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Belmont Stakes Quotes for Top Three Finishers

Story by: NYRA Press Office


George Hall, winning owner of Ruler On Ice (No. 3):“The funny thing about this horse is that Jose would always come back and say he was goofing off, but he wasn’t really tired. After the Tesio, we figured, what better race to come back than the Belmont. Jose did exactly what we asked him to do and stayed close to the lead. You could see after the race, he wanted to do another victory lap. I think he’s a much better horse than the odds showed, and he proved it today.”

Lori Hall, winning owner of Ruler On Ice (No. 3): “I’m still shaking. It was amazing because we really were the underdog.”

Kelly Breen, winning trainer of Ruler On Ice (No. 3): “He wouldn’t grow up. We were trying to see if with time he would mature without having to put blinkers on him. We were disappointed in the Tesio because we were looking at the Preakness, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Ever since he ran at Sunland Park, he came back with low red blood count and it showed in the stall and it showed in the feed tub. It took a little time to get back to normal. After the Tesio, I thought he came back from the race somewhat lethargic. All of the sudden the last two weeks his red blood count was starting to come up and this week, he had the best blood report he’s had in the past few months, so I said, ‘It’s a go.’ Going into the race, we felt his blood had to be better for us to run.

“(Blinkers) was part of the maturity. He didn’t mature as fast as we wanted to. He’s already a gelding so we can’t castrate him again, so we put blinkers on. The first time out of the gate, Jose was on him. He was still goofing off and didn’t break great. Last week, he broke right and it’s like sometimes, the bulb just goes on. It was a perfect storm of things going right, and that’s how we got here.”

Jose Valdivia Jr., winning jockey of Ruler On Ice (No. 3): “Kelly said, we’ve got the blinkers on him and it didn’t look like there was that much speed in there, so put him into the race and just hope for the best. At the half-mile pole, I was hearing whips cracking behind me and I could hear guys chirping to their horses, and all I’m doing is picking up the tempo. With a half-mile remaining, I still felt like I have a lot of horse under me. Turning for home, everything started going in slow motion. At the sixteenth pole, I thought, ‘This is the true Test of the Champion.’ It’s a great feeling. I have to thank the connections, George and Lori Hall and Kelly. I started working this horse this winter. I told Kelly that I liked him so much, I was going to freeze my butt off to come and work him every morning. He acts like he’s something special, and I don’t think we’ve gotten to the bottom of him yet.”

Todd Pletcher, trainer of runner-up Stay Thirsty (No. 2): “The horse ran a super race. We were pleased. Of course, we would have loved to win this race. We are very proud of him. It was a great effort.”

Javier Castellano, jockey aboard runner-up Stay Thirsty (No. 2): “I have to give credit to the winner. He was impressive. He never gave up. The way the race developed, Shackleford took the lead and the winner was second or third and we tried to stay with him. My horse responded so well today. I was very happy for him. He gave everything he had today. I couldn't ask anything more from him.”

Tom Albertrani, trainer of third-place finisher Brilliant Speed (No. 5): “He ran very well.  It looked like he had it at the eighth pole.  I thought he was going to keep coming with that run.  Joel thought he was kind of looking around once he got to the lead, and that maybe he was kind of idling a little bit, but he ran well.”

Joel Rosario, jockey aboard third-place finisher Brilliant Speed (No. 5): “I had a good trip.  He ran well. Turning for home he made the lead and he looked around a little bit.  I think he ran a good race today.  The distance is perfect for him and he did much better than in the Derby.”