The 148th Belmont Stakes Quotes
Steve Asmussen, trainer Creator, winner: “It’s the best feeling right now. The great thing about racing; you can have a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. They don’t put you behind the gates, they line you up even and give you a chance to prove yourself. Obviously want to say thanks for the opportunity with a horse like him that can prove he’s good enough to win the Belmont Stakes.
“Curlin didn’t ever do anything but make us happy. Being a victor in the Belmont Stakes will look good on that plaque.
“I thought Irad gave him a perfect trip. I thought he saved yards and won by inches. He made the difference.
“He saved a lot of ground going into the first turn. Gettysburg did his job. A great call by Elliott there. Forty-eight and four for a half allowed Creator to show who he is. I thought quite a bit of traffic around the quarter pole; Irad was beautifully patient. He went through a lot of traffic very smooth. Very proud of Creator; he stayed focused through the traffic and did all he could to get up and win a great race.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey Creator: “He was calm and I just waited for somewhere to go. When he got clear, he started running.
“Thank you for the owners for giving me the opportunity. Steve Asmussen did a great job and thanks to him, I’m here today. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s very important to me. Thanks to everyone who helped me.”
Todd Pletcher, trainer Destin (second) and Stradivari (fifth):
On Destin: “He ran a great race. Tough beat.”
On Stradivari: “It looked like he got to the top of the stretch and flattened out. He just didn’t stay the mile and a half.”
Javier Castellano, jockey Destin, second: “I’m very satisfied with the way he competed today. I’m proud of my horse. We just got beat but I’m proud of my horse the way he did it today.”
Yutaka Take, jockey Lani, third: “He was in very good condition and the distance was good.”
Keith Desormeaux, trainer Exaggerator, 11th: “I saw the pace, so you would have expected a little bit of a fight. The Triple Crown might have caught up to him. We will have to see. When he pulled up, he didn’t look winded. I don’t know. We’ll have to figure it out. Maybe he was just struggling with the surface. A horse will come back less tired when they are struggling with the surface when they won’t give their all. Maybe it’s as simple as that.
“I was hoping to dispel the sloppy track thing but that has to come into play as well. I think it’s mostly Belmont is a deep, sandy surface and he might have had a little trouble with it.
“As for the Triple Crown, this horse was as fresh as a horse can be. I might not a Hall of Fame trainer, but I know when my horse is fresh.
“I am surprisingly not as much you think. It was a heck of accomplishment to win the Preakness, win a classic. Creator is a good son of gun. I put him in my exactas. He’s a great horse. No dishonor losing to him.”
Creator, Destin photo courtesy of Ronnie Betor/Horsephotos.com