Here & There from the Derby

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Derby Week. Doug O’Neill returns for another Derby. Shug McGaughey aims for his first. Bob Baffert sits one out. Todd Pletcher unfurls a handful. Gary Stevens is back. John Velazquez is back. Lines Of Battle landed. Verrazano is undefeated in four starts. Revolutionary has won three in a row. Normandy Invasion is brewing. No horse has trained better than Orb.

Worth Repeating…

“I think we have the right horse this time.” – Trainer Shug McGaughey, about returning to the Derby

“It’s great to be back in my new Kentucky home.” – British-born announcer Mark Johnson

“What do you think?” – Johnson, when asked if it’s more difficult to call the Derby in the slop

“The good horses have run good races.” – HRRN’s Mike Penna about the Derby preps

“I can’t believe I’ve been this lucky to be involved with so many great people and such a great horse in Goldencents. It’s been an incredible week, incredible year really.” – Trainer Doug O’Neill, returning to the Derby a year after winning it with I’ll Have Another

“This is what racing is.” – O’Neill, about the Kentucky Derby

“I’m leaning towards watching along the rail again. It worked last year. We’ll see if we can go back-to-back from the rail.” – O’Neill, about where he was going to watch the Derby this year

“It’s like a bulls eye, we’ve hit around it.” – Trainer Ken McPeek about his Derby record, that includes a second from Tejano Run

“These horses are in with a chance. You don’t know when it’s your turn.” – McPeek, about sending Frac Daddy and Java’s War

“You never know about luck.” – Jockey Julien Leparoux, when asked about finding a good trip on Java’s War

“No, no. Not me.” – Trainer Helen Pitts, when seeing a microphone Thursday morning

“I wonder if Baffert’s going to enter him late.” – HRRN Jude Feld, after seeing Govenor Charlie gallop Wednesday morning (look out Preakness)

“My little brother just had another kid, he’s broke, he needs to hit the superfecta.” ­– Fair Hill Auto’s Dave Green, looking for a tip on the Derby

“Did you see that?” – Exercise rider Jen Patterson, after a loose horse upset a morning gallop with Woodford Reserve candidate Point Of Entry Friday

“Where did I go?” – Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, when told it was nice to see him back

“There are cycles in every sport, you’re up and you’re down. It’s up to you to keep going.” – Prado, who rides Charming Kitten in the Derby

“Tony Dutrow told me everything about this filly. I just picked up where he left off.” – Trainer Tom Amoss, after So Many Ways won the Eight Belles

“I thought she was going to get there.” – Jockey Garrett Gomez, after Beholder finished second in the Kentucky Oaks

“She lost it in the post parade.” – Gomez, about last year’s champion juvenile filly Beholder

“All the pressure is going to be from where I’m at and coming in, I think all the way to Verrazano, there isn’t any speed inside me, so at least I’ll be able to feather my way over from there and hopefully follow a good jockey like Johnny Velazquez and save some ground, I know he doesn’t want to be too far inside because I’ve watched him ride him, he’s not going to try to crowd his way over. I can drop right in behind Johnny and save some ground. I’d rather be out there than down inside, especially on him because he has enough speed to get away from a lot of the horses. Some stuff will be happening on the inside and hopefully I can capitalize on that.” – Gomez, about riding Vyjack from the outside post

“Lookin At Lucky, he’s one that got away, because he came back and won the Preakness, the 1 post killed us. It was a disaster, but that’s part of horse racing, nobody ever said this race was easy to win. You only get one chance at it every year, when it’s over, you’re like, ‘Damn, now I’ve got to wait another year to try again.’ ” – Gomez about his nine previous rides in the Derby

“It was such a blur, it took Mine That Bird to make me realize what I accomplished in my life.” – Three-time Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel

“The inside is better at Churchill than anywhere else. I don’t know why, but it’s always been that way.” – Borel, on riding the rail at Churchill Downs

“No sir.” – Borel, when asked if he was going to ask why

“I went into the Santa Anita Derby knowing what I had to do to win the Santa Anita Derby. The day we drew the races, I pulled the owners up to the window and I showed them exactly how I was going to ride the horse and that’s exactly how I rode the horse.” – Jockey Kevin Krigger, about riding Goldencents in the Kentucky Derby

“I know what to do and I’m just going to do it.” – Krigger, about his plan for his first Derby ride

“I’m not superstitious.” – WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden, while wearing a Gemologist shirt

“It plays a big role. I saw my first Derby in 1942 when Shut Out won it. I went to the Derby every year, I covered the Derby for a chain of newspapers. It’s a hell of thing. When you buy yearlings and 2-year-olds, you think of the Derby.” – Dogwood Stable’s Cot Campbell

“My enthusiasm remains the same, I’m very realistic about it. It’s a heck of a difficult race to win, you’ve got to have an awful good horse and he’s got to be lucky that day and maybe you need somebody else to be unlucky. I love being here. I’ve got more Derbies in my past than in my future.” – Campbell, three days before the Derby

“I’ve ridden in enough Derbies, I want to know I have a chance. I think every horse in the Derby will have a legitimate shot this year, just because of the way things are shaking out.” – Gary Stevens, who rides Oxbow in the Derby, earlier this spring

“The racing hasn’t changed. Not for me. I’m seeing things in slow motion again, which is great, that’ll come and go because I know this game goes in cycles, to stay mentally focused year round is tough to do. It took a while for that to come back and it’s just coming back, but it’s there.” – Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, about his comeback at age 50

“The bigger the field, the more chances of things happening. I used to love to ride a 12-1 choice in a full field, a lot of things can go wrong and you still have a chance of winning. If you’re on the fifth-to-best horse in a 12 horse field, you have a chance. If you’re on the fifth-to-best horse in a five-horse field, guess where you’re going to finish.” – Stevens, thinking about a 19-horse field in the Derby