JAVIER CASTELLANO, BOLT D’ORO, WINNER: “He broke really well out of the gate and put me in a good spot in the race. He broke and shot out of the gate and put me where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be too far back and I think it was a perfect ride for him. I was concerned a little bit in the last part of the race, especially around the last sixteenth. I think that my horse tried to hold back to force inside and we had some contact. They say he tried to intimidate my horse and that is why I couldn’t get past him. I wish it would’ve just been the two horses running straight in the race. We were the best two horses in the race. I just want to see who the better horse is.”
MIKE SMITH, MCKINZIE, DQ’D TO SECOND: “That last hit where he hit me in the ass, he turned me out. I was just trying to ride my own race and he was on top of me. At the quarter pole, after the quarter pole and through the lane he hit me and turned me out. I mean he’s got the whole racetrack and he’s on top of me on the fence.
“Anytime it takes that long and you’re the one who won, you certainly don’t like it. I didn’t feel that I did anything. I was forced out. He hit me hard behind and it took me out. It turns you out.
“Well . . . you win some that way and I guess you lose some that way.”
MICK RUIS, OWNER/TRAINER BOLT D’ORO, WINNER: “This was a steppingstone and that’s all we needed. He’ll come back good. We wanted to run a good race. I don’t think the fans and everybody else could have had a better finish from the two horses they thought were going to run like they expected.
“Bolt hadn’t run in a while. I had one three-quarter work in him; this wasn’t the race we were looking forward to. We’re looking forward to the Santa Anita Derby (April 7) and then that next race that I won’t mention yet (Kentucky Derby May 5).”
Asked is this was the best he ever felt in defeat: “Oh, yes. Coming into this race, (he dragged them)
from the receiving barn to the paddock. In the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Nov. 4), his head came down a little bit, he didn’t have as much life. The horse is good right now. Hopefully, we’re moving forward and he’ll be at his best in a couple months. This horse has the heart of a lion. Nine weeks ago he was undergoing a nuclear scan and here we are today. Just being within a nose of Baffert, I’m happy.
“I wasn’t even thinking about the inquiry the whole time. I was just so proud of Bolt, and if he got moved up, he did. This wasn’t the race we were really pointing for. We want to go to the Santa Anita Derby, but getting moved up is awesome; we’ve got enough (Kentucky Derby qualifying) points (50).”
BOB BAFFERT, MCKINZIE, SECOND: (Before the DQ) “They’re taking way too long for this. The longer this goes it certainly isn’t good. But, after the way that horse hit McKinzie at the top of the stretch . . . give me a break. It was game over.
(After the announcement of McKinzie being disqualified) “That’s some bulls . . . Javier had a better story, I guess. I’m shocked, after the way he hit us at the top of the stretch. I don’t know what they’re looking at, but apparently he talked them into it. That’s why they should never talk to the jockeys, just watch it themselves.”
DARREL MCHARGUE, CHRB CHIEF STEWARD, EXPLANATION OF STEWARDS INQUIRY: “It was a unanimous vote, yes. There were two incidences at the top of the stretch. The shots that were shown were inconclusive as to who initiated the contact at the head of the stretch. So they couldn’t be clear on any one horse. The incident inside the sixteenth pole was clear.
“McKinzie, number four, came out under a left handed whip and shifted number one, Bolt d’Oro, out, off his path and cost him a better placing. The margin of win was only a head so therefore, McKinzie was taken down.”
WAYNE HUGHES, OWNER OF SPENDTHRIFT FARM WHERE BOLT D’ORO WILL BE RETIRED TO STUD, WINNER: “I was pretty darn excited when we heard the announcement and that’s when I thought it ok to come down to the Winner’s Circle. We could see clearly that there was interference. Mike was hitting left handed, driving them into Bolt.
“His last work was off the chart. We were very excited going into today. Mick is a good trainer. He might be new but he’s not fresh. He’s got some judgment about him and I give him the credit.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Mick and Wendy Ruis, Ruis Racing, LLC.