VICTOR ESPINOZA, HIT THE ROAD, WINNER: “This was my first time on this horse and he showed me a lot. The favorite came out on me going into the first turn, so I had to take him back, and we ended up last around the turn. I was really impressed with how he handled it, because when I asked him to pick it up, he was very strong. He’s got a long stride and he covers a lot of ground. That was impressive.”
DAN BLACKER, HIT THE ROAD, WINNER: “We put together the ownership group after they yearling sales last year and it is just a really fun group of people, Rick Gold, Dan Cutting…, there are loads of them, but it is just a really cool group. Everyone is really excited to get a good horse. We’re thankful to Craig Rounsefell for picking him out.
“When we bought him at the yearling sale we knew it was going to be grass, but you never really know. His pedigree was all European being by More Than Ready. He goes both ways but he looked like a turf horse so I wasn’t surprised when he ran much better on the grass.
“He got sick on the day we were going to run him at Del Mar (explaining his absence since July 28). But he had been working well and we expected a big performance. Victor (Espinoza) rode him awesome. He did a great job. I’m just so thrilled for the owners for giving me a chance with a horse like this . . . ”
Breeders’ Cup? “I hope so, if he gets in (the $1 million Juvenile Turf on Nov. 1). When we bought him we knew he had a grass pedigree and hopefully would run well on turf, but you never know until they do it.”
NOTES: The winning owners are D K Racing, LLC, Radley Equine, Inc., Taste of Victory Stables and Rick Gold.