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SANTA ANITA HANDICAP QUOTES
CHANTAL SUTHERLAND, GAME ON DUDE, WINNER: “This is by far the best win in my career. Even getting a leg up from Bob (Baffert) on the horse was great. I just had such a good feeling today, I’m glad it came to fruition.
“I had no problem with my horse. He was straight as an arrow. All I know is that in the race it felt like I got bumped from behind. My horse went off balance, and I hadn’t drifted in or anything. I knew that I got bumped in the race. When I watched the replay I thought it was clear that Joel (Rosario) kind of tipped into Victor (Espinoza) and bumped him into me. Because he was kind of further back on me, it was by my flank, and it affected my balance. I hit my horse left handed, but even before that he was straight. If you watch from the rail, you can see I stayed in my path. This whole thing is exciting. I’m really happy. I think I will absorb it a little more later on. It’s been a quiet meet for me all meet, but if you’re sitting there at the right time, something great can happen. You just have to keep believing in yourself, and keep training.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA, SETSUKO, SECOND: “It’s the wrong decision. I don’t know why it took so long to make the wrong decision. I think the stewards are blind. They need to have some education so people know what’s going on at the races. Obviously, those three stewards, they don’t know what they’re looking at. How many times do they have to drop me to disqualify the horse? That’s insane. I don’t mind running a legitimate second, but when you knock the air out of my horse and you get beat by a head, it’s just insane.”
MARTIN PEDROZA, QUINDICI MAN, THIRD: “I have no comment”
JOEL ROSARIO, TWIRLING CANDY, FIFTH: “The inside came out, and the outside kind of stayed with me, so I got bumped and lost control. After that, I didn’t have anything. I lost all the momentum. It’s horse racing. Sometimes it’s going to be good, sometimes it’s going to be bad. He did all right.”
BOB BAFFERT, GAME ON DUDE, WINNER: “I saw the race, I saw the bumping, I was watching the replay . . . I thought Chantal rode a great race and she deserved to win it . . . I think the stewards made the right call. Once you’re out of horse, it doesn’t matter. It was a tough call, but after watching the replay, I knew he had a chance to stay up . . . The horse broke like a shot with her and he got on the outside and was just cruising. I told her to sit on him as long as she can because he will go a mile and a quarter.”
Asked about the 11th-hour decision to name Sutherland to ride instead of John Velasquez, who has named on the horse initially: “Bejarano was going to ride him, and then he decided to stick with Sadler (Gladding). Right now his agent’s got to be vomiting.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, SETSUKO, SECOND: “I’ve got nothing to say. No comment. It wouldn’t be worth writing.”
CRAIG LEWIS, QUINDICI MAN, THIRD: “He just gives everything he can every time. He’s a working man’s horse.”
JOHN SADLER, TWIRLING CANDY, FIFTH: “Everybody was riding against him, so he got hammered every which way, on every turn. There just wasn’t much of a chance--not a very good trip. He was in tight on the first turn, they were slamming him on the backside and bumping him all the way.
“He broke pretty good, but decided to settle a little bit and let the field come over on top of him, and he never really got a chance. It was just a rough-run race for him.
“Hopefully he’s OK. We’ll live to fight another day. He’s a good horse, but it was just too rough a trip – too much banging around.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Terry Lanni (Lanni Family Trust), Ernest Moody and Maria Vila (Mercedes Stable) and Bernie Schiappa, all of Las Vegas. Today’s on-track attendance was 23,304.