MIKE SMITH, INDIAN FIREWATER, WINNER: “Going into this race, we thought we’d let him run away from there and if we made the lead, fine. When I came out to the paddock, they told me Bob (Baffert) had called an audible, and there was a change in strategy--‘Put him on the lead.’ Down the backside, he was running easily and he was within himself and breathing really good. I wasn’t sure if we won it, because the other horse (Tweebster) was out so wide.”

RAFAEL BEJARANO, TWEEBSTER, SECOND: “I was pretty happy with the race. I decided to put him right behind the lead and get him to relax a little bit. When I got to the stretch it was pretty clear and I tried to give him an opportunity but the horse on the lead was pretty comfortable.”


JIM BARNES, ASSISTANT TO BOB BAFFERT, INDIAN FIREWATER, WINNER, AND TWEEBSTER, SECOND: “I was just happy to see our two horses coming down the stretch together there. You want them both to win, but . . . That was as close to a dead-heat as you could get. At first I thought Indian Firewater won, then watching the replay I thought maybe the outside horse (Tweebster) because it was it was at a different angle, way to the outside. But we’ll take it one-two.”

Barnes said Baffert “went on vacation. It’s his birthday (58 on Jan. 13). He took a few days off.”

NOTES: Winning owners are Mike Pegram of Phoenix, and Karl Watson and Paul Weitman of Tucson.