MIKE SMITH, BAL A BALI, WINNER: “It went according to paper. The horses that I thought would be in front of me were. Although, I did think I would get an inside trip but was given an outside trip. I thought it was a good spot to be and it was a for sure thing.
“I might have tipped out a little early but I wanted to make Farhaan come around me instead of getting through before I got there. It worked out.
“Mr. Mandella had this horse double ready today. He’s been training this way and he ran that way today. I’m glad I finally got to ride him. I’ve worked him for everybody else so it’s nice to finally get him to myself.
“He’s got a natural high cruising speed.”
FLAVIEN PRAT, FARHAAN, SECOND: “We had a good trip. We sat behind the winner and when he made his move down the lane, we followed him. He ran hard, no excuses.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, THIRD ABOARD FAVORED HEART TO HEART: “He broke sharp and made the lead pretty easy. We were getting pressure, but he was comfortable. Turning for home, I thought we could win it. He tried very hard.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, BAL A BALI, WINNER: “He’s had some problems in his life and he’s had some nice owners, some of the best in the business, that have been willing to let me do what’s right by him. The fruits of that are what you saw.
“Mike rode him perfectly and he’s actually worked him quite a few times so he’s familiar with him.
“I like winning. He’s always had a habit of hanging out; more last year than this year. But he would come down that hill and see the gap to go home and it wasn’t a good thing for him last year. The mile kind of seems like his race and I’m going to stick to it.
“I thought he was in a good place. There did look like there was a lot of speed in here and it did become real at the half-mile pole but he was nice and relaxed. Seeing that I thought he should have the good finish that he has.
“Mike did the right thing and kept him out of trouble. He had a nice, quiet trip.
“The Breeders’ Cup Mile will be the long term goal.
“It’s very gratifying but you expect him to win every time because he’s a great horse. He’s had a few things that didn’t materialize but with the setbacks that he’s had…the industry needs to give him the credit due that he overcame it and came back to be such a good horse.
“In saying that, he’s had two sets of owners. The original owners, Mr. Rick Porter and Mr. Manganaro, who only wanted to do the best for him. Then, when Calumet picked up the breeding rights and decided to race him, they’ve only given me the encouragement to do the same thing. If all horses in the world had those kinds of owners they’d be better off.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Calumet Farm.