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    Smith: “I knew I was going to have to cut the corner. And I was just going to hope I could find a way out of the pack. But I certainly couldn’t go around the whole field after being 20 lengths behind. Quality Road was backing up so fast that I really had to maneuver around him, which slowed me down a bit. If I could have gotten a straight shot it certainly would have helped. When I finally did get clear, I made my big kick.”

    Stall Jr.: “Blame struck the front between the three-sixteenths and the eighth pole. Then I saw Zenyatta coming on the outside, and it’s a blur from there.”

    Asher: “She was just gobbling up track with each of those incredibly long strides.”

    Hancock: “You could be blind and know she was making her surge because you could hear the crowd. If there were 70,000 people there, 65,000 of them were pulling for her.”

    Drape: “She looked really agile when she popped out. I’m listening to Trevor Denman, and he’s shouting, ‘Zenyatta! Zenyatta! Zenyatta!’ And I’m saying to myself — and even a little bit out loud — ‘She’s gonna get there! She’s gonna get there! She’s gonna get there!’”

    Jay Hovdey, Daily Racing Form executive columnist: “People were standing on their chairs. And on each other’s shoulders.”

    Delgado: “I was watching from the winner’s circle, watching her catch up inch by inch by inch.”

    Willard: “I lost my voice every time she ran and that’s how it was that day.”