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Homeracing

Kentucky Derby 2016 Quotes & Transcript

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TwinSpires Staff

May 7th, 2016

2016 KENTUCKY DERBY JOCKEY QUOTES

 Mario Gutierrez, rider of Nyquist (first): “It’s unreal. No words can describe it.”

Kent Desormeaux, rider of Exaggerator (second): “My horse slammed on the brakes at the 3 ½, ducked back to the inside and then took off. When you see the replay, it will be obvious. Before the race, my brother was really calm, calmer than any trainer I have ever ridden for. He just told me to have fun out there.”

Florent Geroux, rider of Gun Runner (third): "When I hit the top of the stretch, the horse was just coasting along. He broke very nice, clear. I thought I had it for a minute. He started pricking his ears back and forth at the top of the stretch."

Junior Alvarado, rider of Mohaymen (fourth): “He broke good, he’s not that sharp the first two steps, but then I tried too late to go behind Nyquist. In the first eighth of the mile he was just climbing. The more I was asking him to be close, the more he was just climbing the first part. Coming into the first turn he was getting into a nice rhythm, but I was too far back. I didn’t want to be there, but that’s where he was. I just took a hold and let him find his rhythm and when he took me, he was himself past the three-quarter pole. Then he started picking it up and getting through traffic. I saved a lot of ground and the five-sixteenths I was trying to find a way to come out and have a nice clean run at the end and he finished up very good to me. It was a lot to do something way from behind, that’s not his best style of running. I had a bad feeling during the first half a mile, he was just climbing. He was too far back with too much to do.”

Luis Quinonez, rider of Suddenbreakingnews (fifth): "Oh my God, we had a lot of traffic to deal with. He was there. He was running. He was flying."

Javier Castellano, rider of Destin (sixth): “I got a good trip. I expected to be closer to the pace. He didn’t break very sharply out of the gate. I got him covered up and saved all the ground on the first turn. He got a good trip. Turning for home, he got tired a little bit.”

Luis Saez, rider of Brody’s Cause (seventh): “He got a good trip. He got good position. When we got to the half-mile, he was doing good, he was doing well.”

Corey Lanerie, rider of Mo Tom (eighth): "I ran into a little traffic at the three-eighths pole, between the three-eighths and the quarter-pole. I think there was traffic in from of me that kind of backed up into my face. I did have a little (horse) left, but I don't think I was going to endanger the front-runners. He would have to have a good, really clean trip. I had horse, but I don't think on this racetrack I was going to make up a whole lot of ground. Nyquist, he's a good horse. I tried following Exaggerator. When I saw him put on the brakes, I didn't know where he was going to go, so I tipped out a little bit, and something in front of me happened, and I wound up being in the middle of that. So it was just a 20-horse field. Riding a closer, it's hard to do.''

Yutaka Take, rider of Lani (ninth): “It was a very tough race. He needed more speed.”

Gary Stevens, rider of Mor Spirit, (10th): “I had a good trip but had no excuse. I didn’t he cared for the racetrack (after the rain) and ran similar to the way he did in the Santa Anita Derby. He fired away from the gate running, ran about five-eighth of a mile, his head was getting lower and lower, but I knew early on we were in for a long trip.”

Irad Ortiz Jr., rider of My Man Sam (11th): “I had a good trip. No excuses today."

Brian Hernandez Jr., rider of Tom’s Ready (12th): “I had a great trip. If I can get that trip every time, the Derby would be easy. We got right behind the winner but turning for home, we just didn’t have the horse that they did.”

Ricardo Santana Jr., rider of Creator (13th): "I got into a little trouble on the turn, at the three-eighths. He was moving really nice. I think that without that trouble, he was running big. That's the game. He's going to be all right. I still had horse. I stopped, then he came back running. I had to snatch up really hard. I'm glad the horse is fine. He came back safe. He's going to be all right for the next race.''

John Velazquez, rider of Outwork (14th): "Oh man, I couldn't have asked for a better trip. It was a dream trip. Like I was telling Todd (Pletcher), I had him right where I wanted to have him, right behind Nyquist. I got to the backstretch and I got next to (Nyquist) and we were cruising along really well. I thought (Outwork) was handling the track really well. At the half-mile pole he kind of came off the bridle and I tried to put him back in the bridle and he just didn't show any interest."

