Restoring Hope: Trained by Bob Baffert for owners/breeders Gary and Mary West, the Belmont longshot is out of Symbol Of Freedom.
Gronkowski: Sorry, we had to do it. The Belmont runner is named for the Patriots tight end, who actually owns a small percentage. Jets, Giants and Eagles fans should feel free to boo – though the horse won’t really understand.
“We’re taking on Goliath, you know. This is not the junior prom we’re dealing with. We’re going to have a tough chore. I don’t see any chinks in the armor.”
— Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who runs Bravazo in the Belmont, about taking on Justify again
“I still enjoy it, probably more. You don’t know how many there are left. I don’t mean age-wise, but whether you’re going to get a horse like Justify . . . or one of these horses. I don’t know if I enjoy it any more but I’m more realistic about maybe how many more there are out there.”
— Lukas, 82, on taking part in the Triple Crown races
“I couldn’t see a thing. Did you see anything?”
— Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, on trying to watch Justify in the fog at Pimlico on Preakness Day
“I’ve got one more year left, maybe two.”
— Justify’s jockey Mike Smith, whose career started in 1982 (don’t believe him)
“This horse brought himself along. It’s incredible the way he came around. Within 75 days, he ran these races, wins the Derby. To be affiliated with the horse is a privilege.”
—- Trainer Bob Baffert, on Justify (whose career debut came Feb 18)
“The way things are going, you could have been president if you would have known.”
— Baffert, to Lukas, about success in racing and other pursuits