Santa Anita News
ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES QUOTES
MARIO GUTIERREZ, I’LL HAVE ANOTHER, WINNER: “This is my biggest win. It’s a great thrill.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, LIASON, 3-2 FAVORITE, “I had my hole when I saw two horses that split out. I had plenty of room in between horses. When I asked my horse to go, he was coming little by little, but the horse on the outside (Groovin Solo) was lugging in a little bit. I started screaming to let him know I was there and he (Victor Espinoza) tried to correct his horse, but at the same time when he corrected his horse, he was just coming in too much. The horse on the inside (Isn’t He Clever) didn’t even give me a chance to check his horse because he was coming out too. At least the outside horse (Groovin Solo/Victor Espinoza) tried to correct himself but the other horse from the inside (Isn’t He Clever/Corey Nakatani) didn’t do that. He just kept going and was coming out little by little, but he didn’t even try to check his horse. That’s why it felt so tight and I clipped heels. I ended up clipping heels with Victor’s horse because Corey Nakatani’s horse was coming out and it was enough to push me out. Other than that, I feel good. I’m just a little sore.
VICTOR ESPINOZA, GROOVIN SOLO, DISQUALIFIED FROM THIRD TO LAST: “I thought the inside horse moved out. I tried to help as much as I can. When another guy asks for help I move out as much as I can. There’s nothing else I can do. I think he ran great.”
COREY NAKATANI, ISN’T HE CLEVER, FIFTH: “My horse was running well, but he just got tired.”
DOUG O’NEILL, I’LL HAVE ANOTHER , WINNER: “He’s an incredibly talented colt and we decided to take a chance in here. We thought he could hit the board and we’d move forward, but he ran unbelievable. Mario (Gutierrez) gave him a great ride. He’s always trained fantastic, but we never saw this coming to be honest with you. This is incredible. We’ll look at the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I, $750,000 at 1 1/8 miles on April 7) if all goes well.
Asked how he engaged Gutierrez: “Paul (owner J. Paul Reddam) saw Mario ride about a month or so ago here and said, ‘If we ever get in trouble, think about using that kid.’ That’s how that came up. Then he came over (to Hollywood Park) and worked the horse; he worked great and it couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Asked about pre-race instructions to Gutierrez: “We just didn’t want to get into a head and head crazy duel, not get caught up in a speed duel, and he did just that.”
DENNIS O’NEILL, BROTHER AND ASSOCIATE OF DOUG O’NEILL: “We bought him at the OBS (sale) in April of last year and we’ve loved him since Day One. He trained like a really good horse from Day One, trained like a two-turn horse from Day One. He came out of his Saratoga race with sore shins, so when we got him back going, Paul (owner J. Paul Reddam) said to take our time with him.
“We paid $35,000 for him. It’s great for Paul. Paul’s put a lot of money in the game and this is fantastic for Paul.”
BOB BAFFERT, LIAISON, 3-2 FAVORITE, EIGHTH: “This was a weird run race. He was up there but he was a little fresh today. He got a little rank with him (Bejarano) and then he (Bejarano) was trying to get him to relax and get back but he just emptied out.”
ON SKY KINGDOM, SIXTH: “He broke and then he got shuffled again and on this track you have to really ride the track a little bit. You’ve got to be up there close. I was disappointed in him but once we go a mile and an eighth he’ll be better. But this track is a little speedy. I thought he would run better than that.”
NOTES: The winning owner is J. Paul Reddam of Anaheim.