MIKE SMITH, MCKINZIE, WINNER: “This horse really has something in store. You’re really better off running him like this because you don’t take too much out of yourself. Bob brought him back here, gave him a little break and his energy came back up, his weight came back up and he was ready to run today. He was loaded from the word ‘go’. I think the only anxious moment was leaving the gate when he kind of stumbled but after that he got up and he was loaded from that point on.
I’ve said all along that we haven’t seen the best of him yet. When he learns to put a few of these in a row together, we’re going to see something special.”
IRAD ORTIZ, JR., IDENTITY POLITICS, SECOND: “We had a good trip, but I had to check a little bit coming out of the gate, so we got pinched back a little. We were second best today, but my horse is improving with every race.”
BOB BAFFERT, MCKINZIE, WINNER: “After the Breeders’ Cup he came back here and I told Mike (Smith) he was doing really well and Mike worked him a couple times for me. Because after the Breeders’ Cup Mike was like, ‘is he okay? He just quit.’ And I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it, it was my fault.'”
“Coming in to this race they were all training really well but the horse is just an outstanding individual. You could just tell he was getting in gear. His namesake is looking down on him today so I was pretty excited about that and the crowd, they were all in on him. Frank made the call turning for home you could hear the crowd really got in to it so it’s pretty exciting to see that.”
“The good ones show up and he showed up. Down the backside he was way back there and I thought, ‘Well, I hope they’re going really, really fast.’ When he came in to the picture that was a good sign because it’s going to be a longer day than I really thought.”
MIKE PEGRAM, PART OWNER, MCKINZIE, WINNER; REGARDING HIS 31 LENGTH DEFEAT IN THE BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC NOV. 3 AT CHURCHILL DOWNS: “We walked out of Louisville disappointed and today, the only thing I’m disappointed in is the price! We knew he was training well here for this…When you name a horse for someone (Brad McKinzie, late longtime executive at Los Alamitos), you’ve got something invested, beyond money. It did my heart good to see this horse get lucky today.
NOTES: The winning owners are Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.