COREY NAKATANI, TAPIZAR, WINNER: “He’s a really big and muscular horse. He’s huge. When you get him in that high cruising speed he just seems to do it so easy. Steve (Asmussen) and I just wanted to get him to relax and run his race, and that’s what he did. Forty six and change is cruising speed for him. He’s a horse that just has so much natural raw ability. I learned how to harness that ability from guys like Shoemaker and McCarron. The way Steve (Asmussen) trains his horses makes my job easy. My job is to get the horse to relax and get into that comfortable zone that makes them run their best race. He ran a tremendous race today, and with his athletic ability, he’s such an amazing horse.”


STEVE ASMUSSEN, TAPIZAR, WINNER: “He’s a nice horse. I’m glad he’s back at a venue that shows who he is. Hopefully we won’t get off track with him this year (Tapizar was off the Kentucky Derby trail last February with a bone chip in a knee). We’re very pleased with today’s race and hopefully he’ll come out of it good.
“This horse has always showed a lot of talent and hopefully we can stay on track with him. We’re very proud of the horse and how he ran today. We’re happy for the Winchells and what they’ve meant to our stable. We’d really like to see this horse reach the next level and be a top-class horse all year long.
“You’ve got a very good (Strub) series out here at Santa Anita. He’s run two good races over the course (winning last year’s Sham Stakes) now so we’ve just got to do our job and point him in the right direction. Hopefully we’ll have a lot to say about the rest of the meet.
“Absolutely (we have a lot of options, depending on how Tapizar comes out of the race). He ran this well last year in the Sham and then we got off track with him. He was unfortunate to get hurt, but I think that he’s put in very good works before this race and we expect everything to go forward well.”

NOTES: The winning owners/breeders are Ron and Joann Winchell of Las Vegas.