The Notebook April 03, 2014

Voices From The Grandstand

  • Gary Contessa, trainer of Uncle Sigh, on Saturday’s Wood Memorial Stakes, a key Kentucky Derby prep race at Aqueduct:

    My opinion is the favorite for the Derby comes out of this race. If Social Inclusion wins, hands down, he'll be the favorite, and if you beat him, then you're going to be one of the favorites. The whole Derby picture is so cloudy right now, and I think the Wood is going to produce the Derby favorite if he does it impressively, or if it's Social Inclusion or Samraat. All eyes will be on the Wood this year.

  • Trainer Art Sherman on his Santa Anita Derby favorite California Chrome and owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin:

    When these guys first sent me the horse, they said ‘Here’s your Derby horse,’ He’s always been a great looking horse, but it really seemed like the ‘light bulb’ went on for him in the Cal Cup (Derby, which he won by 5 ½ lengths on Jan. 25). He’s much more focused now and he loves to train. It’s pretty exciting.

  • Trainer Art Sherman on California Chrome being the 5-to-1 individual favorite in Churchill Downs’ final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool:

    I don’t know how they figure that out. There are a lot of races still to go before the Derby. I had to laugh; he opened up at 300-to-1, now he’s 5-to-1. I said, ‘Well, Jiminy Cricket, that’s a big difference.’ I hope they’re right.

  • Jockey Rosie Napravnik on Louisiana Derby winner Vicar’s in Trouble:

    He is a tiny horse, but he’s got a great big heart.

  • Jockey Mike Smith on Palace Malice, the 2013 Belmont Stakes winner and winner of last Saturday’s New Orleans Handicap:

    This horse holds a special place in my heart. I am just so happy that it worked out that I got to reunite with him, and he didn’t let us down. He might be better than he was last year.

  • Trainer Charlie LoPresti on Wise Dan’s strength as the two-time Horse of the Year prepares for a return to racing at Keeneland Race Course this month with morning gallops under exercise rider Damien Rock:

    [Wise Dan] drug him around yesterday and he was dragging him to the pole today.

  • Michael Blowen, president of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement, thanking West Sixth Brewery for their support of the upcoming Hops and Horses fundraiser honoring Old Friends retiree Bull Inthe Heather:

    Bull Inthe Heather loves his beer and so de we.

  • Bill Nader, executive director of racing at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, on the advent of the Television Games Network (TVG) offering wagering on Hong Kong (The Blood-Horse):

    This is not quite as big as putting a man on the moon, but it is one giant step for international racing and simulcasting.

  • South Florida-based exercise rider and occasional jockey Eddie Perez on loving his job:

    Breezing, racing, that is where you feel the adrenaline, the beauty of the races, the velocity. Racing is not something that I do for the money; it is something that I love, that fascinates me. I love riding.

  • Jockey Javier Castellano after winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby aboard Constitution this past Saturday at Gulfstream Park:

    It’s a dream come true. I’m from Venezuela and when I came to this country my first stop was in Florida. I’ve been watching a lot of Florida Derbys and I always wanted to win one. It is very special.

  • Novelist Lidia Yuknavitch on the new novel Southbound by Portland Meadow track announcer Jason Beem:

    A glorious and visceral book. I sweat reading it.

  • Track announcer Travis Stone on being named the new voice of Monmouth Park:

    I’m eagerly awaiting opening day and look forward to sharing my passion for the game with the New Jersey racing community.

Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to Casey Phillips, winner of this week's Fan Photo Contest!

From Casey: "Into the final turn in the March 8 Big 'Cap, Game On Dude goes down in racing history as the only horse to win the Big 'Cap three times, and for setting the race record as a 7-year-old." Want in? E-mail a .jpg & brief caption to photos@NTRA.com!

Photos of the week

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