Complete Derby Day Stakes Quotes
Race 13-$60,000 Bayou St. John Stakes
Louisiana-breds, 4-year-olds and up, About 5 ½ furlongs on turf, 2nd running
Jockey Robby Albarado (Kissimmee Kyle, winner): “He won the same race here last year. Not the same fashion. Last year, he was in the front. This weekend there was an honest amount of pace so I sat and was patient. He’s a very easy horse to ride. He got through on the inside and ran home fast.”
Trainer Al Stall Jr. (Kissimmee Kyle, winner): “We’ll keep him around here. He’s just a solid Louisiana-bred turf horse. He does a mile but honestly he has more of a punch going short so there’s a race at Louisiana Downs so we keep him against his own kind. Let him ship away and he makes a good living for everybody.
“He’s very comfortable. Every person that has been on him has said that he is an armchair type horse. He trains that way too. He is smooth as silk. For an old horse like that has had some issues over the years he travels wonderfully everyday.”
Race 12-$90,000 Southern Oaks Plantation Costa Rising Stakes
Louisiana-breds, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles, 36th running
Jockey Corey Lanerie (Star Guitar, winner): “You know, breaking from the outside he broke a little sharp and he went wider around the first than I expected. I thought I was on the best horse. I tried to keep him out of trouble and I rode with a touch too much confidence today. They made us run down the lane and work. He proved that he’s the best and that he is going to get it done. He was determined.
“I want to thank Ms. Evelyn and Al Stall for giving me the opportunity just to sit on him and ride him. He’s just every jockey’s dream to get on one like him because he is just push button. He does everything you ask. He’s nothing but class.”
Trainer Al Stall Jr. (Star Guitar, winner): “Well, he’s a type of horse that gives you a lot of confidence going into a race. Honestly, I was a little worried going into the turn he looked like he had to get him to run a little bit which is unusual. I would have to say he ran his ‘B’ race or so but he’s just that kind of horse. He just overcomes the weight he is carrying, the wide trip. That’s Star Guitar. That’s why he is who he is.
“I am thankful to have the horse but first I am thankful to have a client like Evelyn Benoit. Then, the horse comes behind that and also Bobby Asaro from Southern Oaks Plantation. He’s a true fan of Louisiana racing and he put up the $15,000 and the LTBA, Tom Early put up the $15,000 to make this happen and I think it is well deserved for the horse to have it happen at his home track. It’s my home track. It’s Evelyn’s home track. So everything came together real well.”
Owner Evelyn Benoit of Brittlyn Stable (Star Guitar, winner): “Well, first of all, I must say that there’s no owner that could actually imagine that this happening to them. We worked very hard. This team of Al Stall and Pam Fitzgerald and the whole barn. They did an amazing job just to keep this horse in all conditions and this horse has run on every race track in this state and every kind of condition of heat, mud up to above his ankles, and I just want to say Pam and I always looked at each other and we knew…we never told this to anyone…he’s simply the best and today we get to say he proved it. He deserves it. I’m thrilled. I love Louisiana. I’m so happy it happened here at the Fair Grounds.”
“Please, everybody keep your fingers crossed. We are planning on bringing Star Guitar to Kentucky and he will race on Oaks Day and then Gantry will race on Kentucky Derby Day if all goes well.”
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan (Get In Da House, third): “I thought he ran hard last week. He runs hard every time he runs. We got beat by the champ today which is no disgrace, but he ran hard and I was proud of him.”
NOTE: The $54,000 winner’s share of the purse makes Star Guitar the all-time leading earner among Louisiana-breds. His earnings now stand at $1,689,862, surpassing Happy Ticket’s $1,688,838.
Race 10-Grade II, $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby
Three-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, 99th running
Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. (Hero of Order, winner): “Well, he told me just to ride him and it worked. I was surprised I didn’t get pressured more than I did. You know, I had my target in front of me and he just let me inherit the lead around the turn and off we went.”
“I thought I had a good of a chance as anybody else. I knew that he was a little bit of long odds but he had just as good a chance as anybody else.
“That was awesome. Me in my hometown. I was born in New Orleans, raised here. I have been fortunate to win just about every major race at the Fair Grounds except for the Louisiana Derby so that was really good.
“My horse broke running and the horse that was on the lead, the nine, he was my target. I inherited the lead going into the three-eighths pole over there. Once I got the lead I give him a little bit of a breather coming to the quarter pole and just got him to switch over onto his correct lead keep him home. Every time I hit him he jumped forward and seemed like he was getting a bit late on me here but when I hit him left handed he broke again so that was good.
“I worked him last week an easy half mile. He worked really well for me.
“I’ve been riding at Delta Downs all winter. I had a great meet at Delta and I will probably be returning to this year back to Delta. Who knows? I want to stay in Louisiana. Finish my career in Louisiana.”
How about riding in the Kentucky Derby? “I guess I get an automatic berth now, so I’ll be there.”
What does winning this race mean to you? “This means that I will be getting a big fat paycheck, that’s for sure.”
Owner and Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko (Hero of Order, winner): “We run horses together, Eddie and me. I told him exactly what he wants to do, he do and he wins.
“Eddie is best jockey. We are around horses together, I give him chance. A lot of jockeys have ridden him and everything but he do exactly what I tell him, he wins.
“You see, I brought not expensive horses but I make these horses expensive.
“You know, I don’t know why this horse was 99-1. This horse was fourth in a $300,000 race, you know, I don’t know why. I was surprised, you know. He was a great rider. He did what I tell him …. To win a race like this, a million dollar race, it changes your life. People treat me, you know, terrible, but right now I am on top. I know what I saw. I know how to train horses. I buy not expensive horses. A $3,000 horse. So we win trainer of the year for a $3,000 horse you know. I train him. I know him. I was a jockey. I get on horses with Eddie. He is great. Great jockey. He does what I tell him. You never know if you don’t try.
“I’m from Russia. …I show you I’m the best, you know? You know, I saw this. All my life I spend with horses. I ride horses. I train horses myself.”
“This horse, you see, I work this horse. I work all the horses, that’s why they are champions. I do everything I know. You see, that is the result.
“In America, it is different. You know these people, they workout. Workouts don’t pay. Workouts no pay. What do you get for workouts? Money paying at the wire.”
How old are you? “Sixty-three right now.”
Will he be in the Kentucky Derby? “We’ll see if he is the best”
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Mark Valeski, second): “He ran great. He tries hard. That other horse may have been counted out but he runs well every time he runs. He’s a lightly raced horse. I still have confidence going forward. He’s a hard-knocking horse and he ran very well.”
Trainer Larry Jones (Mark Valeski, second): “We got a good trip. We laid up, we came around Cigar Street when we got ready, and it looked like we got into the race easy enough. We’ve been running against (Hero Of Order) all meet with something, I guess it was his turn. I don’t know if it will get us enough graded earnings. If we didn’t make it, then it tells us we don’t belong.”
Jockey Jerry Hollendorfer by phone (Rousing Sermon, third): “He had a good effort. Mike said he lost momentum. I don’t know. We were back far enough, and we had to go wide. It probably gives us enough earnings but I’ll have to confer with the owners. Distance is no problem for this horse. That’s the difficult part for me. I know this is a good horse but do we want to push on or maybe find a spot to win a race and then look at a race like the Belmont? I think he wants as much ground as they run horses on.”
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan (Cigar Street, fourth): “I thought he ran hard. He tried every step of the way. He traveled well. I thought he ran a gallant race. For a lightly raced horse running against experienced horses I thought he ran well.”
Trainer Steve Margolis (Cigar Street, fourth): “We ran back in 22 days and led him over there trained and ready. But we were playing catch up with a lack of seasoning and experience, but he really impressed us. He gave it his all. He got a little tired late, but he dug in and just got beat by (Rousing Sermon) for third, who has been running in stakes. No disgrace and we’re proud of him. He had some trouble in his maiden race and we asked him to do a lot. Everyone gets excited because we knew if we ran first or second we would have the earnings but we have a whole year ahead of us. We’re very happy. We’ll ship back to Churchill Downs tomorrow and look for a race in five or six weeks.”
Jockey John Velazquez (Windsurfer, sixth): “He came on nice, he’s just a little immature horse. It’s a shame we couldn't run somewhere else and get more experience and look at the Derby. Eventually he’s going to be a very nice horse. He was inside, he was running well the whole way around, but I had to squeeze him a little bit and he was looking around. So he’s still a little immature. He’s going to be a really nice horse though.”
NOTES: The $220.80 win price is the largest ever in the Louisiana Derby and the largest this meet…Dorochecnko indicated he has one previous stakes win, the 2011 $60,000 Hatoof Stakes at Arlington Park with Santina Dond…This is the first Louisiana Derby win for Eddie Martin Jr., a New Orleans native who has one leading rider title here, at the 2001-2002 meet.
Race 9-Grade II, $400,000 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap
Four-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles, 867h running
Jockey John Velazquez (Casino Host, winner): “I talked to Chad this morning and he wanted me to give the horse a good run up and put him into the pace and don’t let him too far back and a least have somebody in front of him. If he’s too far back at the eighth pole he is not going to catch him. If he’s close enough, within two lengths he is going to finish. He was right. He was right there on the money and when I asked him he responded and put a good fight down the lane.”
Owner Gary West (Casino Host, winner): “He is a hard-trying horse that has been running with some pretty good horses and has not had the best of luck. We thought he would like this course, especially the 1 1/8-miles. That’s about his right distance. He can go out to a mile-and-a-quarter.
“Take a look at his past performances and you will see he has run with some of the best turf horses in the country. So we thought he deserved a chance.”
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Papaw Bodie, second): “The horse ran great. I actually kind of liked the horse who beat us on paper even though he was a longshot, I thought he might run well in there. But my horse ran his race, he ran great.”
Jockey James Graham (Joinem, third): “Not too bad for a 38-1 longshot. On the far turn I just wanted to keep on moving forward. And he did. We gave it a great shot."
Trainer David Carroll (Joinem, third): “I was very proud of the horse. There just wasn’t enough pace for this horse to run at; it takes him a while to get going. The last sixteenth he really kicked in. James gave him a great ride. This horse never runs a bad race; I couldn’t believe the price. He runs his heart out every time.”
Race 8-Grade II, $400,000 New Orleans Handicap
Four-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles, 86th running
Jockey Jesse Campbell (Nates Mineshaft, winner): “You are seeing a horse that has just been blossoming.
“I tried to take him back and he wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to run. That’s where his mind is – full of confidence.”
“You know, ever since this horse won four races ago he’s just been blossoming. I was a little concerned in the first turn that we were going too fast and I actually tried to take him back a little bit. He wasn’t really having it so you know how good horses are, you let them be happy and run their race. When I hit the half mile pole, I mean, this horse was still in my hands, he was still kind of pulling on me a little bit. You know he’s just full of run like the other day. I cannot say enough of Austin Smith and what he has done with this horse. You just don’t see this happen every day. Austin Smith and his team, his wife, the grooms, unbelievable.”
Trainer Austin Smith (Nates Mineshaft, winner): “He kind of got a breather when he opened up down the backstretch. He likes this track. When I first got him, I didn’t train him hard. A lot of work has been done on him and he’s really changed a lot. This was awesome. This is a replay I’ll love to watch.
“When I saw 23, 46 and change and 11, I didn’t have a lot of high hopes. But he loves this track.
“I’m happy for the horse. He’s turned into a monster since he’s been down here. It’s nice to win a big race.”
Jockey Javier Castellano (Mission Impazible, second): “Things went perfect for us. I had a beautiful trip. I squeezed him coming for home and he responded but the winner was much the best today.”
Jockey Eddie Castro (Toby’s Corner, third): “I found a little pocket behind some horses and I had a good trip but it’s a fast track today.”
Trainer Neil Pessin (Mister Marti Gras, fourth): “I got stopped at the five-sixteenths pole. Johnny V got off and said, ‘Sorry I gave you a bad ride.’ But he really didn’t. He was where he was supposed to be and it just didn’t open up. He got checked back turning for home and he swung him out. I’d rather take a shot doing that than swing 15-wide at the three-eighths pole and lose all the ground. He made the right decision, it just didn’t work. I’m not saying we could’ve beat the inner but we would’ve been second.
“We’ll go to Keeneland, maybe even take a look at the Charles Town race in two weeks for a million dollars depending how he comes out of it.”
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Pants On Fire, fifth): “We were in a good spot and I had an eye on the favorite, Mission Impazible, and the horse was feeling good but she just didn’t fire today.”
NOTE: The final time of 1:47.64 set a new track record…This was the first graded stakes win for trainer Austin Smith.
Race 6-$75,000 Crescent City Derby
Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, 40th running
Jockey Corey Lanerie (Look At the Time, winner): “It’s fabulous. First and foremost I would like to thank Wes for sticking with me and for giving me an opportunity to get on the horse and ride him. I’m just the passenger. He’s a fun horse to ride. Puts you right where you want to be and when you call on him, he’s got a turn of foot that’s second to none.
“Having ridden him before I know he has such a quick turn of foot. He’s the type of horse he punches right through and when he makes the lead he put the air brakes on like his job’s over. I thought Shane Sellers (on Beanwah’smachine) and Freddie One Bite would maybe take me to the eighth-pole and I was hoping to follow them to there and then, if I had horse, worry about a spot. I knew his turn of foot would get me through anything. It didn’t look like it but I really was never worried at any point.”
Trainer Wes Hawley (Look At the Time, winner): “I just wish he would have been left up the first time we run him; we all would have made a lot of money.
“There is a possibility of looking at Churchill for the Crown Royal. We’re just going to play it by ear.”
Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. (Event Center, second): “The horse ran big. We had a perfect trip. He went right through up the inside. I squeezed on him in the stretch and he picked it up, but we just got caught by a better horse.”
Race 4-$150,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes
Three-year-olds and up, six furlongs, 59th running
Jockey Richard Eramia (Gantry, winner): “This horse is very easy to ride. You only have to wait a little bit until the sixteenth-pole. It was very good.”
Trainer Ron Faucheaux (Gantry, winner): “We just trained up to this race from the last stake. I just want to thank Ms. Evelyn for giving me the opportunity to train this horse and thank Richard for the three consecutive great rides.
“It’s great when a plan comes through. This was our goal the whole time. It is very exciting for everybody.”
Owner Evelyn Benoit of Brittyln Stable (Gantry, winner): “I am very proud. Those two guys (Eramia and Faucheaux) deserve all the credit. They were very confident from the first day we ran this horse that we would win all three of theses stakes. I always hopes it would work out and it did!”
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Joe Hollywood, second): “He ran a super race. Speed is his number one asset and he used it well. At midstretch I really thought they might not catch us but unfortunately they did.”
NOTE: Gantry’s final time of 1:08.58 is a new stakes record and the fastest six-furlong time of the meet.
Leading Horsemen Quotes
Leading Jockey Rosie Napravnik: “You know, it was such a great day (on Saturday). Every win is a special one. Yesterday I really liked that filly (Fair Grounds Oaks winner Believe You Can) and it was great of the Jones to have me on her so I was very thankful for it.”
What was your most memorable experience this season? “I’m going to have to say the Risen Star so we’ll have to see how that goes later on today but that was a great race and I’m looking forward to how that horse progresses today.”
Where are you going to next? “I’m going to New York and finish up the last couple of weeks at Aqueduct and then move on to Belmont and Saratoga this summer. May or may not be here next year and if that’s the case that I am not here I am sure going to miss this place but I really love it down at the Fair Grounds and I love New Orleans and you know I am really thankful to all the people here, trainers, and owners, that have supported me, and congratulations to Steve Asmussen and Maggi Moss for their titles as well.
NOTE: This was the second consecutive leading jockey title for Napravnik.
Leading Trainer Steve Asmussen: “New Orleans has meant so much to the barn and all the success we’ve been fortune to have the last few years and just want the trend to continue.”
What’s been the most memorable moment from your career? “For me it will always be when Curlin won the Preakness in a photo. You know, it was a close finish, had never won a race at that level. When they put his number up I’ll hold that forever.”
NOTE: This was Steve Asmussen’s 11th Fair Grounds training title, a new record. Asmussen had previously shared the record with Jack Van Berg, who has 10 leading trainer titles.
Leading Owner Maggi Moss: “I sure wanted it but I don’t ever have any expectations. This is my favorite racetrack. I love this town, I love this track and this is the one I wanted the most.
“I appreciate the horses and Tom Amoss, Rosie and James Graham. My hats off to them, thank you!”
NOTE: This was the second consecutive leading owner title for Moss.