MIKE SMITH, HECK YEAH, WINNER: “I was telling Bob that down the backstretch I felt like I was in the Olympics (with this headwind.) I was trying to be as aerodynamic as possible. It was really strong and it took its toll on all of them in there. We had enough to hold them off though.
“The heavy track and the head wind were bothering him and I just tried to stay out of his way. I wanted him to stay in that nice rhythm and we were able to hold them off down the lane.”
GEOVANNI FRANCO, VIOLENT RIDGE, SECOND: “He settled real nice with me and he was very kind down the backside. I like the way he finished and he’s going to get better. The winner is a nice horse.”
BOB BAFFERT, HECK YEAH, WINNER: “I know this is the first Derby of the year that I’ve won. I’m really proud of this horse. Naturally, I think he’s a better turf horse but he gutted it out today. He showed his class when he broke his maiden over the dirt at Los Al. He’s quick, he’s got stamina, he’s gutsy and he has a lot of heart. You should bet him!
“He was very professional. The good horses show their stuff early. We saw that he was a nice horse early in his training. I’m just glad to be a part of it. We’ve got a good group here.”
MIKE PAGELER, BREEDER & CO-OWNER, HECK YEAH, WINNER: “This is great, more than I expected, really. This colt is the second foal out of the mare (Lutess). We’ve got a 2-year-old colt by Coil and she’s in Kentucky now to be bred to Arrogate.
When asked if he’d be inclined to try open company and test the Derby Trail? “It’s up to Bob, but I wouldn’t be opposed to taking a shot at one of those points races.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Robert Baedeker, Michael Pageler, and Dr. Michael Sigband.