EMIRATES AIRLINE DISTAFF GRADE 1
ERIC WING: We are joined now the interview tent by the winning connections of Ginger Punch, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff and undoubtedly an Eclipse Award will be in her near future. And we have the jockey, Rafael Bejarano, who gave her a perfect ride around the track; owner and breeder, Frank Stronach and the assistant to Bobby Frankel who was not able to come out today, Chad Brown. And Chad, if you first tell us why Bobby stayed home and have you had a chance to speak to him since the race.
CHAD BROWN: Not yet. He's home caring for his dog, she's very ill, Happy. We're all hoping that she's doing well and recovering but she is very ill.
ERIC WING: Frank, you're used the Breeders' Cup as a springboard to Eclipse Awards and Horse of the Year honors with some of your four previous winners, horses like Perfect Sting, Awesome Again, Macho Uno and, of course, Go Sapper and now you add Ginger Punch to the ranks. Can you talk about the decision to move her from a one‑turn horse into a two‑turn dynamo?
FRANK STRONACH: Of course, I'm always happy, you have to have a little bit of doubt, I think it was, what, 200,000 we had to lay out and Bobby said, "Look, I feel pretty good about the filly." And basically, I don't second guess Bobby. So I said, go ahead.
ERIC WING: She was not the only horse of the year, Sugar Shake was not Breeders' Cup nominated, was that a clerical error or a conscious error?
FRANK STRONACH: We have so many and it gets very costly to nominate so many. But we nominate maybe 20 percent of our foals, right, or 30 percent, and then with the rest, we just take a guess and pray and hope for the best.
ERIC WING: Was there any hesitation in your mind to put up the money to supplement her for this race?
FRANK STRONACH: In hindsight, no. (Laughter).
ERIC WING: And Frank, is she going to the breeding shed beginning of next year or might she race again in 2008?
FRANK STRONACH: We'll talk about it. I'll speak with Bobby about that.
ERIC WING: Rafael Bejarano, congratulations on Breeders' Cup victory number two in your career, the other one also performed for Bobby Frankel in the Intercontinental at the Filly and Mare Turf. I know Bobby said part of the reason why he was hesitant to supplement, you know, you could wind up with post 12 and you're hosed. You gave her the opposite trip. You gave her a ground‑saving trip, however long the circumference of the rail is, that's how far she seemed to travel. Can you take us through the race and did things set up for you just right or did you make some decisions here or there?
RAFAEL BEJARANO: You're talking about what horse, Intercontinental?
ERIC WING: No, I'm sorry, Ginger Punch.
RAFAEL BEJARANO: Ginger Punch, this is a nice horse. I don't have other choice, I just try to stay on the ground a little bit and I saw a lot of speed on the upside. So the best what I can do is save a ground on the first turn and try to keep it clear of the dirt in the face. And when I see this filly in the lead, he try to stay four or five lanes in the upside so I try to stay in the rail and, you know, wait to the half‑mile, and just give a little attention to find a good position from the half‑mile.
When I see the other horse from the half‑a‑mile try to put pressure on, I was, you know, keep going with the other horse. But I was in perfect position with the race, and you know, that horse, she was trying really, really hard when I come to the turn. I know I've got a lot of horse and that's why I was waiting a little bit, wait until the other horse moved first.
Then after that, I moved and let him go and that horse ‑‑ when I feel the other horse push me to the rail, you know, I always kick it to the rail a little bit. That horse, I think he's coming back again. That's why, you know, he fired the race.
ERIC WING: Did you feel the horse was in any jeopardy at all in the stretch? It looked like you did go into the rail.
RAFAEL BEJARANO: Yeah.
ERIC WING: Were you concerned that she would either hurt herself or lose all her momentum?
RAFAEL BEJARANO: Well, when he comes to the turn, the 3/8, the other horse, was in the third lane and I was in the first lane. But when he see me next to him, he tries to put pressure on and when I come to the turn, I try to stay together.
