Stakes Quotes

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March 1, 2014


MIKE SMITH, AWESOME BABY, WINNER: “The game plan was to break and get a clear lead so we could give her a chance to take a breather.

“We weren’t sure that she would go long; she didn’t at two. We got the first quarter in twenty-three and it was all her after that. I told Bob that I don’t know if it was her turning three or the mud today, but I finished with something left. That was real impressive to me since I didn’t know if she was going to get the distance at all.

February 22, 2014


BRICE BLANC, AMBITIOUS BREW, WINNER: “Mike (Smith, regular rider) was out of town today and I worked him the other morning, but I was still a little surprised to see my name on him. It was a very nice surprise; he had worked really well for me. I talked to Mike a little about the horse, I watched the replays and it seemed pretty straight forward.

“He has plenty of natural, tactical speed and this race looked like it had a few speed horses in it. My plan was to track and Marty told me he has a really nice turn of foot.

February 17, 2014


GARY STEVENS, PONTCHATRAIN, WINNER: “I was hoping we would get the trip we did. Tom has done such a good job preparing this filly for this race.

“With a filly like her, you can get a perfect trip. She has good gate speed. Those races down the hill, for fillies that are tough to handle, it changes their whole mind set. She relaxed for me and we just brought it home. I think if she keeps relaxing for me we can go even further with her. Even if she doesn’t relax, she’s a great miler.

February 16, 2014


JOEL ROSARIO, KOBE’S BACK, WINNER: “Last time he clipped heels and that was a tough race over at Hollywood. He handled the seven furlongs well today.

“I’ll talk to my agent, he makes all the calls, all the decisions (on whom I ride) but I like him; today was very impressive and he looked good today.”

MIKE SMITH, CHERUBIM, SECOND: “He was just cruising early, nice and happy. We just got outrun.

February 15, 2014


JOE TALAMO, IOTAPA, WINNER: “We were going pretty slow and that was kind of our plan, to take her to the lead. She was just pricking her ears back and forth. She showed a lot of class today; I was so fortunate to get back on her. This was all class, she’s never been worse than third and she’s run some great races. Looking for a big year from her.

“I was happy with the fractions today; I pretty much just stayed out of her way. She’s a classy filly, seven career starts and second to Beholder so she’s all class.

February 8, 2014


AARON GRYDER, BLINGO, WINNER: “I’m very happy with this race and how (Blingo) positioned himself. I’ve ridden (second-place finisher) Imperative before and he ran one hell of a race today but my horse just kept digging.

“I was hoping for a hot pace today and I was real happy with first eighth of a mile. By the time we had gone three-sixteenths I could tell we had established a fast pace and I just wanted my horse to settle. I didn’t care if that made us third, or second, or gave us the win. I just knew the only chance we would have would be if he settled.


VICTOR ESPINOZA, VAGABOND SHOES, WINNER: “Today I wanted to ride smart, sit back and save ground on the first turn. I just wanted to find my way around and it set up well for me. I wanted to control the race and about 300 yards out of the gate I knew I had an excellent position. I was in control of the inside and outside and horses in front of me so I felt I was in good shape.


GARY STEVENS, CANDY BOY, WINNER: “For a big horse he has a lot of acceleration and confidence on the turn. I was closer than I thought we were going to be today. He’s grown a lot lately, he’s grown but he’s also grown (mentally), too. I’ve been up for his last five works and we haven’t really squeezed the trigger yet. The gallop-out was huge today and I was already thinking about the Santa Anita Derby as we were galloping out around the turn. It was a lot of fun and he didn’t even take a deep breath after the race.

February 2, 2014


RAFAEL BEJARANO, WILD DUDE, WINNER: “I knew with three horses in the race for Mr. Hollendorfer, I knew Gary (Stevens) was going to send on Moonshine Bay to put a little pressure on the favorite (Martin Garcia, on Secret Circle.) The favorite went to the lead easy, but he was tracking the other horse (Moonshine Bay).

“I saved ground around the turn and waited for the stretch. I knew those two on the front end were going to keep going so I just wanted to wait so I could be clear in the stretch. I just had to wait for the right moment, the right time.

February 1, 2014


GARY STEVENS, FASHION PLATE, WINNER: “She’s a very cooperative filly. You never know first time going long. I will say, the other day another horse broke in on her during a work and it showed me a lot about her.

“She broke very relaxed and I didn’t want to get her rolling (too early.) She was content to stay inside of Rafael (Bejarano, on Taste Like Candy) around the first turn and at the three-quarter pole I knew it (the pace) wasn’t good for either one of us, even though she was relaxed so I let her out a notch and she did what I wanted her to do.