VICTOR ESPINOZA, ROYAL MO, WINNER: “He’s such a big, heavy horse. He doesn’t have that quickness for the first couple of strides. As soon as he gets into a rhythm though, he’ll keep going.
“I drew the inside. I wanted to be on the outside so I could track the leaders but I didn’t want to take any chances so I went to the front. I knew there wasn’t going to be much speed. The fractions weren’t too quick so I took advantage.
“There’s a big difference. He’s improving a lot. From the last few races to this race, he’s really coming along. He’s going in the right direction. Hopefully, we keep going all the way.”
JOHN SHIRREFFS, ROYAL MO, WINNER: “I was very happy with how he ran, the pace, the fractions, having that horse (Irap) outside of him, hooking him a little bit, so I think he showed a lot of character.
“You take it as it comes (when asked if he would keep Royal Mo and Gormley, ticketed for the San Felipe Stakes March 11) apart. Obviously you don’t really want to run them together. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I haven’t spoken with Mr. Moss about that, so we’ll see.”
DOUG O’NEILL, IRAP (2ND), TERM OF ART (4TH), DANGERFIELD (5TH): “Royal Mo just ran lights out. I think pace makes the race and the first half wasn’t overly quick. When you give a horse like Royal Mo an uncontested lead you’re going to be in trouble.
“We were curious how Irap would be with the blinkers and he was rank, so we answered that question.
“With Term of Art, it was the first time that Tyler has been on him and he suggested that he would be better with blinkers, so we’ll put them back on and I think Dangerfield just got caught behind a slow pace. He’s more of a one pace horse and in hindsight we should have used him a little more early in the race. So I think we got answers on all three.”
JERRY MOSS, OWNER, ROYAL MO: “This has been an amazing experience. We haven’t had two horses (Gormley and Royal Mo) in this position in a long time and it’s fun. We’re going to keep those two horses separated as long as we can. I’ll have to talk to John (Shirreffs), but I think we’ll go to Arkansas with one and stay here with the other. (Royal Mo) is almost 17 hands, but he’s still got some growing to do…We really don’t see anyone else coming up that scares us…This horse has been working great and the Derby is a great thing to dream about.”
NOTES: Winning owners Jerry and Ann Moss are from Beverly Hills.