Mike Smith, rider of Danzing Candy (15th): "One thing I found out today that we didn't know about -- I never heard him breathe the way he did today. It sounds like he flipped his palate. As loud as that crowd was, I could hear him down the lane. When I pulled him up, he sounded like a lion."

Aaron Gryder, rider of Trojan Nation (16th): “We got squeezed a little going out of the gate, but you expect that in a 20-horse field. He settled and did the best he could from there. He didn’t fire on but he’s going to be a nice colt on down the line.”

Julien Leparoux, rider of Oscar Nominated (17th): "A really good trip. We sat mid-pack on the fence. But on the second turn he didn't have anything left. He was just kind of spinning his wheels."

Emisael Jaramillo, rider of Majesto (18th): “He didn’t like the track.”

Victor Espinoza, rider of Whitmore (19th): "I had a great trip around the first turn, but it felt like he was just spinning his wheels. I felt like he was uncomfortable the entire race. He never picked up the bridle. It's just how it goes sometimes. Sometime they like the track and sometimes they're picky. He's one of those. It was a great, great race. The winner, I knew he was the one to beat and he got the perfect trip."

Joel Rosario, rider of Shagaf (DNF): “I was in a good position in the first turn and on the backside but when I passed the three-eighths pole he was getting a little weak, a little tired. Turning for home, I just
had to pull him up because he was so tired. (Did he not handle the track?) "It's hard to tell. He was running really nice and was in the bridle. After he ran so far he just kind of gave it up and slowed down. Everyone was kind of passing me and I just had to pull him up."

2016 KENTUCKY DERBY TRAINER QUOTES

Doug O’Neill, trainer of Nyquist (first): “He’s a special, special horse. You can see it in his eye on a daily basis. He knows how to bring his ‘A’ game. If he was a human athlete, we’d celebrate him as a super star.”

Keith Desormeaux, trainer of Exaggerator (second): “I didn’t think Exaggerator hit the brakes as much as Kent alluded to. He burst out of the turn, I thought we had time to catch Nyquist. He had clear running room the entire one-quarter mile stretch. I thought for sure we would catch him. He did kind of level off the last sixteenth of a mile. Maybe he ran out of the training. I didn’t see where Nyquist was during the race until after it was over and he was there right there on the pace. What a horse. I can’t respect that horse enough.”

Steve Asmussen, trainer of Gun Runner (third)/Creator (13th): "We tried to win. You know what I mean. We tried to win. A solid pace. Nyquist was the horse to beat. I thought Florent (Geroux) tried to win the race. Creator, he got turned sideways on the turn. I looked. I loved where Gun Runner was. I was worried about him going too fast, but you can see that he was relaxed. He's talented. I liked where he was. I looked back at Creator. You could tell that Ricardo (Santana Jr.) had horse. The next time I looked at Creator, he was fish-tailing.''

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Mohaymen, (fourth): “It was too much ground to make up by then, he didn’t get away great and he (Junior Alvarado) said that he spun his wheels too early, but he had a pretty good trip and saved ground around the first turn. He came out and put in a good run, congratulations to Nyquist, he’s still undefeated. He’s a star. I don’t know about the Triple Crown, but we’ll have a great year. I have no idea where he’ll run next, it’s too early to tell.”

Donnie Von Hemel, trainer of Suddenbreakingnews (fifth): "Another jump he's probably third. (Jockey) Luis (Quinonez) said the four (Mo Tom) came over on them.”

Todd Pletcher, trainer of Destin (sixth)/Outwork (14th) – (On Outwork): “He got the exactly the trip we had talked about. He got into perfect position but Johnny (Velazquez) said at the half-mile pole, he came off the bridle a little bit and finished evenly from there.”

(On Destin): “He didn’t break real sharp, got shuffled back a little further back than we wanted to and flattened out the last eighth of a mile.”

Dale Romans, trainer of Brody’s Cause (seventh): “I thought we got good position, then he started losing it. Then, he came running again. I’ve got to watch it again closely.”

Tom Amoss, trainer of Mo Tom (eighth): "I'm just proud to be from New Orleans. I'm proud that this is a Louisiana horse all the way. And we're going to get 'em next time. ... We got the right set-up. They went very fast on the front end. The race just didn't back up. We saw that a lot today, and that's how it went in the Derby.''

