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May 6, 2006
CHURCHILL DOWNS, KENTUCKY
THE MODERATOR: Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Edgar Prado wins on Barbaro in a dominating performance. Edgar, take us through the race. You got off to a bit of a stumbling start but that was the only straw in your path today, an incredibly impressive perform.
EDGAR PRADO: Yes, he stumbled coming out of the gate a little bit and after that, he just take a hole and went right with the leaders. He's doing everything so easy now, it was very comfortable. On the back side, picked another hole and put him in the clear. Like I said, he was doing everything so easy, I feel even better on the back side.
Every step of the way, he was running so easy, with the long hole, I wasn't even concerned about the horse in the front.
Q. A few years ago you won your first Kentucky Oaks here, you won many races, where does this rank for you?
EDGAR PRADO: Definitely it's a dream come true. I'm very excited and very happy, and especially Mr. Matz and Mr. Jackson and all of the people that come here to enjoy the show. I'm very glad it was a beautiful show.
Q. Would you introduce the family members.
EDGAR PRADO: My wife, Liliana, and my daughter, Patricia.
Q. And immediately after the race you offered thoughts about your mother after this race.
EDGAR PRADO: Yes, I bring my mother a couple of times to the Derby but unfortunately we didn't get it done and she passed away this year. I dedicated this to her.
Q. How much potential does this horse have? The Preakness is two weeks away, is this horse a Triple Crown contender?
EDGAR PRADO: I rode him three times and every time he showed me more. He shows more class and more ability. I feel very comfortable about him. Today he proved that he can go a mile and a quarter, come from behind. I have no doubts about the kind of ability that he has.
Q. Once you rode Barbaro in Florida, you knew right then that that was your horse, how confident were you back then that this horse would be able to do what he did today?
EDGAR PRADO: First of all, I want to say that I was very fortunate with Mr. Matz and Mr. Jackson, they didn't put a lot of pressure on me in the beginning. We went through the preps and he let me take my time and I was able to go through the prep races before. But all the time, Barbaro was very special. I knew something had to come, very special in him, to change my position, and I'm glad that I did it. Barbaro run the way he's supposed to.
Q. Once he made the move and went to the lead, are you surprised how easy it was for him to go on, and were you expecting somebody to run at him at that point?
EDGAR PRADO: Well, no, I look back a couple of times and I don't see nobody. Those horses in the front started dying a little bit. Like I said, I wasn't concerned. My horse was doing everything so easy; I was very confident. And like I said, it was just a matter of time when I can turn him loose, and you see what happened when I did.
Q. When you left Maryland, short of getting a restraining order, the Maryland racing people wanted you to stay there. They said Maryland racing would die without Edgar Prado, but I'm happy you have been successful and won the Kentucky Derby for the first time. Did you think when you made the kind of move you did today, you may have moved too soon, or was it by design?
EDGAR PRADO: Well, like I said, he broke and from the beginning, he was galloping along on the back side and he was just very happy with a little hold on the bridle. Around the three, four, poles, those horses started dying, and we just riding and he was covering so much ground. We went along pretty easy. Somebody else was moving along inside of me, too, and like I said, I wasn't even moving a hand. Like I said, he's a very nice horse, he covers a lot of ground, and he was very happy every step of the way.
Q. You've won the Belmont Stakes twice and a lot of huge races. What does winning the Kentucky Derby mean to you?
EDGAR PRADO: Well, like I said, it means a lot to me because it's a dream that every jockey wants, to win the Kentucky Derby. It's a very prestigious race. There's a lot of history involved. There's only a handful of jockeys, a few jockeys that have got it done through the years. I'm very glad that I'm part of that.
Q. Could you comment on how when you were coming back with the horse you were pointing towards him and really getting the crowd to cheer the horse? It was sort of reminiscent of when you won the Travers on Birdstone, but just your feelings for the horse and how you were trying to get the crowd involved more so.
EDGAR PRADO: Yeah, I was getting excited. I guess a lot of people knew about me. I don't get too excited when I win; I get very thankful. Today I was thankful and excited at the same time because I knew I was riding a great horse, and it was a beautiful day, a lot of people involved.
I got the feeling that we have potential that maybe we can win the Triple Crown this year. So that's why I was so happy about it and I was celebrating this win, and in my heart, I was celebrating with my mother, too, and the rest of my family.
