VICTOR ESPINOZA, AMERICAN PHAROAH, WINNER: “All the way he was on a high cruising speed. He has such a long stride. He moves really nice and is light on his feet. When the other horse, (Calculator) got close to me, I encouraged my horse a little. He’s a young so I want to teach him that when he hits the stretch it’s time to go. I did, and he moved three or four lengths in front. He’s one of the best 3-year-olds right now.”
ELVIS TRUJILLO, CALCULATOR, SECOND: “A perfect ride. I didn’t want to trail too far behind. At the quarter-pole, I dropped a little early and the winner opened and I said, ‘OK, lets’ go.’ It’s a good second. The horse had plenty left in him.”
BOB BAFFERT, AMERICAN PHAROAH, WINNER: “I can’t believe his demeanor, how he’s changed since his first out. He’s so professional. He’s really mentally there. It showed in the way he worked the other day. (Jockey Joe) Steiner worked him and I asked him if he’s worked a horse like this in a while. He used to work all my horses. He said it reminded him of the good ol’ days. The horse just has that extra ‘something.’ What a performance. You’re always hoping for that but you never know what it’s going to be. I was in shock after his first out and it’s a lot of work by the entire team and it really showed today.
“The second you see them coming around the far turn the first thing you think is can he go two turns? Right away that’s what you think and when he opened him up and pulled away I knew he can go two turns.
“He’s different from Pioneerof the Nile. Pioneer took a while to relax. This horse has a lot of brilliance. What I’m noticing is that he’s putting brilliance into his offspring. I think he gets it from his mother who was brilliant (Star of Goshen) I think it’s from her. He doesn’t look like an Empire Maker (his sire), either. There’s something there that is making him an unbelievable sire.”
PETER MILLER, CALCULATOR, SECOND: “The horse ran super. I’m really happy with the way he ran. The winner got an easy lead with a slow pace. He’s not likely to see that in the Breeders’ Cup, so we know we can run with him, especially if we get a little better pace scenario.”
(Is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile still in play?) “Absolutely, absolutely.”
NOTES: Winning owner/breeder Ahmed Zayat is from Hackensack, NJ.This is the seventh time Baffert has won this race, five times when it was run as the Norfolk Stakes from 1970 through 2011 and twice as the FrontRunner.