Mikio Matsunaga, trainer of Lani (ninth): “Very proud to be one of the runners. I am very impressed with the atmosphere. He chased from behind and the ground is too fast so it’s not a suitable ground for him, but he did a good run. For Lani and for myself, it’s a big experience for us.”

Bob Baffert, trainer of Mor Spirit (10th): “He came away from there OK and he got a good spot going into the first turn. Then it just didn’t happen from there. He didn’t engage. He just didn’t have anything to fire for the finish.”

Chad Brown, trainer of My Man Sam (11th)/Shagaf (DNF): “Shagaf was a huge disappointment. He got up there in the race, attending pretty hot pace, but I liked the fact that he was out of trouble. Then he just completely spit the bit. I'm not sure what exactly happened. We'll have to go back to the drawing board. He trained so well leading up to it, that's a surprise to me, a disappointment.

On May Man Sam: "Irad (Ortiz Jr.) felt that he had pretty good position, no one around him for the first half of the race, which was terrific. When he started to launch his bid he said he was jumping up and down a lot, wasn't really handling the track, in his opinion. He got squeezed a little bit turning for him, but he said, 'To be honest, I didn't have a ton of horse under me. I really wasn't going anywhere.' We'll take both horse back to New York and follow the normal procedures and see how they come out of their races."

Dallas Stewart, trainer of Tom’s Ready (12th): “I’m very happy, no excuses. He (Brian Hernandez, Jr.) gave him a great ride, he just got outrun.”

Cliff Sise Jr., trainer of Danzing Candy (15th): "He's cooling out great. We have a vet coming here soon (to scope) him since Mike (Smith) said he was making a [breathing] noise."

Paddy Gallagher, trainer of Trojan Nation (16th): “He passed four or five of them late. As long as he comes back fine, I’m good with it.”

Mike Maker, trainer of Oscar Nominated (17th): "When the running started, they went one way, we went the other. Obviously, we'll take him back to the grass probably and go from there."

Gustavo Delgado, trainer of Majesto (18th): “It didn’t look like he handled the racetrack.”

Ron Moquett, trainer of Whitmore (19th): "The jock (Victor Espinoza) said he didn't know if it was the rain or what, but he started stumbling around the half-mile mark. He decided to take care of him from there and we appreciate that. He looks OK. He's walking around the barn fine. We'll live to fight another day."

2016 KENTUCKY DERBY POST-RACE CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

JOHN ASHER: Ladies and gentlemen, the winning connections of Kentucky Derby 142nd. We're going to start in the middle with Mr. Paul Reddam. (Applause.)

His second Kentucky Derby winner. Of course, I'll Have Another the last non‑favorite to win the race. We've had four in a row wins since then.

Trainer, Doug O'Neill. (Applause.) As you know, his second Kentucky Derby win.

Mario Gutierrez. (Applause.)

And Dennis O'Neill. (Applause.)

A fabulous performance by the unbeaten Nyquist winning the Kentucky Derby. The first unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner since Smarty Jones in 2004. And we all know that there is one unbeaten Triple Crown winner. And that was Seattle Slew back in 1977. That's for down the road. We are talking about unbeaten Derby winners now.

And let's start with Mr. Reddam. Here you are again. Had a marvelous run with I'll Have Another four years ago. This colt, purchased him, named him beautifully after a hockey star that ‑‑ most times when you name horses after people, it doesn't work out too well. This one worked out well. You are unbeaten here, and it looks like the sky is the limit.

PAUL REDDAM: When the Red Wings miss the playoffs, we start to worry about our horse.

JOHN ASHER: How does it feel for you?  Obvious question.  Brilliant performance by this horse. All he's done is do everything that you want him to do and more. It's a special, special thing.

PAUL REDDAM: I feel really good for the horse. Because along the way the last year, he has taken a lot of shots for whatever reason. And I think he proved all his critics wrong today. So I'm really proud of him and the whole O'Neill team and Mario's ride. It was just flawless from beginning to end.

JOHN ASHER: What were your thoughts coming into the race? You got here.  Didn't work over the racetrack, but he trained brilliantly. Whatever you did.  Looked great on the racetrack here. You got the post draw. You were outside a little bit.  But confident throughout the week he would run this kind of race?

