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Chez Pierre won the 2023 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, posting a 9/1 upset over the 2/5 heavy favorite Modern Games in stakes-record time. Were you as shocked as the Racing Dudes team, or did you see this coming? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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“He was way more relaxed today (than when sixth last out in the Tampa Bay Stakes-G3 Feb. 4 in his first start this year). He was probably a little too fresh coming back. As I said, he needed the race and he was too aggressive, did too much. I think he moved forward after the race just because of his fitness.”
On keeping him moving forward for the remainder of his 2023 campaign
“I think now that he’s running, the most difficult part has been done. So we’re just going to do maintenance breezes and map out a summer with him. Obviously it seems he likes the firm turf – today was perfect to his liking – so we will try to spot him in races on firm turf.”
On when he knew he had a horse of this caliber
“When he ran last year at Laurel Park (winning the Henry S. Clark-L Stakes) and ran a pretty big number, showed great acceleration, we thought he would probably be major.”
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“He broke well. I talked with (trainer) Arnaud (Delacour) that we could find ourselves on the lead, which happened. But he wasn’t really comfortable. He was looking around, and when that horse (Dr Zempf-GB) down the backside made a move, it actually helped me a lot because then I had a target and he was able to settle down and get in a good rhythm. Turning for home I tipped him out and he really accelerated well.”
“He’s always had a hood (with ear covers) on him in the (Saddling Paddock before a race so) that’s nothing unusual. I think we had a bit of ground to make up there unfortunately. He’s run well enough, but he just got a bit detached in there.”
“He had a good trip. The winner went well. I was under pressure a little bit earlier than I thought I would be. The pace was even. I’m sure he will improve from this run. I was closing, but I was under pressure quite soon.”
“Perfect trip. That winner ran fast, can’t catch up – he was running. I feel like my horse gave me everything he had. Looking for maybe a little extra ground but he ran huge. It was a beautiful trip.”
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