MARTIN GARCIA, FIRST DUDE, Winner: “I knew there was speed in the race, so I just broke and tried to get him to relax and make one run. That’s the key to this horse, to make him relax. If you start fighting him, he’ll just take off and no matter what you do you can not pull him up because he’s a big horse. Look at the way he was running before. He’d just take off. Today, he handled everything perfect.”
CHANTAL SUTHERLAND, GAME ON DUDE, Second: “He’s a super little horse. With him, you just kind of let him click off his fractions. It’s like mathematics, he’s just very technical. It felt like the Santa Anita Handicap turning for home. I thought, ‘Wow, Twirling Candy happened to be exactly where he was.’ (Twirling Candy) felt so powerful, like he was going to pass me, but Game On Dude can get the mile and a quarter and Twirling Candy just faltered a little bit late. I could feel (Twirling Candy’s) heart breaking.”
JOEL ROSARIO, TWIRLING CANDY, Third: He was relaxed. A mile and a quarter may be a little far for him. He was good and had no excuses. I wasn’t even asking him to relax, he just did everything on his own. He just got a little tired in the lane.”
BOB BAFFERT, FIRST DUDE and GAME ON DUDE, Winner and Second: “In the morning they’ve been finishing together and they both ran a great race today. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Chantal. She rode a great race. She really picked that horse up and carried him and got a second wind. He was on the lead and that’s the way he wants to run. Last time we grabbed him (Game On Dude) and he didn’t like that. He’s just a high cruising horse who just keeps going. First Dude, he’s just a big old horse and you’ve just got to let him settle. You just have to ride him with a lot of confidence, and that’s what Martin did. When he ran First Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap, the first time we ran him, I just thought we’d send him out of there and he would just keep on going like he did in his races last year. He doesn’t want to be ridden that way because he was done at the three-eighths pole. Then we worked him one morning and he broke off behind some worker and Martin just sat on him and all of the sudden he finished up well. I said, ‘You know what, I think that’s what he wants to do.’ So we ran him in the allowance race and we let him break and it was more like a practice to see if he liked it and he ran great. At Churchill Downs (Alysheba Stakes May 6) he did the same thing. When they hit the wire, I knew I’d won it, I just didn’t know which one. I was hoping for a dead heat, that would have been really cool. They both could have gotten a “Win and You’re In” and really bust out the Breeders’ Cup. I didn’t know what I was going to do with him, but now I can take him to Del Mar and run him in the ($1 million) Pacific Classic (Aug. 28).’’
JOHN SADLER, TWIRLING CANDY, Third: “It looked like today he had a perfect trip and just didn’t have an excuse, so maybe we’ll look at the distance.”
Notes: The last time a trainer had the first two finishers in the Gold Cup was the late Bobby Frankel when Aptitude and Skimming ran 1-2 in 2001. That result was made possible when Futural was disqualified from first and placed third…Trainer Richard Mandella, who saddled fourth place finisher Setsuko Saturday, ran 1-2-3 in 1997 with Gentlemen, Siphon and Sandpit…It was the first Gold Cup victory for Garcia and the third for Baffert, whose earlier wins came with Real Quiet (1999) and Congaree (2003).
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