Filly & Mare Sprint – Post-Race Interview Transcript – Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016

 

Ian Kruljac

Mike Smith

Wayne Seltzer

Tyler Seltzer

Eric Kruljac

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint is Finest City. Congratulations to all of you gentlemen. Incredible performance. We want to start with Mike Smith, the all-time winningest Breeders’ Cup jockey, because he’s got to ride some more today as we all know. So, Mike, we want to cut you loose. But maybe you can just describe the trip for us, your impressions of this race?

MIKE SMITH: Let’s start out with, man, he has just done a tremendous job getting this mare ready for this race. I love going along on the turf, back to middle distance sprint on the dirt. Why he chose me to ride her, I don’t know, but I’m sure happy he did. I was able to get on her a few times for him, and she was really going into this race great. He did a wonderful job of getting her ready. She jumped very well today. I was able to just kind of put my hands down. Once they go a mile and an 1/8th they learn to relax, like Mr. Kruljac, we were talking about it earlier. She was well within herself. I knew she had her air in her being that she was running the distance. So it was just a matter if we could hold them off, and she did a great job of doing that. Again, just happy that I was part of the team today.

Q. Mike, I think we know why they chose you to ride her. Does it ever get old being on the stage here at the Breeders’ Cup?
MIKE SMITH: No, it doesn’t. No, it doesn’t. We’re getting toward the end of my career, so every one of these means a whole lot to me. I’ve got to get that Breeders’ Cup record as high as I can. Because these young guys behind me, man, they’ll catch me so quick. So trying to get it as high as I can, and thank you all so much for giving me the opportunity. I appreciate it.

THE MODERATOR: Good luck in the Classic today, and if you need to go, by all means.

MIKE SMITH: Thank you, thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Ian Kruljac is the winning trainer. Ian, congratulations to you.

IAN KRULJAC: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: If I’m not mistaken, she’s your only winner on the year, correct?

IAN KRULJAC: Yes. I’ve had a couple seconds, I believe.

THE MODERATOR: Yeah, you’ve had two wins with her this year, and now you’ve got a Breeders’ Cup victory. You’ve been training for, what, five years on your own?

IAN KRULJAC: A year.

THE MODERATOR: Oh, a year on your own.

IAN KRULJAC: Or so. Who is counting (laughing)?

THE MODERATOR: Tell us what was going through your mind when she hit the wire and you won the Breeders’ Cup Race?

IAN KRULJAC: I saw the 10 coming at her, and she dug down and started to pull away more, so I know she’s got a lot of heart, and definitely a fighter.

THE MODERATOR: Just talk about your feelings on her coming into today and the way that she prepared for this race? How live did you think you were?

IAN KRULJAC: Well, to get a Group 1 for a filly is everything you can do in this game, especially on this stage. There’s nothing more you can dream for. So I’m very happy for her.

THE MODERATOR: Very good. We’re also joined by the winning owners Tyler and Wayne Seltzer. Tyler on the left, Wayne in the middle. Tyler, congratulations to you.

TYLER SELTZER: Thank you very much.

THE MODERATOR: Give us your impressions of this race today.

TYLER SELTZER: Well, I’ve got to tell you, my wife will tell I talk too much, so if I talk too much, just cut me off.

THE MODERATOR: No, by all means.

TYLER SELTZER: Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I went upstairs to my office in my house, and I found a mug from the first time I ever attended a Breeders’ Cup when I was 11 years old. It was November 1st, 1986, 30 years ago this month here at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. And I came with my mom. My mom’s no longer alive. And her initials are on the back of our silks. She’s been deceased for about nine years now. But I fell in love with horseracing at a very young age. To be back here 30 years later at a place like this in a race like this, with people like this and a horse like that, is just beyond belief. It’s really — I’m probably going to get too emotional, but it’s really special to be here. And I have my wife, my kids, in-laws, family friends, it’s a fantastic day. I’ve got to thank the Kruljacs, as I said out there. An honor to have a Hall of Fame legend to ride her, is pretty special.

THE MODERATOR: Can you talk about the connection between you guys and the Kruljac family and how you came to send this horse to Ian?

TYLER SELTZER: Sure, absolutely. So about 9 or 10 years ago, my father-in-law, who I should shout out to him as well, he’s back home in San Diego, he has some health problems, but he’s been going to the horse races at Del Mar for 40-plus years. So he was going to be here today, but he couldn’t come. So hopefully he’s watching at home. Lloyd, shout out to you if you are watching. He has known a lot of people in this game. So he introduced us to the Kruljacs, and I met Eric. We bought our very first yearling with him, a colt by the name of Triumphant Flight. We had some success. I actually was on my own at that time. And after one good horse my dad, Wayne, thought this seems like an easy game. You buy one horse with a trainer, you win Stakes races, let me get in on this as well. So we started with thoroughbreds and here we are ten years later. So through that time obviously got to know Ian really well. Have a tremendous amount of faith and trust in him, Eric, the whole family. Obviously it’s a family business, as owners, to deal with a wonderful family like that. I feel weird calling him a young man. I guess I am older than he is. But still he and his wife, just tremendous people. It’s nice to see — I guess I have to be careful how I say this, it’s nice to see some of the good guys win in this game. So it’s an honor to be here with them.

THE MODERATOR: Eric Kruljac is here in the corner. Ian, can you talk about what you learned from your father and the decision to go out on your own when you did?

ERIC KRULJAC: Well, I’m very fortunate to get a filly like this. So I’ve just taken her and she’s taken me and hopefully we keep going.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports