Post-Race Quotes From the 2016 Kentucky Derby Jockeys

Post-Race Quotes From the 2016 Kentucky Derby Jockeys

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Now that the 2016 Kentucky Derby is in the history books, let the post-race analysis begin! If you’re wondering what the jockeys of each Derby runner thought of how the race unfolded, you’re in luck–Churchill Downs has released official quotes from every jockey that rode in the Kentucky Derby. Enjoy!

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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.”

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin’s quest to become North America’s richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.

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