'It's not going to affect Nyquist' & other Preakness quotes
Selected quotes from Thursday's Preakness (G1) notes
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert on how a sloppy track could affect the Preakness:
“It’s not going to affect Nyquist. It will affect half of the field. The winner is either going to be completely clean or completely, really dirty. I think my horse [Collected] definitely has to be up there in the front. There is so much speed. There is quality speed. Uncle Lino is quality, my horse is fast and you’ve got some other horses that could be fast.
“The break is going to be the whole key. Nyquist is in a spot down there that if he were to get away slow it could be bad for him, because he could get caught up in the vacuum there. I’m sure they are going to be aggressive with him. I assume that he will be on the lead.”
Trainer Alan Goldberg on what effect the rainy forecast could have for Preakness runner Awesome Speed and for the horses he has entered on turf:
“For him I don’t know how terrible it would be. But for the three other turf horses I have, it might not be so hot. I just hope he runs a good race.”
Laoban’s trainer, Eric Guillot, on the slop factor:
“It’s not about how much the horses like it, it’s about the splash back in their face. If it’s really sloppy muddy, a lot of them won’t run through it. If it’s raining during the race, a lot of them just tuck their tails and don’t like it. Some love it. Moreno (his 2014 Whitney (G1) and Charles Town Classic (G2) winner) loved it, never got it. You could have written out the check if he ever ran in the slop. He trained like a freak in it. This guy seems to like it.”
Guillot on Laoban’s chances versus Nyquist and Exaggerator:
“They’ve all got four legs and a tail. It’s never a two-horse race. Go back and look at Guillot’s history in big races. I’ve won 23 graded stakes and 11 of them paid over a $25 mutuel. Apparently I didn’t have a chance in those 11 either, right?
“I’m coming for two reasons: he needs a race for one, and two, I need a race that’s loaded with speed to educate him. With a horse it’s all about breathing. It’s not about fractions, it’s about him being rank with the blinkers and him pulling and breathing. I’m trying to get him to relax. If everything goes just right and Nyquist falters, the rest of them are not head and shoulders over me.”
Guillot on his part in the Nyquist story:
“I bred the mom of Nyquist – Seeking Gabrielle. That’s the name of my partner’s (Michael Moreno) daughter, Gabrielle.
Trainer Dale Romans on how the breeding of Cherry Wine came about:
“One day, she [his dam C. S. Royce] was galloping and just fell on the racetrack, for no reason. Everybody thought she was dead. And John Garrity, our veterinarian, walked out there and touched her on the head, and she jumped right up. Everybody said he was Jesus. So I just retired her. I said, ‘Horses don’t just fall unless there’s a problem,’ and we bred her. I had a breeding season to Paddy O’Prado, and the cross worked, so I bred her to Paddy O’Prado and I raised Cherry Wine.”
On comparing Cherry Wine to Paddy O’Prado:
“He’s got a little Paddy O’Prado personality about him. Paddy was the most personable horse I ever had. He was curious about things. He would holler and scream at other horses – never mean. He’d holler at people when they came into the barn, like he wanted them to come visit with him. And this horse is inquisitive. He’s not quite as verbal as Paddy.
“Paddy is a little darker (gray) and a little heavier. He’s got the shape of his mother and the color and personality of Paddy.”
And the ability of?
“Of Paddy,” Romans said, adding with a laugh, “who didn’t run very well in the Preakness, which maybe that’s not good. He ran well in the Derby.”
Romans’ Q&A with Nyquist’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, on how Cherry Wine looks
“Doug, how does he [Cherry Wine] look?”
“He looks good,” O’Neill responded, joking, “I better scratch and look for another spot.”
Tanya Gunther of Glennwood Farm, birthplace of Stradivari, who was bred by her father, John Gunther:
“I’d gone down to Florida to see the horse and Todd a couple of times during the winter, and he’d said to me what a good mind (Stradivari) has. I think that must have factored in big-time in terms of him making the decision to take this step, which is obviously a big step to go from allowance company to a classic race.
“We, of course, get hopeful, but have been trying to manage our expectations and not get too chomping at the bit. Who said it first? It would be hard to say. But I don’t think we put that in the mind of Todd.
“I think he had in his mind that this was a top horse from the beginning, and it just kind of evolved. When a horse wins like that at Gulfstream – gosh, I don’t recall ever racing a horse that has done that for us – so you automatically start thinking about what their potential is. I think we had the same idea, but we were very excited to hear it from Todd, with his experience and the quality of horses in his barn.
“Nyquist will be very tough to beat, and we’ll find out quite a bit more about Stradivari on Saturday. There’s that unknown factor that’s quite interesting, but also a bit nerve-wracking.”
Uncle Lino’s co-owner Tom Mansor on how his Uncle Mo colt was named after his favorite uncle, the late Lino Luigi Cenini, his mother’s brother.
“When I was young, my dad was a jock and traveling, so they put me in a private Catholic military school in the San Mateo area. Lino would come every so often and get me out for the weekend. He was my uncle, my father, my brother and good friend, the whole bit.
“We’re a racetrack family. Lino was a trainer in Northern California. He eventually went down to Agua Caliente. I would go down there on summer vacations and visit him. We’d go to Del Mar and Agua Caliente. He kind of kept me around horses. We were very close.
“I got back into the horse business and wanted to name a horse after him. But you hate to name a horse after somebody you love, because if you don’t run well, what do you do? Gary came out to Keeneland to get some babies and he got the Uncle Mo horse. We had hesitated naming any horse until we could see how good it is. When Gary got him back, he said, ‘This is the horse, Tom.’ I said, ‘Perfect. Uncle Mo, Uncle Lino.’ It’s just turned out great.”
Bob Baffert photo by Cecilia Gustavson/Horsephotos.com