MARTIN GARCIA, THE FACTOR, WINNER: “He was really sharp and was ready to win. Plus, he really likes this track. I decided to let him run and put me wherever he wanted to put me, and look at what he did. I didn’t want to go to the rail today. I wanted to stay a little bit off and if somebody wanted to go, I just let them go and stayed outside. I don’t think there was a horse that could beat him today, he was really sharp.”
When asked about the large crowd for opening day: “It was exciting to see that many people here today. If there were that many people here everyday we would all be happier.”

COREY NAKATANI, ROTHKO, SECOND: “Considering what happened, I thought we were going to win the race going in to the far turn, just biding my time. I didn’t want to give up what was coming easy. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win. I want to thank Steve (Asmussen) for giving me the opportunity to ride such a nice horse. I went from being in the catbird spot--making sure we don’t fall, and he ends up running second.”


BOB BAFFERT, THE FACTOR, WINNER: “It is a good feeling (to win his first Malibu, see note below). I didn’t know what happened at the three-eighths pole. I didn’t know if it effected The Factor or Hoorayforhollywood. I saw that horse (Centralinteligence) take up. I thought all my horses were going to run big races. Smash, he never really got going. I was disappointed in his performance, but The Factor, he’s the kind of horse that when he’s on his game, he’s really a dangerous horse.
“He ran great at Del Mar (winning the Grade I Pat O’Brien on Aug. 28) . . . the Breeders’ Cup (Dirt Mile) I thought he’d really run well, but he just couldn’t get untracked on that track (Churchill Downs) that day (Nov. 5). There were a lot of horses that were really having trouble with it, especially mine. But he likes this track, been training really well.
“I told Martin (Garcia), ‘Just let him break, ride your own race and if he’s pulling you out of the saddle, that means The Factor’s back.’ I saw that down the backside. Then I was just looking for my other horses, hoping somebody else would come running late.
“It’s exciting to win the Malibu. It’s a great race, some great horses have won it, some great trainers. It was lacking on my resume. I can put it on my website tonight . . . The Factor, you could tell he was just kicking in gear at the end there. When The Factor runs his race, it’s going to be tough to really beat him. The Factor we know showed up today.”
Asked the advantage of breaking from the outside as opposed to the rail: “It was a huge advantage . . . the way he was training, the one hole, he probably would have been OK today. The way he came up to this race was pretty impressive. I thought he’d run well in the Breeders’ Cup and he didn’t run. I sent him to Dr. (Larry) Bramlage at Rood and Riddle (Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky.) to check him out. He couldn’t find anything wrong with him so we kept him there a couple weeks and then brought him here. I really wasn’t thinking of running him in the Malibu and all of a sudden he started coming around. I got him ready in about three weeks.
“I’m glad for George (owner Bolton) and the connections that The Factor showed what a great horse he is today. When he’s on, he’s really a good horse.”

STEVE ASMUSSEN, ROTHKO, SECOND: “You know, he ran well. The winner ran a good race, ran a fast time, and he ran well. He belongs. I wish it could have been a little smoother for him around the turn, but he ran a good race. I’m very pleased with who he is.”
On Light Up the Score and Wine Police: “We didn’t get the trip that we’d wanted from the outside (from Wine Police, in the 10th position), and the other horse (Light Up the Score) was just out-footed.”

NOTES: This was Baffert’s first Malibu win after 20 starters. The winning owners are George Bolton of San Francisco and David Shimmon of Redwood City, who races as Fog City Stable.