Q. I'm wondering if you could reflect on the long road it took you to get to this point. I know when you first came here, you were an exercise rider, and it seems like it's been a long road for you to get here.
EDGAR PRADO: I didn't hear what you said.
THE MODERATOR: It's been a long road for you to get here from your opening days in the U.S. as an exercise rider, and now winning the pinnacle, the Kentucky Derby.
EDGAR PRADO: I know it's been a long road but I never was an exercise rider. It took me a long time, I was working real hard for a lot of people. I paid my dues, I went to different places and I work real hard. I'm glad that I met -- you meet a lot of good people in this business and along the road, and I'm very thankful for them. I try to work real hard to keep these connections.
Q. Talk about how it feels to be going back to Maryland as a Derby winner, trying to win the Preakness in the state where you really sort of became known for the first time.
EDGAR PRADO: I'm very happy to win the Derby. Like I said it's a very prestigious race, it's very special, like a dream come true. But nevertheless, it's supported me for 11 years, I've raised my kids over there. I have so many friends, and like I said, I'm thankful for all of the support through the years and I never forget where I come from. Those people mean a lot to me and that would be real great to win that kind of race, and definitely, I wants to dedicate from the bottom of my heart to each and everyone who helped me out.
Q. What did Mr. Matz do that enabled this horse to be successful? What did Michael Matz do that enabled this horse to be successful, as you watched how he trained him leading up to Florida and leading up to the Derby?
EDGAR PRADO: I don't know, I guess you have to ask that question to Mr. Matz. So far only four times I've been on him, he didn't even want me to get on the horse in the morning.
He's working and doing a super job. Everybody is doing a super job with the horse in the morning. Mr. Matz just told me, do my thing and so far it's working fine.
Q. Your mother's name?
EDGAR PRADO: Zenaida.
Q. When did you decide to dedicate this race to your mother?
EDGAR PRADO: Well, my mother passed away on January 19th, and the following big race that I won was the Derby, the Florida Derby, and I dedicate that to my mother, and this one, too. Not only that, but every race that I've won, I'm thinking of her, because she was an inspiration in my life. She gave me a lot of support and she really made me the person that I am. It was a big help in my career and my life.
EDGAR PRADO: Well, when I left Peru, it was very hard, and I was very young, but she never discouraged me. She told me, "Just keep trying and working hard. If you keep working real hard, don't give up, dreams come true and don't ever forget where you come from." That's very valuable things that you learn and I try to follow that.
Q. There were those who believed that Barbaro is a one-pace horse and he does not know how to come from behind. Given the way you rode him today and given the manner of winning by six and a half lengths, do you think that argument has been put to rest; the horse is so versatile you can come from behind and be equally effective?
EDGAR PRADO: Well, he showed today he can be any kind; he can be right with the leaders, he can be behind, inside. I don't think this horse has any particular way to run, and he proved that today.
THE MODERATOR: Trainer Michael Matz, the fourth consecutive Derby rookie trainer to win the Roses, winning the Kentucky Derby in his first attempt.
You've been an extremely confident man in your horse throughout the string, certainly but since you've got here. Talk about his dominating performance today. It was a wonderful, wonderful run.
MICHAEL MATZ: What can I say? Everybody saw it, so they know what he did. I mean, he's just trained well since he came from Florida. We've never missed anything in his training, never wavered one bit from our plan that my assistant and I wanted to do for this horse. Looks like we made the right plan.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about the role of your assistant, you credited him in the winner's circle.
MICHAEL MATZ: Peter Brette used to be a jockey in Dubai and he was a champion jockey in Dubai, and is a wonderful horseman that came to work for me last year. I can't tell you what a good job he's done with this horse, obviously; you saw how he went. He's just a dedicated horseman -- (satellite interruption) -- until that happens, and it looked like he did it easy enough that Edgar really didn't get after him that much.
Like I said, I haven't even had time to watch the replay and speak to Edgar yet. I don't know, he didn't look like he got after him too hard with a stick or anything, and I don't even know if he hit him at all. But he looked like he came back, just from what I saw that he came good. We'll see what happens after he cools out and gets back to the barn.
MICHAEL MATZ: It's a dream come true. I've never had a horse come to the Derby, let alone win it. It's a great feeling. Good horses make good riders and good horses make good trainers.
