VICTOR ESPINOZA, GORMLEY, WINNER: “Today the big difference is that he was ready. Something went wrong last time, he was good but not quite where I wanted. I was a little bit disappointed but it seems like today he was on his toes, on his game and I was really ready for it. All it takes is having a lot of confidence in him against the other horses and with John [Shirreffs] we were hoping he chose the right one.
“He’s really quick out of the gate and today the plan was to take him back and make him run because it seemed like there was a little bit of speed in the race. I had a little bit of a hard time taking him back but all I had to do was jerk him one time, a bit harder than I wanted, and that’s all it took. He relaxed very nice. Down the backside, I started laughing to myself because I knew I was in a good position and I knew all the horses in front of me were going to stop. He showed me he’s capable of going the distance. The only problem is his size; he’s not very big but he’s tough and that’s what I like about him. He works really hard and that’s what it takes.”
COREY NAKATANI, BATTLE OF MIDWAY, SECOND: “He ran really well. I wish we could’ve gotten a breather at some point, but it didn’t work out that way. He ran dynamite.” WHEN ASKED IF HE THINKS HE CAN WIN THE KENTUCKY DERBY WITH THIS HORSE: “It’d be nice. That’s what we’re here for.”
JOHN SHIRREFFS, GORMLEY, WINNER, ROYAL MO, THIRD: I think the key was Espinoza rating Gormley and then making his big move. This is very exciting. It’s thrilling to have a Kentucky Derby horse and it’s for the same owners (Jerry and Ann Moss) as Giacomo. Royal Mo ran really big. If he had a better post position, you wonder how he would have done. I really wasn’t paying attention to the fractions. I just saw my horse and he got behind horses including Royal Mo. Gormley is an evolving horse. He’s very precocious and very excitable. I just need to turn that energy of his into positive use. It’s a lot of growing pains with a talented horse. I think using the tongue tie certainly helped us today. We’ll see how this shakes out. We’ll see how he comes out of this race in the morning and if all is well, we’ll point to the Kentucky Derby.”
JERRY MOSS, OWNER OF GORMLEY AND ROYAL MO: “It’s been such a great time bringing both of these horses up and both came through beautifully today. We’re just so grateful. It’s been a beautiful time.
“It was fantastic to see Royal Mo do so well today. Gary (Stevens) rode him perfectly. He was even the pacesetter for a while. It’s such a great day and we’ll see Gary back on him.
“We’re just delighted. I don’t know what else I can say. I’m out of words.”
DOTTIE INGORDO-SHIRREFFS, RACING MANAGER FOR JERRY AND ANN MOSS: “We’re so proud of these horses, you can’t believe it. We’ve known they’ve had talent all along so to see it come to fruition at this stage is just wonderful.
“We hope Royal Mo makes it on points because he deserves to go too! He’s such a nice horse, so that really speaks volumes for our other horse.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER, BATTLE OF MIDWAY, SECOND: “I think he ran a pretty good race. If he didn’t get pressured so much early I think we would have won, but that’s how things go. I’m very happy with him. He’s been progressing all along, and if he can continue, he should be a contender.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Jerry and Ann Moss. They won the Santa Anita Derby in 2007 with
Tiago, who was trained by Shirreffs.