PAUL REDDAM: I was. Obviously, you feed off your trainer. And Doug has trained for us for, I guess, 12 years now. So I have kind of been able to read O'Neill language. (Laughter.)

You could tell the horse was really doing everything absolutely perfectly. And to win this race you have to have a lot of things go right, and they were all going right. So we felt quietly confident coming in.

JOHN ASHER: Can you speak O'Neill language?

DOUG O'NEILL: He can, actually.

JOHN ASHER: Doug, here you are. You emerged in California. But you've been all over with him, two trips across the country. Perfection. What else do you want to say?

DOUG O'NEILL: It's unbelievable. Got to thank Paul and Zillah for this opportunity. Like Paul said, he knows the O'Neill language. I know the Elias language, his groom. And the Johnny Garcia language, his exercise rider. And those guys, they are the unsung heros. Because they do all the work, and they are there long hours. And I could tell in the last week or so, Elias he is very serious about his trade and loves his horses so much. He has been smiling more than I have ever seen him smile. I didn't know what was going on. Now I think we all know.

When you take those bandages off in the morning, his legs were ice cold and his feet were ice cold and you look in the feed tub and there is no more feed in there, he was really responding so well to Elias and the whole team. It's a great feeling.

JOHN ASHER: In this race you have faced so many things that your horse has never faced before. Coming in for a second time and getting it done. Just talk about the journey. Were you really concerned at any point?

DOUG O'NEILL: You are always concerned. When we did our Team Reddam meeting after winning the Breeders' Cup race, we talked about giving him a little break and having two races as a prep for the Kentucky Derby. And we felt pretty confident about that.

I think we would all be lying if we got beat here today, we would say maybe we didn't do enough with him. Maybe that was the only worry. Other than that, he's just a remarkable athlete that, if you work him by himself, he will even swish his tail a little bit like what do you want? What do you want for me? You put him in company, and he's just a Ferrari.

This guy right here.  How does he handle that pressure? We are all saying thank God we're not riding him. We would have fell off of him before we got in the gate. Mario has got ice in his veins. And he's the guy you want at the free‑throw line at the end of the game. Got to thank Mario big time.

MARIO GUTIERREZ: Thank you. (Applause.)

JOHN ASHER: How about that pressure? How about the trip on this guy today?

MARIO GUTIERREZ: The trip was amazing. We got a beautiful trip, you know, from the start to the end. And the pressure, it is pressure. Like the horses on the field, it's the Kentucky Derby. It's the only race we have, like, 19 other horses trying to get to the wire first. But, like I say, I get the confidence from Nyquist. I was able to work him since he got to the track, so I know him a lot, and I trust him. And I believe he trusts me as well.

JOHN ASHER: Clearly made the game for you. You have been here twice with these guys and win both Derbies. Really impressive. Any special approach you take, or is it just you and your confidence in the horse?

MARIO GUTIERREZ: No, it's very, very special. Like I say, it's a lot of nerves. But I do believe that I have matured as a rider. And I'm doing things I wasn't doing four years ago. So that makes me have a lot of confidence. I know that my surroundings always believe in me, so you get extra confidence. And Mr. Reddam, my wife, the whole team, Johnny, the groom Elias. I believe I got the right people behind me, so they always give me confidence. That's where I get my strength and confidence.

DOUG O'NEILL: Got your back. (Applause.)

JOHN ASHER: For another O'Neill perspective, let's talk about what it means to you.

DENNIS O'NEILL: I said to someone it felt like four years ago I bought a lotto ticket. And I said for someone to buy two lotto tickets in one lifetime, I don't think that's ever happened. That's how kind of how I feel about this, just an unbelievable day. To have my mom here, too, is so special. (Applause.)

JOHN ASHER: What's mom's name?

DENNIS O'NEILL: Dixie Lee. She said about six months ago, "I'm not missing any more of these." (Laughter.)  She has been taking the road trips with us. It's been great to have her.

JOHN ASHER: After you bought two lottery tickets you won't buy anymore?

DENNIS O'NEILL: That's up to Mr. Reddam. If he was smart, he would cut me off. (Laughter.)

PAUL REDDAM: Well ... (Laughter.)

DENNIS O'NEILL: Wait until I get my car, though.