Q. You've had a number of experiences in your life, you've survived a plane crash, you were a silver medal winner, you carried the flag at the closing ceremonies, how does this experience compare to anything else you've had in your life?
MICHAEL MATZ: Well, they are all different, but they are all very exciting. So, you know, this has to be one of the highlights, certainly, in my training career. Carrying the flag was a highlight in my jumping career.
So they both are very good feelings.
Q. I know you like to take it one step at a time, as everyone said, a lot was made about the five-week layoff with him coming here, however, if he is going to go on and attempt to win a Triple Crown, he'll have to win three races in a five-week span. Do you think he's up to that, and how difficult will that be, particularly with a horse that's used to a lot of rest in between races?
MICHAEL MATZ: Well, now the table's turned, isn't it? That's what we were planning for with the five weeks' rest.
I don't think it's going to be a problem, but we'll have to wait and see.
Q. At one point along the trail, you had talked about how you learned from your equestrian --
MICHAEL MATZ: One second. We were planning -- I don't think, and maybe somebody could tell me what the five weeks -- every horse man I've talked to, the only people that have made a big deal about it has been the press. And I don't know where it's coming from, so me personally, I think it's sort of a moot point. Two weeks, obviously, for any horse, is probably coming back quick, let alone winning the Kentucky Derby. So that was the reason to give him eight weeks off, try to have a fresh horse. It looks like we did this. We're going to bring him back, hopefully if everything comes well, in two weeks. If we've made a mistake, we'll know it in two weeks. But that was the plan all along, and if it works, that's what we're trying to do, make a plan to make it work.
I think if we would have come back in two or three weeks and tried to run two or three weeks, that to me is too much. I'm just trying to make it the easiest route on my horse. If he gets through the next one at the Preakness, if we decide to go there, if he comes out of the race, fine. But if the horse -- I don't see what seven days, one week, when all of the other horses came off the four weeks to five weeks, is that big a deal. If one week is going to make the difference in their training one way or the other, he's probably not going to make the race anyway.
Q. Along the Triple Crown trail, you had talked about how you borrowed some of your experience from your equestrian career to keep the horse fresh. How much of that played into the way you handled the horse, things you learned from your equestrian days, and did you apply some lessons through this whole process that you learned from being an Olympian?
MICHAEL MATZ: No, I think it's just basically being around horses and not being especially from the show jumping world, no.
Q. I was wondering, exactly the period of time that the horse was at Fair Hill last year, I wanted to get straight exactly that time and what impact it may have had on his development, the time he spent there.
MICHAEL MATZ: I think it's a very good training center. It's close to where I live and close to where the Jacksons live. It's a beautiful facility, and I feel that there's lots of things that you can do with the horse in that center. He came to me approximately about one year, a year ago, and I think he liked it.
ROY JACKSON: We're sort of speechless. We've been in racing for a long time. You always dream about getting to the Kentucky Derby. Just getting here was something really special for us, and to win it is -- I really don't have the words to -- I haven't come up with the words to express it right now.
GRETCHEN JACKSON: I personally have thought about the Kentucky Derby, since Whirlaway (1941), since I was a little girl, studied his photograph and loved. So winning this is just, when you say, a dream come true, this is truly it.
Q. He was so dominating over a field that was so highly regarded coming in, did the ease of his victory surprise you or were you as quietly confident as Michael coming into this?
GRETCHEN JACKSON: For some reason, this horse has given us terrific confidence all along. I really think I've been a really nutty about it, but I truly thought he was going to win this Derby. And I don't know, I didn't know why I was so positive about it except to look at him, see him, and I thought he's going to put in a strong performance. And what a job he did.
ROY JACKSON: Gretchen has been overly confident since the Holy Bull (ph) and it scared the devil out of me. I didn't have the same confidence. He's just trained so well that, you know, he's just done a wonderful job.
Q. Talking about Whirlaway -- inaudible?
GRETCHEN JACKSON: That was exciting for a few seconds there.
ROY JACKSON: I remember looking at the backstretch there with both of them together and I think I'll always remember that.
Q. Talk about the international success today with your Kentucky and the breeders of George Washington who looks like a champion in the making in England. There have not been that many days like that for anybody in American racing.
