JOE TALAMO, FLUKE, Winner: “This is very emotional for me. Bobby’s (Frankel) the one who brought me out here. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I watched the replay of his last race and man, he came home in :22. I’m not going to say that we knew he was going to win, but we came in with a lot of confidence. He’s a real nice horse and I think he’s going to go on to do some big things. They weren’t really going all that fast, but into the turn I could see some of them were making early moves. In the stretch it was just a matter of finding a seam, and when he found one he really took off.”
JOEL ROSARIO, EVER A FRIEND, Second “Coming to the three-eighths, a horse came up on the outside (Blue Chagall) and he made me move a little early. He ran good. I don’t think I would have won, I just wish I could have waited longer.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, COWBOY CAL, Third: “I was real comfortable, but when I saw that other horse come up at the half-mile (Blue Chagall), I had to move or get shut off. He was still running at the end but I had to move a little early. He’s got a good turn of foot, but it’s a little short. You have to time it perfect.”
HUMBERTO ASCANIO, FLUKE, Winner, PROUDINKSY, fourth: “Bobby told me to get him ready. Be positive, he is training good. He was right. The horse was doing good. My job was to continue training. I’m just happy to win for him.
“He was confident. He said this horse can win. I like that. It was a tough race, I’m just happy to win it. I know he had a lot of horse at the head of the stretch, he hadn’t asked him. Early in the year I saw he won that race and I thought he would be a nice horse at the end of the year.
“He was more rank (early in the year). He is tough to ride in the morning and hard to settle. Real tough, he (Talamo) did a good job.”
NOTES: Trainer Humberto Ascanio, the 35-year assistant to the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel — who died of lymphoma on Nov. 16 — held his 15-month old grandson Jonathan in the winner’s circle and was joined by his wife, Maureen, and other family members.
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