PAUL REDDAM: It's about time for a new car.

JOHN ASHER: I'm smarter. I will cut myself off and take questions.

Q. From our crew calculations, there have only been now four owners in the last 44 years who have won multiple Kentucky Derbies. How do you explain this?

PAUL REDDAM: Well, one of your colleagues told me I was the luckiest guy in horse racing ten years ago. And I think that's how I'd explain it. I'm just very lucky to be with these guys and for Dennis to do his thing. It's as simple as that, really.

Q. How many folks did you have here in Kentucky throughout these five weeks and this last week as far as the staff goes?

DOUG O'NEILL: A lot. I wouldn't want to look at Paul and Zillah's checkbook. Paul and Zillah are so generous. I think we had eight to ten horses and probably about 12 crew here. So we were definitely overstaffed. But Paul said do whatever you have to do. We had Dave Kenney's good friend Marvin, who is unbelievable, he's a former policeman. He was security around Nyquist at 24 hours a day. So, yeah, we had a huge crew. Big family. And thank you, Paul and Zillah, for writing all those checks.

PAUL REDDAM: If the horse would have run second, we would have had a net loss. (Laughter.)

Q. Doug, question for you. During the week leading up to the race, you were asked about people maybe not getting all in with Nyquist. And you were very kind of deferential about it. You said it didn't bother you. Did it at any point in time?

DOUG O'NEILL: Paul and I would talk about, can you believe that idiot just wrote that article? We respect all journalists. (Laughter.)

You nailed it right. It's the beauty of sports. And you don't want to be ‑‑ you don't want everybody picking the same team or else it's not that much fun. I think people are just looking for value. And none of these three‑year‑olds had gone a mile and a quarter. So why bet a 2‑1 shot when you could bet 10, 15 on a horse that had never done it? We were very confident in him.

Q. Doug, could you talk about how Mario has matured and changed since that first Derby win?

DOUG O'NEILL: He's found a beautiful woman in Rebecca, and they are expecting a baby. So that's cool.

MARIO GUTIERREZ: Yeah.

DOUG O'NEILL: I think they should name him Derby, but that's up to them. Or maybe Derby Doug. That would be kind of cool. (Laughter.)

I think all of us, there's ‑‑ you go back. And, if you had, like, nerve meters on all of us in a lot of the big races, we maybe looked not too nervous, but we were all kind of a little nervous. I think, as we go along here, Mario is confident. He has a Mike Smith quality about him. You really do. But with better hair.

Mike's got good hair. (Laughter.)

I think he's extremely confident and not cocky. You hear it in the way he talks. He didn't expect everything. He wants to earn everything. He puts a lot of effort in to be prepared for every race, and it shows off.

Q. Talk about how easy he makes things look and is that just part of the professionalism that this horse has displayed?

DOUG O'NEILL: Yeah. He's just a special horse. I mean, I think now it's safe to say, Lava Man is unbelievable and I'll Have Another is unbelievable. But he's definitely the best horse I have ever been around. And Johnny Garcia, who gets on him every day, he's been saying for a while now that this horse is so strong and does everything so easy and, you know, he's never tired. You never ‑‑ it doesn't seem like we have ever really gotten to the bottom of him. That's very exciting about the future. And, again, like every other athlete, you just got to stay injury‑free. A lot of ice. A lot of prayers. A lot of Elias. And that's all good. 

Q. Doug, Paul, and Mario, what's going through your mind in that stretch when Exaggerator made his late run?

PAUL REDDAM: Wire! (Laughter.)

DOUG O'NEILL: Did you know he was coming? 

MARIO GUTIERREZ: I did check around, and I didn't know he was coming.

DOUG O'NEILL: You and I will talk later. (Laughter.)

MARIO GUTIERREZ: Like I say, if anybody watches Nyquist's races, you will see that he will not allow any other horse pass him. He's always ‑‑ he's the kind of horse that always has something left for whatever comes to him late. So he was able to win by five lengths. He's been able to win by a nose. So that's how I get so much confidence from him. Because, if anybody comes late, I know he'll have something to respond to that.

JOHN ASHER: You almost won the Oaks, too. You came close to being a Derby double winner. Did you feel all along California was the strength of this 3‑year‑old crop?