ROY JACKSON: I don't know how to explain it. I don't know why this has happened to us, but we're really enjoying it. (Laughing).
I think all of you know that have followed racing, you really have your ups and downs. And we just are enjoying, I don't know why these circumstances have happened, but we're really enjoying it.
GRETCHEN JACKSON: I would like to also add, I think having this incredibly special day in two peoples' lives that love horses and racing really is asking us to contribute back to the sport in a way, and whether it's an Anna House (ph) or TCA, one of those foundations or a new foundation that we choose to create from this wonderful day, I think we really want to do something, because we've been so fortunate.
Q. If you would give any consideration to taking this horse to the Epsom Derby now or any other major European races down the road.
ROY JACKSON: You want to answer that?
GRETCHEN JACKSON: It would be great. But we go with Michael. Where Michael goes, we go. He knows the horse, and that's the way we like it.
ROY JACKSON: Yeah, that's up to Michael. But Gretchen and Didi Matz, Michael's wife, said they with would love to go to the Arc de Triomphe because they want to go shopping in Paris.
GRETCHEN JACKSON: And you want to eat the food. (Laughter).
Q. Would you please talk about your little corner of the world in Pennsylvania, being the third year in a row that Philadelphia and that area that's produced a horse that's won one of the Classics.
GRETCHEN JACKSON: You know, it's ironic, because very close to all of our farms that are connected to these Derby wins is an area that grows beautiful red roses, and they are known as star roses, and maybe that's the Derby connection.
Q. What do you think your chances are of winning the Triple Crown with Barbaro after this big Derby win?
ROY JACKSON: I really don't know. One step at a time. We're the type of owners that really turn the horses over to the trainer and think that the trainer knows best.
You know, it's really up to Mike Matz, and Peter, Michael's assistant, to make the decision?
Q. Would you talk about how you got involved in racing, when you bought your first horse and when you began breeding and sort of get a general history of your involvement in this industry.
GRETCHEN JACKSON: I missed the first part of your question.
ROY JACKSON: How did we get involved in racing.
GRETCHEN JACKSON: Friends that had race horses and, we sort of eyed it and thought it was great. We've always loved horses and always been around horses. So when we could gather together probably around $7,500 that we bought our first yearling, and we went in with Russell Jones, that was president at one time of Toba, and also Walnut Green. We owned a mare with him and sold her, Progeny (ph), and that was the start of it. The first yearling was a lousy horse, but that didn't stop us, obviously. (Laughing).
Q. It's been reported that you received offers as high as 5 million for Barbaro before the Derby. When did those offers first start coming in and were you close to really considering selling him at any point?
GRETCHEN JACKSON: We never contemplated selling him. He was not for sale. This is a breeder's dream, as well as a racer's dream. He always gave the impression that he was going to be a nice horse. That means a lot of things to a lot of people. So he was never for sale.
We had heard that serious offers had been made through Michael, but that was it. He was not for sale.
Q. Have you had any experiences in baseball in your career that can compare to this at all?
ROY JACKSON: I haven't thought about that too much. No, I would say the only parallel that I can come up with right now is that in baseball, it's somewhat similar to this in owning a couple of Minor League teams. You have your real ups and downs. I had some very good years and some bad years, and that's the only really similarity I can think of right now.
Q. Can you tell us about watching the 2000 Guineas this morning, where did you watch it and your reaction at that time?
ROY JACKSON: We were at the motel and all our children and grandchildren were there. John Stephens (ph) and his wife, Jill, that are here from Ocala, and Brooke Barbaro (ph) were all with us there. And we all had a bit of a cheering section in the corner and we were just watching the race.
Q. What was it about Michael that led you to entrust horses to him? He obviously has not been training thoroughbreds for a long time. You've been around standard breds, as well, was it something that -- maybe it didn't brother you at all, you knew a bit more about him?
GRETCHEN JACKSON: Weren't we lucky! You never know how it's going to play out. He had a great reputation. He lived over the hill; he trained at Fairy Hill 25 minutes from home. We could just jump in a car filthy dirty and go down and see our horses.
To find somebody talented with a great reputation nearby, we really were pleased from the get-go, and what can you say about today.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the owners and breeders of the unbeaten Kentucky Derby champion, Barbaro. It's got a nice ring to it. Floyd and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables, congratulations.
End of FastScripts...