MIKE SMITH, SHARED BELIEF, WINNER: “He surprises me every time. I have to pinch myself that I get to be his pilot. It’s Zenyatta, Holy Bull and then Shared Belief for me. I’m so blessed to have been able to ride all those great horses and to be the age I am and still be able to do this is a blessing.
“It’s on to the next one for me. I get to relax for a minute now. Now I can take a breath for a few hours anyway and then it’s back to business.
“I’m so humbled right now. Jerry has done such a tremendous job getting this horse to the races each and every time. It’s just incredible what they’ve done to get him here. He was probably at his best today and won with a whole lot left. He won well in hand, hopefully this race didn’t take too much out of him and we can move onto the next one.
“The perfect with him is just being in the clear, no matter what. Today I felt we just needed a clear, smooth trip. Jerry and I agreed that it was important to get away well today. My main concentration was to catch those first two or three steps and then after that it was just about pointing him in the right direction. He did the rest.
“No one has been as blessed as me to have been able to ride the two horses I got to ride to put the three in-a-row.
“He’s a dream to ride. He just oozed confidence today. He warmed up so good and everything was really great today. He looked probably the best he’s ever looked.
“Not to take away anything from the competition but I geared him down a few times and he still won like that.
“I was watching the TV from the quarter-pole to the wire and I feel bad to say this, but I was trying to not win by so far. It was a Handicap, I was wanting to not do that.
“As they say…don’t squeeze a lemon if you don’t have to.”
SANTIAGO GONZALEZ, MORENO, SECOND: “I wanted to be on the lead all the way until the other horses stopped hopefully. I had a lot of confidence and a lot of horse at the end but the other horse, Shared Belief, was just too much today.”
GARY STEVENS, CATCH A FLIGHT, THIRD: (On his post-race spill) “He was galloping back and I was relaxed and he was too relaxed; he was tired. He just tripped with me. He started to go down head-first and he caught himself. When he did, it shot me straight up in the air. I tried to tuck and I landed on my back. It knocked the wind out of me. I’m OK, but winded.
(On the race): “I thought I had a good shot. Mike (Smith) came up to me at the 5/16ths pole just loaded and I said, ‘Go get him, Mike.’ I thought I was going to be second; when I cut the corner, my horse liked it. Moreno ran huge; the top two finishers were just better today.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER, SHARED BELIEF, WINNER: “I think everybody was pretty calm and collected (when asked about the pressure of being such a prohibitive favorite). Shared Belief makes us look good, and he did it easy.
“I’m just so grateful to have a horse like this. You never expect it (to have a horse considered the best in the country), so I’m very pleased to have this horse and hope that we can keep him racing well like he has been.”
“I’m like Mike. I’m real grateful to have a horse like this. It doesn’t happen often.
“I haven’t talked about Dubai recently with the connections. I wouldn’t think that would change but I could be over-ruled I guess.
“We’ll wait a day or so and then send him back up to San Francisco.”
The future? “I’ll talk it over with my guys and we’ll try to make an intelligent decision. We kind of pointed to this race and thought about some other things, but we ended up here, so we’ll talk and make a good decision.”
On Shared Belief’s consistency: “It’s something that you don’t expect. Horses get ups and downs and he just stays the same and he does whatever we ask him to do and he seems very happy and enthusiastic about it.”
JIM ROME, SHARED BELIEF, WINNER: “It’s an amazing thing. It’s like he shows up every single time – he always runs big, is always tough, and just has a lot of grit, a lot of heart. It’s an absolute dream to be involved with a horse like this. He never disappoints. I couldn’t be more proud. I love the horse.
“You have a Hall of Fame jockey who always has the horse in the right spot. He’s been in all the big races and has always come through before, and you’ve got a horse that’s awfully tough to outfinish. That horse knows where the wire is, and he does not like to lose.
“I think a lot of people were caught up in ‘He’s not that big of a horse.’ But he’s long, he’s balanced. He’s not that tall, but if you cut that horse open and look inside him, you’ve got a heart that’s bigger than any horse you’ve ever seen. He looked awesome. When he has a good look at that wire, generally it ends up pretty well.”
“We love the horse and we want to keep the horse close to home. Dubai is an amazing race and an amazing opportunity but hopefully it will always be there and I just want to celebrate the moment. I couldn’t be more proud of him.
“He lives up (in San Francisco) and he trains up there so I miss him but for obvious reasons I have never spoken to Janet Hollendorfer. Every time this happens I say to Jerry to tell Janet that ‘I could not be more proud of her and she’s done an absolutely amazing job. Out of respect for Janet we have never met and we have never spoken but I always want Jerry and Janet to know that she has done an amazing job with that horse up there.”
-Mike Smith – “Amen. I second that.”
Rome Continued – “Can I add that we have a Hall of Fame trainer, a Hall of Fame jockey and a Hall of Fame jockey that works him up there in Russell Baze so we are surrounded by unbelievable quality.”
ERIC GUILLOT, MORENO, SECOND: “It was almost exactly the race we expected to run. It was a little faster than I expected with the fractions early. For $200,000 off nine weeks of training . . . we were supposed to go back in training yesterday, and he ran a mile and a quarter today . . . so I’m happy with this and not having to ship across the country. We’ll focus on Charlestown now.”
“At the wire, I thought we were going to be third, and I would have been happy with that, but the kid rode him relentlessly, and Moreno was game.”
NOTES: Mike Smith became the first jockey ever to win the Big ‘Cap three straight years. Today’s on-track attendance was 26,134. The winning owners are Jungle Racing (Jim and Janet Rome of Los Angeles); Jerry Hollendorfer of Point Richmond, CA; George Todaro of Seattle; Alex Solis III of Glendale; and Jason Litt of Lexington, Ky.