DOUG O'NEILL: My brother is a big numbers guy. On numbers we look pretty solid, right, Dennis?

DENNIS O'NEILL: Yes, we did. We looked really solid.

DOUG O'NEILL: From the numbers we looked solid. I just knew firsthand these horses were training great and they looked great. From that end, I felt pretty confident.

Q. When Mario talks about slump and the loss of confidence after 2012, where did you see that happening and how did you start and when did you start to see it come back for him?

DOUG O'NEILL: I had my own slump. So I didn't really notice Mario's slump. I think we started doing, like, weekly meetings about a year ago. It was one of those ‑‑ Paul very seldom yells at me. And he kind of went, like, Bobby Knight on me a little bit on the phone. So I hung up. And I was so bummed. Because I was, like, God, I could not screw up this relationship. Paul is the best ever. And I called Mark Verge, who is my spiritual leader, and said, "Mark, what do I do?"

He said, "You get your lazy butt down to Paul's office. You look him in the eye, and you guys figure out a plan." We have been doing that once a week with Tom Knust, Mario's agent, and Mario and Dennis. I think that has helped our luck. Because we are a lot more prepared, a lot more planned. I think it helps all of our confidence as well.

Q. In light of what happened last year with Pharoah, I'm sure the questions are going to come off to both you guys, all you guys in the next two weeks. Could this possibly happen again? How are you going to answer that?

DOUG O'NEILL: Mom, can you light a candle at Sunday mass? We need some higher power there to keep this guy injury‑free. That's how I will answer it.

MARIO GUTIERREZ: One race at a time.

DOUG O'NEILL: Yeah, one race at a time.

Q. Doug, how's it different going into the races the favorite versus when I'll Have Another won?

DOUG O'NEILL: I'm glad I'll Have Another wasn't the favorite. Because in 2012 I don't know if I could have mentally taken that. I don't think there's enough tequila in Mexico for me to handle that in 2012 as a favorite. But this year we are a lot more mature. And the people that were surrounding Nyquist are a lot more mature. So it felt really good to be a favorite. And I felt it was a real honor. And I got ‑‑ part of me was, God, I want to represent Nyquist in the proper way. And I think the whole crew did a pretty good job. So felt good being a favorite this time.

Q. Can you talk about your training style and how it developed, what inspired you early on? And then also with Nyquist, have you followed similar patterns that you followed with I'll Have Another? Or has it been different?

DOUG O'NEILL: I think, as I've gotten longer in the tooth, I've realized that a really good horse you can train him a hundred different ways. As long as you surround him with people that serve them right and take good care of them, it's hard to really screw them up.

But with this guy, we've taken an approach of he gallops with a lot of energy. And then we give him one day of jog and time of recover.

In 2012, as probably a lot of you ‑‑ if you got a chance to see I'll Have Another gallop, he galloped like a train every day. I thought that was the way ‑‑ to win classic races, that's what you had to do. It did work for him. But his career was short. And whether or not it had anything to do with that, I don't know. But we are doing things differently with Nyquist. And it seems like things are staying colder and tighter longer.

Q. On the track after the race, Keith Desormeaux said he might like to have a rematch with you guys in Baltimore. Is that something you all would look forward to?

MARIO GUTIERREZ: Yeah.

DOUG O'NEILL: He would like a rematch? Well, yeah, I ‑‑ you answer this.

PAUL REDDAM: I would have thought he was sick of us by now.

(Laughter and applause.)

No, his horse, obviously, ran great. And he was the closest threat. And, if I were him, I would want a rematch, too. The horses are not machines, so it will be a great race.

Q. Doug, it's another accomplishment of this horse is to win the juvenile and follow up and win the Derby. It's a rare horse that's done that. What did you see in this horse from 2 to 3 and time off that maybe gave you some confidence that, hey, this horse is going to keep moving forward?

DOUG O'NEILL: I think after Del Mar, we ran him 19 days later in the FrontRunner going two turns for the first time. And some bonehead didn't put the saddle on perfectly ‑‑ Dennis, no. That was me. And in that race where the saddle slipped a little bit ‑‑ we didn't say much it, because I didn't want everybody to think I was a complete bonehead. But to have Mario, basically, not have a real secure saddle and him do that in the FrontRunner, I thought, okay, we're on to something here. Thanks for not giving me any grief in the media on that, too. You are the man. You are a team player.  Statute of limitations. You can't do it now.

