Shug McGaughey on Orb: “I wanted to work him a half-mile to put him in the game. He left his workmate pretty easily and finished up well. He’s had a little bit of a tendency in his races when he’s made the lead he thought he’d done enough. So we wanted him to finish and go by the other horse and he did it. (Exercise rider) Jenn (Patterson) was happy, so that makes me happy.”
“Churchill is a bit different sometimes, so I was hoping this is what I’d see. I’ve been a little bit nervous hoping he’d work well, and I think it did go well. He dropped his head and walked home the way you’d want him to and he didn’t break a sweat. She (Patterson) felt he didn’t get out of a high gallop.”
“He went to the gate Friday; that went perfect. He went to the paddock Saturday night and that went perfect, as well as you could expect the first time over there, especially at night. He’ll go again on Wednesday. He’s fit in here as well as I could expect. As of right now, I’ve got no qualms. We have four, five more days to go.”
Todd Pletcher on a jockey for Charming Kitten: “We’ve got somebody in mind, but it isn’t official yet.”
John Terranova on Falling Sky: “He’s a good feeling colt. It looks like he came out of the breeze really well. He’s hitting the ground great. He galloped from near the quarter pole to about the five-eighths pole. It was just to stretch his legs a little bit. It was a light day, first day back after he walked yesterday.”
“He’s handled himself well in the paddock each time we’ve run him. Of course, it will be different for all of them. It’ll be a scene that they’ve never seen before and ever will see again. It’ll be something, but he handles himself well. He’s a smart colt.”
Phil Bauer, assistant to Kenny McPeek, on Java’s War: “Java is kind of a lighter-framed colt so we gave him an easier day. We’re thrilled with the way they came out of their works. They have plenty of energy so we’re on to tomorrow.”
Jockey Victor Lebron on Frac Daddy: “Since Oaklawn, looking at him, he’s filled out and body-wise he’s gotten bigger. He’s gotten a lot stronger, way stronger. He’s been a way different horse since landing here. He got way stronger than what he was over there. He’s just been getting tougher and tougher.”
Dallas Stewart on Golden Soul, who made the Top 20 on Monday: “I’m very happy. I’m so happy for the horse to get the opportunity. I’m happy for Mr. Fipke. He’s going to have two horses in there. I really think (Golden Soul) is going to represent us well.’’
“You want to maintain,’’ Stewart said of what he’s doing with Golden Soul this week. “You don’t want to necessarily get them fit, but you want to keep them sharp, continue to take it to them, prepare them. You’ve got a day or two here – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – back off Thursday and Friday, something like that . . . You just have to see. You like to see them pick it up earlier in the week, then kind of take it down a notch Thursday and Friday.’’
Exercise rider Peter Shelton on Itsmyluckyday: “He loved it. He bounced all the way around the racetrack. He handled the surface really well — that’s what I liked the most about it. His energy level is 100 percent.”
“He has tactical speed and a big kick when you ask him. He’s not like a lot of horses that really want to go on the bit. He just holds the bit enough so you can keep a perfect balance with your body. You don’t even have to move on him. You just have to move your wrist and he switches his lead; you move your other wrist and he switches his lead. That’s hard to find horses like that. He loves to train.”
Tom Amoss on Mylute: “I’ll be frank. He’s going to have to run the best race of his life to be competitive Saturday. But when it comes to the Kentucky Derby, that same statement applies to the other 19 in the race. Somebody’s going to really step forward and the one that does is going to be the winner.”
“It took a long time for him to show me that he was a proper horse so a lot of those starts were important in terms of his learning curve. He was never a horse that broke well from the gate and a lot of times that cost him his races. It took him a long time to catch on and understand racing. Even in the Louisiana Derby, he passed the winner, Revolutionary, inside the sixteenth pole, but he still didn’t quite understand. He hasn’t quite shown that killer instinct you need to be a top racehorse. But he learned from the Louisiana Derby just like he’s learned from each of those races.”
D. Wayne Lukas on Oxbow and Will Take Charge: “A work’s a work. I’ve always said we put a little too much emphasis on works. When you do it at 8 in the morning, it’s a lot different from the afternoon, but it’s a barometer of where you’re at with a horse in a lot of ways. As a trainer you get a chance to evaluate maybe the energy level of where you’re at, the soundness, all the things that go into maybe winning the darn thing.
“I don’t get caught into it so much, but I told Gary (Stevens) in the tack room here, I said, ‘59-and-4 to a minute would fit me today,’ and that’s my opinion – I didn’t discuss it with the horse at all – and he hit it right on the head, which I know is an accident, but it was good.
“Will, I thought worked a little bit slower, but Rudy was afraid. I’d pretty much beat up on him in there about going too fast this close (to the race), so less is always better. Always better. If you’re going to err on any side of a work, you always err on the slow side, never err on the fast side.’’
Rudy Rodriguez on Vyjack: “It’s good. He’s not nervous. He’s relaxing and enjoying himself. That’s a big plus, I think. You want your horse to be able to relax and be comfortable.”
“He’s doing pretty much the same thing that we do back home. He’s doing everything we ask of him and he’s very, very comfortable. I’m kind of surprised myself, but I’m very happy where we’re standing right now.”
Richard Mandella on Beholder, who wears special ear muffs: “They mute sound for her. She hears well – too well. She’s a bit high-strung and she’s an awful good-feeling filly, so we need to tamp her down some. When we take her to the track in the mornings, or over to the paddock to race in the afternoon, we use them. For racing itself, she’s fine with that part and they aren’t necessary. She handles herself just fine with that.”
Bob Baffert on Midnight Lucky, if there’s a sloppy track: “They say always bet a gray horse in the mud.”
Jockey Rosie Napravnik on Seaneen Girl:
“I wasn’t sure for a while that I would even have a mount, and I kind of feel like this is my race since last year, so I didn’t want to miss out on it. This filly has not done a lot wrong, and my first time on her, I was very impressed with the way she moves, and she worked very well.
“She’s real responsive, she rated well, and I really didn’t ask for anything. She worked very easily.’’