Top 10 quotes from the 2015 Breeders' Cup
The connections of the 2015 Breeders' Cup winners said a lot of interesting things in the aftermath of victory. Here are 10 that I found most memorable:
10. The backstory on the name of Dirt Mile (G1) hero Liam’s Map: Co-owner Vincent Viola had been presented with a very special gift by Special Forces officer Liam Collins, who explains:
So he'd been such a great supporter (of the U.S. Military Academy) and, you know, really great American in giving a lot to the academy and to the nation. So I thought, what can I give a guy that's given so much to us? What I came up with was a map that I jumped into Afghanistan with. We jumped into Afghanistan in November of 2001. I explained what it was, kind of a silky map that you could take with you. You could use it if you have to escape and evade. It's serial numbered. So if it got separated from you, you would know whose it was and where they'd been. So that's what I gave to Vinny when I was leaving as a, you know, a small token of appreciation. Then later he told me he named a horse after me. First, I felt pretty humbled, then it scared me half to death.
9. Maria Borell, trainer of TwinSpires Sprint (G1) winner Runhappy, who runs without Lasix:
We won Lasix free, drug‑free. You guys don't need to run on Lasix...(I am) anti‑drugs just because I think it's better for the integrity of the breed. I want us to have stronger horses that can run 30, 40 times in the future, like they used to be able to, and not be masked by drugs.
8. Robert Masterson, owner of Mile (G1) romper Tepin, on his thoughts as the race unfolded:
When she hit the top of the lane, I said they better have their running shoes. She's never been beat in a mile on the dirt and the grass. I said there isn't anybody gonna come catch her.
7. Coolmore's M.V. Magnier on an early compliment for Turf (G1) heroine Found:
In fairness to (jockey) Ryan (Moore), I remember after the race when she won in France as a two‑year‑old (Prix Marcel Boussac [G1]), he got off her and said she would win an Arc. And he said that she's exceptional and so what can I say?
6. Trainer Doug O'Neill on how jockey Mario Gutierrez worked out a trip for Nyquist from post 13 in the Juvenile (G1):
We talked a lot. It was all about doing something exactly different than what happened! But I think it just, it shows what a great jockey Mario is to call an audible when other horses went...So credit to Mario, just quality audible call. Tom Brady of jockeys.
5. Owner Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms on how much Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith loves Juvenile Fillies (G1) conqueror Songbird:
Mike said, 'well, I'll tell you how good she is. I was going to retire, but I'm not retiring until she retires.' (Laughter). You can't say anything better about the horse than that.
4. Mongolian Saturday’s success in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G1) put the spotlight on an ancient horse culture, as trainer Enebish Ganbat explains:
Mongolian people are horsemen people. We know a little bit about what horses feel...Some people say Mongolian people born to ride. Everybody was raised on horses.
3. D. Wayne Lukas takes over the post-Classic (G1) press conference to honor fellow Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for his handling of American Pharoah:
Bob, on behalf of every one of us who get up in the morning and train horses, I want to congratulate you, Victor, on an extraordinarily job. You were absolutely masterful. You had him trained to the minute. I knew he'd break the heart at the half-mile pole, and he did it. You had him ready. On behalf of every trainer who gets up and tries to make a living, I want to congratulate you. You've been wonderful.
2. Baffert on one of the things that makes American Pharoah so special:
His mechanics are totally different than any horse I've ever had. I even tried to get Todd Pletcher to walk him the other day. I said, Todd, watch this horse. He didn't want to take the shank. He said, I don't want to walk him. I said, I want you to feel his mechanics. He walks really ‑‑ he's just, he's fast. Even the way he walks, it's incredible mechanics that this horse has.
1. Baffert sums up American Pharoah:
This is the greatest horse I’ll ever see. He is a champion. I am so glad that American Pharoah goes out the champion he is...He is a gift from God.
Photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography.