MIKE SMITH, MR. COMMONS, FIRST: "Since I got through it was great. I've learned that you can point this horse at a wall and he'll run through it if I ask him to. He really does everything you tell him so normally when you're that big of a favorite you'll probably go around but I was going to be able to cut the corner and make up three lengths. All I need is a very small seam with him."

MARTIN PEDROZA, ULTIMATE EAGLE, THIRD: “He ran good, but the race did not set up right. I wanted to break sharp and see if they would let me take the lead even though I knew the pace was going to be quicker than the last three times that he ran. This horse doesn’t necessarily have to be on the lead, but he’s very tough when he’s in front. It’s hard to go 45 and one-eighth, especially when I’m on a horse like that and I’m on the inside. If I did that I would have looked like an idiot, so I thought I did the right thing.”


JOHN SHIRREFFS, MR. COMMONS, WINNER: “It was good to have Mike Smith back in the saddle like that. Whatever Mike wants to do, I’m just fine with that. It’s better to have a win on Opening Day than to have your first one on Closing Day. He recovers very well and has been training forward all along.”

NOTES: The winning owner is Ian Banwell of Versailles, Ky., who races as St. George Farm Racing, LLC.