PAUL ATKINSON, CARACORTADO, WINNER: “This horse is very mature, he acts like an older horse. You can do anything with him. You can put him on the lead or he’ll relax off the pace like he did today. Going down the backside, I was sitting behind the frontrunners and I really wanted to wait a little longer with him today, but those two horses (Tiz Chrome and American Lion) that were on the lead are good horses and I didn’t want to let them get away from me. Leaving the quarter pole, I asked my horse to go and he went. He finished up like a really nice horse.”


MIKE MACHOWSKY, CARACORTADO, WINNER: “He had an advantage in recency (of races) and already going two turns successfully. Some of the others were coming off a longer layoff than he was. We’ll look at the San Felipe next (Grade II, $150,000, 1 1/16 miles on March 13) and see if Lookin At Lucky comes at us. I think my horse will love the dirt, but I’m not anxious to ship him right now.”
Told he won like he was 1-5: “You know, he trains like that. Every time I ask him, he does what I want. I read what everybody writes about him, that he’s kind of off-bred, not a blueblood, but he’s honest . . . You can’t knock that. I think that’s part of it (when asked if the gelding was “flying under the radar prior to this race because of his low-profile rider, Paul Atkinson), but if he’s under the radar now, he shouldn’t be.
“Paul rode him flawless. He’s given this horse flawless rides every time. It shows that jocks need stock under them, and trainers need stock. It doesn’t matter if Bob Baffert, Charlie Whittingham or Rich Mandella has Caracortado, or Mike Machowsky. It’s 80 percent the horse, maybe 10 percent the trainer and 10 percent the jock. We all need the horses. I’ve never hesitated to have Paul on this horse.

NOTES: The winning owners are Mr. and Mrs. Don Blahut of Newhall who races as Blahut Racing, and Mike Machowsky of Monrovia, who races also Hi Racing.