JOEL ROSARIO, ACCELERATE, WINNER: “He left the gate slow, but he recovered nicely. John (Sadler) told me he is a little slow to get going, so I just made sure we got ourselves in the game right away. I just wanted to get position and my horse was going comfortably. He loves to run. He was waiting on the turn and then he took off. He’s a really special horse and I’m thankful John gave me the opportunity to ride him the last two times.”
MIKE SMITH, WEST COAST, SECOND: “He really ran a huge race and had an incredible run. I couldn’t ask for more out of him. He really needed that push and we forced him to move forward a little more but I think that he did well and it was good for him. He should move forward and I think forcing him a little more really helped him and it was just what he needed. Overall he did good and really gave us a great run.”
JOHN SADLER, ACCELERATE, WINNER: “He wasn’t very good in the gate, didn’t stand very well and that’s probably my fault. He kind of missed the break. I should have taken him one more time to the gate to stand. But, he overcame it, got a nice clean trip and the best horse prevailed today.
“I felt good when he was clear all the way around there. He’s got a good kick.
“You’re always nervous in these races. He’s run so well and he’s been so consistent so you always hope he stays consistent so we’re very happy.
“Breeders’ Cup is obviously next up. We’ll train here at home and then go and follow Bob Baffert over there to Churchill about a week before. We’ll kind of walk behind Bob (Baffert) and creep up on him.
“We’re excited. We’ve got Catalina Cruiser working tomorrow so hopefully we’ll go over there to Kentucky with a strong hand. It’s a good feeling that we might go into the Classic the favorite because I like being the favorite. It has the highest probability of winning. He’s a good horse, doing great and probably the best horse in the country now, clearly. We’ll be ready.
“We overcame adversity today and also probably a really wide trip. They looked they were all floating him out a bit into that first turn.
“Another thing I’m looking forward to is that we know this horse likes an off racetrack and it rains over there (Kentucky). He’s just a solid horse. He’s a late foal and he’s continued to thrive. He had a good four-year-old year and he’s having a better five-year-old year. He’s just in peak condition.
“I’m not really concerned about this taking anything out of him. We kind of backed him up a bit from 1 ¼ miles so he’s not squeezed too dry. If everything comes out of this good it’ll be guns ahead.”
KOSTA HRONIS, ACCELERATE, WINNER: “He was a little feisty, but he’s not really a great gate horse anyway. It’s nice to see all those things that didn’t go his way today, and he still came out on top. It just shows what kind of horse he is.
“We’ve sort of decided that he’s better busy, and that’s the way we’ve approached it this year. We’ll just have to see where this path takes us, and hope that he likes the track at Churchill.”
“He was feisty in the gate. I think the guy grabbed him a little and he didn’t like that. According to Joel he was upset when he broke, but as long as he wasn’t boxed in, I felt the best horse was going to win.”
(Are you OK being the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic?): “We’ve been on all sides of this game, so we’re OK with that. Maybe a race like this is better for him than what happened in the Pacific Classic when he sort of just ran free. Maybe the gutsy performance is better for him. Joel said he was kind of waiting at the sixteenth pole for the competition and he just wanted to fight.”
BOB BAFFERT, WEST COAST, SECOND: “He’s got a chance to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic with this race under his belt. He made that horse run today. We got beat by a really good horse . . . (West Coast) was empty earlier than I thought, but his class kept him in it, he kept running. This race will really set him up well for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Kosta and Peter Kosta.