GEOVANNI FRANCO, DESERT STONE, WINNER: “I could see everybody bunching up and I knew the pace was pretty slow, but my horse was just waiting for me to turn him loose, so I didn’t worry about it. He’s always a handful. But he’s just doing really good. We expected him to run good today and I was very happy with the way he ran from off the pace. I’ve worked him a lot and he likes me and I like him.”
RICHARD BALTAS, DESERT STONE, WINNER: “He’s healthy now. When we stopped on him (following a ninth place finish in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile here on May 27), we gave him 90 days on the farm and it did him a lot of good, he looked a lot healthier, obviously it paid off.
“Turf is weird, sometimes it holds the speed sometimes it doesn’t. The turf course changes daily so that is just the way he runs. You can’t change the horse’s style, he runs from behind and Geovanni Franco is the only guy that knows how to ride him. If you look at his form this horse just likes this jockey.
“(Geovanni) does a good job, this is kind of a different horse. You can’t force this horse. He has a mind of his own, when he wants to run he’ll run and Geovanni lets him do his thing in the beginning. He told me today, ‘If I can get him out we’re gonna be tough.’ He had been blocked several times in the stretch before.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Zayat Stables, LLC.