But when he saw me, I've got a lot of horse, that's why he tried to push me to the rail, you know, to intimidate to my horse, you know.
But my horse, I know he's going to fire the race, and that's why he's coming back again, you know, waiting for the other horse to push me.
ERIC WING: And you've ridden Ginger Punch for the vast majority of her races. What's been the difference of turning her from a great sprinter miler to a mile‑and‑eight classic Distaff winner?
RAFAEL BEJARANO: The only thing what I thinks is I saw a lot of speed in the race, and I say, you know, well, I've got to give her help from the gate, let him break good and if I see somebody is going to be to the lead, I follow him and that's the best what I have to do in the race.
So changes the race different, because he goes to the lead but he tries to go out. So I always try to stay in the rail and wait, you know, stay my ground a little bit and I was in perfect position.
Q. Mr. Stronach, you're involved in so many areas of the industry. How does the joy of this compare to all of the business and other aspects that you go through day‑to‑day?
FRANK STRONACH: This is organic, a little different. Most times if you produce products, you can weigh it, scale it, engineer it, so there's no comparison. There's no comparison if you make a motor or a dashboard. This just gives you much more of a high.
Q. Once you turned for home, you were on the inside, do you think if you had been on the outside, you could have run a little easier?
RAFAEL BEJARANO: Oh, yeah. Definitely, yeah. That's what I think before the race, because, you know, I was trying to go to the speed and try to stay ‑‑ try to come in outside and follow the speed. But he was different in the race. So when I'm through the other horse, you know, staying next to me on the upside, I have no choice but to keep going.
But if I can be on the upside, he can win really easy because the last couple three times, he win like that, you know.
Q. You kept your cool. Congratulations.
RAFAEL BEJARANO: Thank you so much.
Q. What's the next 48 hours hold for Ginger Punch? Is she going back to Belmont?
CHAD BROWN: Yeah, she'll probably return back to Belmont until Mr. Stronach and Bobby speak and decide where she goes next, but yeah.
ERIC WING: And some of us are used to seeing when Bobby is not around, Humberto Ascanio; how long have you been working for Bobby and is this the first time you've been representing Bobby at a race of this magnitude?
CHAD BROWN: No, I've been with him for five years and I have been at a lot of the big events. Normally Bobby is there with me, so I'm kind of just shadowing her. But I was there on Derby day and saddled her.
Yeah, I've been there. Just look for me. (Laughter).
ERIC WING: How old are you, Chad?
CHAD BROWN: 28.
Q. Mr. Stronach, has this been a tough year for you given the turmoil with Magna, and does that make this even sweeter?
FRANK STRONACH: I don't know what turmoil you talk about, Magna. I don't really ‑‑ I think we are okay.
Q. Just the ‑‑ Magna is just going through a transition, I guess?
FRANK STRONACH: Oh, the Magna Entertainment Group. We have a few, the automotive, I guess, is one of the leading world companies.
No, we put so much monies in the infrastructures, and so we just have to fine‑tune it, but I'm very optimistic. We are in great shape.
Q. You must have been gratified that this was a home bred by one of your stallions.
FRANK STRONACH: No question, right, but any time you win a great win or especially the Breeders' Cup, you don't care what it wins by. But if you know you own the sire and you own the mare, then it's great.
ERIC WING: And you can raise the stud fees at the same time. (Laughter).
FRANK STRONACH: That's something that we have to think about it.
RAFAEL BEJARANO: I want to say something. I want to say everybody, thank you very much for giving me again the opportunity to the owners and the trainer. I hope he can feel better in California, and I know he can trust me and he's given me a lot of opportunities in this year in my career. So thank you so much again. I want to say thank you for the sponsor, Emirates Airlines, thank you so much, too.
FRANK STRONACH: And thank you to Bobby, he's such a great trainer. He's so smart, he shaved her so the mud would not stick on her and now we have to be thinking on what we need to put in our Ginger Punch to make it more spicy.
ERIC WING: Congratulations to all three of you.
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