JOE TALAMO, MUCHO GUSTO, WINNER: “Every race, he getting better and better. I’m glad I’ve been working him, because he’s worked better, too. He settled today like he’s been doing this a hundred times…He galloped out real strong. I don’t think distance is going to be any problem. At the three eighths (pole), I was pretty confident. He’s a 3-year-old, but he feels like an older horse. He’s got a great mind.”
“Those first two horses hopped off there pretty quick so I didn’t want to go head and head with speed there; he’s such a cool horse, he settled so nice, Bob’s done a great job with him in the morning like with a lot of horses. I just kinda rode him like he worked him in the morning, he absolutely loved the mud today.”
MIKE SMITH, GUNMETAL GRAY, SECOND: “He ran okay. He was climbing a lot. He had a lot to (overcome).
BOB BAFFERT, MUCHO GUSTO, WINNER: “It was good. He got to sit off the pace, which was good. They have to learn to do that, and I was really happy with Joe (Talamo). He rode him with a lot of confidence today, like he was a good horse, and he (Joe) was on his own. I didn’t give him any instructions.
“He said, ‘What should I do?’ I said, ‘You need to WIN THIS RACE. That’s what you need to do.’ When we bought him, he worked in the slop at Timonium and he just smoked over it . . . but he’s a good horse. He’s a fighter, too. If they’d have hooked him, he likes to fight. This is the time of the year when you want to start getting excited about something (on the Triple Crown trail). We’re still dreaming in Technicolor, but they have to start performing and they have to move forward from here, but it’s a fun position to be in.
“I want to run him in spots where he’s going to be very competitive, and we have those other horses, so it depends on what the other horses are doing. Right now I’m going to nominate my horses everywhere and whoever’s doing great that week runs in that race . . . Let the games begin.
“I know that Joe (Talamo) rode the horse with a lot of confidence today, and we talked about after the Los Alamitos (12/8/18 where he came in second to Improbable), I told him to get to the next level he has to learn to relax, so today was a good day to get him back off those horses, he rode him like he’s a good horse and he responded like a good horse.
“We’re just happy that the horse has been doing well and Michael (owner Petersen) here he got into the business, we had some more spirit, we had some luck there and we’d been trying to get to the Derby, we had another good horse that needed some time off so this was actually the second stringer here but he’s a good horse.”
MICHAEL LUND PETERSEN, MUCHO GUSTO, WINNER: I just like standing on the other side of the bundle you know giving them carrots instead. It’s an amazing experience that’s why I own horses to see them race and hopefully once in a while we can get a win in.
“I texted Bob to see if I should come for the race and he was very confident. That’s pretty good.”
NOTES: The winning horse receives 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, the runner-up four, the third-place finisher two and the fourth, one. The winning owner is Michael Lund Petersen.