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Complete FG Oaks Day Stakes Quotes
Race 10-Grade II, $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks
3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Believe You Can, winner): “That was probably the most uncomfortable pace set-up scenario that I could have thought of and it was definitely a very hard first half of a race for the filly. It just shows how much talent and how much class she’s got. I wish I could have gotten her a better trip but she pulled through for us and she’s a race horse.
“I had some horse left when I turned for home but I knew the other filly, Summer Applause, was coming at us so I didn’t look back, I just kept riding to the wire. The filly deserves all the credit because she overcame a lot.”
How about these pink pants you’re wearing for the Susan G. Komen Day at Fair Grounds? “As far as breast cancer survivors go, who could have thought of a better horse to win this race than one named Believe You Can? She represented all of the women very well.”
Trainer Larry Jones (Believe You Can, winner): “I know that’s a position (on the lead) Lukas likes to be in and we wanted to hold a position where we at least didn’t have to follow behind him. The instructions I gave to Rosie were to let her run from the gate and take her into the first turn and see what happens the second half of the first turn. If they want the lead, make them outrun you. As I was seeing those fractions I thought, hmm, maybe they can’t catch her. But she ran very well.
“We had trainer error last time. I hate to take all the blame but, to be honest with you, we had about the same excuse that Calhoun had the first race. We were pinned in there with Inny Minnie and the filly wasn’t comfortable in there. We knew, but I couldn’t just tell everybody that’s what the problem was, because we knew that if the next time we drew the one-hole we were going to have to go. I couldn’t believe we drew the one-hole again but I knew as soon as we got it what we had to do.
“We’re hoping she’s getting good at the right time. We hadn’t been trying to press her for her life but we knew that this time we had to get her ready and we stepped it up on her a little bit.
Is the Kentucky Oaks her next start? “That’s her next start. We will not try to put anything between here and there. That’s why I’m so glad Fair Grounds moved all the races to this last weekend. It makes it fit, it makes it doable. We sure have no reason to think we’re not going to the Kentucky Oaks right now.
“We’ll go to Keeneland and give her a couple of easy weeks on the Polytrack and then she’ll go to Churchill when they start working. We probably won’t be breezing over the synthetic but we’ll have a couple weeks of just changing the legs and just let muscles relax that have been used and use some different ones and then go over.”
Jockey Robby Albarado (Summer Applause, second): “We just didn’t get to her. She was better today. But we’re still good and we can go on.
“That one filly spurted out away from us. I just couldn’t match strides from the quarter-pole to the eighth-pole but finally, as persistent as my filly was, she kept coming and coming and nearly got there.”
Trainer Bret Calhoun (Summer Applause, second): “Of course we are disappointed. We wanted a win, but this shows progress.
“Robby said he didn’t want to move too soon. In a way, small fields like this hurt her chances. She ran good, we just got beat today.”
She’s a slight filly. How does that come into play with so many tough races consecutively? “I think it’s been alright for us because we’ve been able to run right out of our own stall here all winter, we haven’t had to travel, and she just continues to progress physically. Now all we have to do is ship to Churchill and run back almost in five weeks right out of our own stall up there. Right now it’s OK; I think if she had to start moving around a lot it could take a toll on her.”
Is the Kentucky Oaks still the plan for her next start? “I think so. Robby didn’t seem to have lost any confidence. I was disappointed we didn’t win but I think she still ran a good race. I think you watch some of the races from around the country today…I didn’t lose any confidence in my filly today moving forward. We definitely wanted to win this one but obviously the next one’s even a little more important. ”
Jockey James Graham (Disposablepleasure, third): “They went fast up front, and we made a run, but that’s about it.”
Jockey Miguel Mena (Small Kitchen, fourth): “We wanted to make the lead, but we had a wide trip and it just didn’t work out. It wasn’t our day.”
Race 8-$75,000 Crescent City Oaks
Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies, 1 mile and 70 yards
Jockey Tracy Hebert (She’s Prado’s Idol, winner): “I had some obligations at Delta and I couldn’t ride her last time. I am grateful I was able to do it today. We wanted to kind of sit off the pace a little bit and it worked out well. She dug in real hard.”
Race 7-$100,000 Bayou Handicap
Fillies & mares, 4-year-olds & up, 1 1/16 miles on turf
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Artemus Kitten, winner): “It was a good trip and this filly really liked the turf here last time and she ran even better this time. You know, we were able to go up on the inside and get a jump on the other favorite and she just dug in to the wire. It was a great race.”
With this win you equaled your leading total of 110 from last season. Could you have anticipated doing this well at Fair Grounds? “I told my husband (Joe Sharp) before I came here last year that I hoped to win 30 races so it has far exceeded my expectations.”
Joe Sharp, Assistant to Trainer Mike Maker (Artemus Kitten, winner): “We weren’t necessarily waiting for this spot. She had a troubled trip in Houston and Mrs. Ramsey wanted another stakes win for Kitten’s Joy. It worked out, the timing was great, Rosie did a great job and we’re glad to have her back aboard.
“I would say mentally she has mellowed out a lot. She was kind of nervous when she first got down here, so I would have to think she is definitely on the improve.”
Jockey James Graham (Upperline, second): “Going into the turn when she swapped leads she kind of leveled off on me but when we turned for home she just took right off. I think she thought we were at Keeneland with another turn to go!”
Trainer Mike Stidham (Upperline, second): “On the far turn, I thought we were done. It was a big effort. On the turn it didn’t look like it was going to happen, but once she switched to her right lead, she came running. She’s come back bigger and stronger. I’m hoping we can have a big year.”
Race 5-$60,000 Red Camelia Stakes
Louisiana-bred fillies & mares, 4-year-olds & up, 1 1/16 miles on turf
Jockey Miguel Mena (Beverly Belle, winner): “It’s pretty soft out there and there was plenty of speed in the race. Bret told me, ‘No pressure, we’re a longshot, just ride her with confidence.’ We came out and went around there and about the five-sixteenths pole, when I asked her, she took off and I got really excited. We beat a really nice filly.
“She’s been working good. The last time the track got washed out and she didn’t really like it; she didn’t try at all. She was ready for today though.”
Trainer Bret Calhoun (Beverly Belle, winner): “It was a pleasant surprise for us. We ran her going short, it just wasn’t her game. The reason we’re in here is a lot of the races didn’t fill for her so we ended up here and the one thing, there was a lot of optimism, there were a lot of horses here that really couldn’t quite go the distance and I think that’s how it ended up.”
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Little Polka Dot, second): “She did not relax today. She was very aggressive. We had a great spot around the first turn and I moved her outside to try and get her to relax but she did not settle like she did last time. But the fractions were solid and she still ran great.”