stretch of about three hours Saturday afternoon as graded stakes were run at tracks across North America and Kentucky Derby dreams were realized or crushed. The Wood Memorial, Toyota Blue Grass and Santa Anita Derby were the big ones and they got people talking.

From the comfort of the couch at ST Publishing’s outpost in Saratoga Springs we gathered up the best quips and quotes of the day, either from the live simulcast feed or the national broadcast on the NBC Sports Network.

We’ll throw in the most recent ranking of Derby contenders so you’ll know where your pick ranks on the list, along with replays of the three main events so you can relive the magic. Enjoy.

Worth Repeating

“This is home and this is the second biggest race in Kentucky in my opinion.” – Dale after winning the Blue Grass with Brody’s Cause

“Now we know she has one other dimension.” – Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer after Songbird handled sloppy track winning the Santa Anita Oaks

“Exaggerator has gone by them like they were tied to the rail.” – Santa Anita Park announcer Michael Wrona about the Santa Anita Derby winner

“Didn’t you guys know? All pickup mounts, they win.” – Joe Bravo after riding Undrafted to victory in the Shakertown at Keeneland

“He’s kind of like his owner, a little guy but he’s tough.” – Wesley Ward on Undrafted and co-owner Wes Welker

“He broke stupidly sharp last time, which horses don’t do.” – Jimmy Jerkens on Unified’s very fast break in Feb. 21 maiden race at Gulfstream

“We never shy about stretching them out. … It’s always good to stretch them out in increments.” – Jerkens after Unified won the 7-furlong Bay Shore in his second career start

“What she did today you have to just love her.” – Bravo on Madison Stakes winner Sheer Drama

“Actually the racing office…” – Trainer David Fawkes when asked what made him decide to shorten up Sheer Drama to 7 furlongs for the Grade 1 Madison

“I loved the performance.” – Todd Pletcher on Outwork’s victory in the Wood Memorial

“I think there’s a chance.” – Pletcher, when asked about Outwork’s chances stretching out to 10 furlongs for the Kentucky Derby

“Why was he so far back? … I think they go forward with him and I think he has a reason to improve.” – Retired Hall of Fame jockey and NBC analyst Jerry Bailey assessing Shagaf’s disappointing fifth in the Wood Memorial as the 9/5 favorite

“Uncle Mo is hot indeed as a sire.” – NBC’s Tom Hammond after Outwork won the Wood Memorial

“If it’s Keeneland, beware, it’s Rusty Arnold.” – Keeneland announcer Kurt Becker after Weep No More sprang huge upset in Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland

“I guess the fig didn’t lie.” – NYRA’s Jason Blewitt on Shagaf’s slow speed figure prior to his win in the Gotham Stakes in Gulfstream allowance-optional

“What he is supposed to do.” – Bailey on Blue Grass winner Brody’s Cause

“We’re going into the Kentucky Derby in perfect form. … The further the better.” – Dale Romans after Brody’s Cause held off My Man Sam to win the Toyota Blue Grass

“We’ll take a one-two punch into Kentucky.” – Romans, who will also run Cherry Wine in the Derby if his 25 points get him in (see below to see where he ranks)

“Completely unfazed by the conditions … The result was a foregone conclusion a long way from home. Songbird soaring to even greater heights, she’s an Oaks winner.” – Santa Anita Park announcer Michael Wrona on undefeated Songbird

“We plan to keep thinking the way that we are … the next point race is the Kentucky Oaks.” – Hollendorfer after being asked about Songbird in the Kentucky Derby

“If that doesn’t make an owner smile after the way she’s run the last seven times they should try another business.” – A smiling Rick Porter after his Songbird crushed the Santa Anita Oaks field

“I’d never used anybody out in California and I chose Jerry. … He’s done a magnificent job. He has wonderful people working for him and that’s the secret to success I think.” – Porter on Hollendorfer

“Can’t wait to see him. I’m sure it’s going to be pretty emotional.” – Bob Baffert on visiting Triple Crown winner American Pharoah later this spring

When I went to nine I was kind of silently sad.” – Stevens on winning his record ninth Santa Anita Derby and passing Bill Shoemaker in 2003 on Buddy Gil

“If I ever get a horse I’m going to name him Hammond’s Hoopla after you.” – NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno to Tom Hammond

“The theory that Exaggerator doesn’t want to go a mile and an eighth is greatly exaggerated.” – NBC’s Randy Moss

“I love the mud … Louisiana-bred baby.” – Trainer and Cajun Keith Desormeaux after Exaggerator won the Santa Anita Derby

“It’s Hollywood for me, he’s been a great for years. I’m the one living the dream.” –

Keith Desormeaux on story of brothers going to the Derby

“He walked to the gate like an old pony. … It reminded me of Texas Red.” – Kent Desormeaux on Exaggerator


Points, points, points
Saturday’s key Kentucky Derby preps shook up the point standings that determine the 20 spots in the starting gate for the May 7 classic. Here’s the updated standings for those still under consideration for the Derby through Saturday.

  1. Gun Runner (Steve Asmussen), 151
  2. Nyquist (Doug O’Neill), 130
  3. Exaggerator (Keith Desormeaux), 126
  4. Outwork (Todd Pletcher), 120
  5. Brody’s Cause (Dale Romans), 114
  6. Lani (Mikio Matsunaga), 100
  7. Mor Spirit (Bob Baffert), 84
  8. Mohaymen (Kiaran McLaughlin), 80
  9. Danzing Candy (Cliff Sise Jr.), 60
  10. Destin (Todd Pletcher), 51
  11. Cupid (Bob Baffert), 50
  12. *Oscar Nominated (Mike Maker), 50
  13. Shagaf (Chad Brown), 50
  14. Tom’s Ready (Dallas Stewart), 44
  15. Majesto (Gustavo Delgado), 40
  16. Trojan Nation (Paddy Gallagher), 40
  17. My Man Sam (Chad Brown), 40
  18. Mo Tom (Tom Amoss), 32
  19. Fellowship (Stanley Gold), 32
  20. Adventist (Leah Gyarmati), 32
  21. Laoban (Eric Guillot), 32
  22. Uncle Lino (Gary Sherlock), 29
  23. Cherry Wine (Dale Romans), 25
  24. Whitmore (Ron Moquett), 24
  25. Azar (Todd Pletcher), 20

*-Not Triple Crown nominated but owner plans to pay $200,000 supplement (However, preference is given to original nominees in the event the race overfills)

Two preps remaining on the schedule – Saturday’s Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland Race Course.


Tweets of the Day

Richard Migliore (@RichardMigliore): “Great performance by Outwork in the Wood. I hope the ride @AaronGryder gave the runner up doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Steve Z (@KuddZee33): “It won’t go unnoticed by the owners when they enter the maiden in the Derby.”