Q. What was your view of the Bobby Knight conversation that he referenced?

PAUL REDDAM: I actually don't remember that conversation.

DOUG O'NEILL: Come on. Come on. Bad Read Sanchez got hurt and it was one of those, Paul called me and ‑‑ usually I call Paul. It just got turned around in the way it happened. It was about 11:00. He was like, Hey, you haven't called so I thought I would call you. How is Bad Read doing? I was like, Oh, God. I meant to call you. Paul, he got hurt. And then the rest was you ‑‑ a lot of like beep, beep, beep stuff.

Yeah, you were probably ‑‑ I'm sure ‑‑ he works his butt off. So it was probably the stock market was crashing. Who knows what was going on in your life. I definitely took some grief, but I think it was the best grief I have ever taken.

JOHN ASHER: Talk about the story of the naming of this colt. I did a radio interview this morning with the Detroit host. Never heard him so over the moon about a Derby horse. There was much excitement up there. Talk about the naming of this colt and what's that meant to you.

PAUL REDDAM:  Well, the horse is named after Gustav Nyquist. He plays for the Red Wings. I have been a life‑long Red Wing fan. And partners in a couple horses with Erik Johnson who plays for the Colorado Avalanche. I was telling Erik last year, "Geez, when you are a free agent, you should sign with the Wings."

He said, "I'll never sign with them. Are you kidding?"

So just to get at him, I named a couple of horses after Red Wings. And Nyquist was one of them.  Then he was, "Can I buy a piece of Nyquist?"  I was like, no. But ... (Laughter.)

So in the Detroit area, it's become quite a story. And I guess last ‑‑ I think it was last night I heard before the Tigers game they were showing clips of the horse Nyquist. And the guys from the broadcaster all are going to come to the Preakness apparently.

Q. This is now, I believe, three straight for southern California horses. Can you talk a little bit about what it means and kind of the state of the circuit?

DENNIS O'NEILL: Doug's talked about this a lot. I think the weather plays a huge part of that, because we're able to train. And we train our horses hard. And I think with the weather out here, you can't do that. We've talked about a lot of these horses probably get 80% of their training where we're able to train 100% of the time. I think that's a real advantage out there.

When we come across the country, our horses are very fit.

PAUL REDDAM: I thought we had better blood stock agents but better not.

DENNIS O'NEILL: I like that, too.

Q. What's your plan in the morning for him?

DOUG O'NEILL: Probably a lot of water and aspirin for me. (Laughter.)  The plan is to walk the shed row with him. And we tentatively ‑‑ we try not to make too many plans after a race because anything can happen. I think he's off to Baltimore on Monday, if all goes well.

My wife is cool about me not being home. You are cool if I go to Baltimore, right? We'll be in barn 41 celebrating and group hugging all morning.  Probably 6:30. We were there at 4:00 this morning. So it's been a long day ‑‑ long good day.

Q. It's been warm in California and cold on the East Coast forever.

DOUG O'NEILL: Yeah, Dennis. (Laughter.)

DENNIS O'NEILL: They're not buying that? It just seems like ‑‑ I know ‑‑ even Bob ships across the country a lot, and he sure is successful. He has won the Arkansas Derby like ‑‑

DOUG O'NEILL: I think you are blessed in California. You don't have to move around a lot. I think a lot of people on the East Coast, they go down to Florida for the summer. So it takes time to have horses adjust to the new tracks. Where we're at Santa Anita most of the year, so you are able to train consistently and not worry about having a horse adjust to a new track. That's definitely an edge as well as mother nature being really kind in it California.

Talking at 7:00 in the morning. No lights, real dark, quiet, real quiet on the questions. (Laughter.)

Q. You mentioned a little while ago that you are doing some things now that you weren't doing four years ago. What are you doing now that you weren't doing then?

MARIO GUTIERREZ: My wife encouraged me to get a sports psychologist. At the beginning I was a little embarrassed to tell people I was talking to a sports psychologist, but now I'm proud that he helps me. I got a stretch and conditioning coach, better nutritionist. And I actually have a person that comes to my house twice a week just to stretch my body. And I'm feeling great right now.

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