MARIO GUTIERREZ, I’LL HAVE ANOTHER, WINNER: “This is so unbelievable. He is such a good horse and he gave me a big kick at the end. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that my horse would give me everything in the stretch leading up to the wire.”

JOEL ROSARIO, CREATIVE CAUSE, SECOND: “Everything went well. I’ve ridden the winner before (I’ll Have Another) and he can run. My horse gave me 100 percent, but I think we were second-best today. Sometimes it’s hard to keep winning. I waited inside and had a perfect trip. No excuses today, just second best.”

JOE TALAMO, BLUESKIESNRAINBOWS, THIRD: “We had an absolutely perfect trip. We got to the lead and had real easy fractions, nobody pressed us. He ran a really incredible race. Obviously any time we go in a race we want to win but that’s by far the best race he’s ever run. He really ran a winning race.”

RAFAEL BEJARANO, LIAISON, SIXTH: “My horse broke really good from the gate, and I had a really nice trip. I just followed instructions from the boss. I was right behind the favorite--Creative Cause--and I had a good trip by the rail, but by the three-eighths pole, he started jumping. He didn’t feel like he really liked the track. I tried to come between horses, but he started getting tired and jumping, and he was done after that. He tried hard, but I don’t think he really feels comfortable on this track.”

MIKE SMITH, MIDNIGHT TRANSFER, SEVENTH: “I thought the eight hole was going to be really good for us and it backfired on us. I got hung out on both turns so bad. I never did get to save any ground at any point. It didn’t cost me the race by no means but I could have been up there a whole lot closer.”


DOUG O’NEILL, I’LL HAVE ANOTHER, WINNER: “It was a great ride by (Mario) Gutierrez. To me, he’s the closest thing to (Rafael) Bejarano we’ve got. He’s such a brilliant rider and he’s got real finesse. He’s confident but a humble kid. If you can’t get Bejarano, why not Gutierrez?

Asked what was going through his mind down the stretch: “I saw Creative Cause come up on the inside and I thought for a split second, running second in the Santa Anita Derby is pretty freaking good. All the wins are big at the time, but right now, this feels as big as it ever gets.

“I loved the way the race unfolded and how Mario had him positioned going into the first turn. Creative Cause coming up on the inside definitely gave me a scare, but our horse fought on. He’s doing so good. Hopefully, he comes out of this good and if he’s 100 percent, it’s on to Louisville.”

MIKE HARRINGTON, CREATIVE CAUSE, 9-10 FAVORITE, SECOND: “He (Joel Rosario) rode him good, he said the horse tried, he just got outrun. That happens. I thought the horse ran a helluva race. I thought Joel rode him perfectly. The other horse beat us today, but will he beat us next time? I don’t know.”

Will blinkers stay off for the Kentucky Derby? “Sure, I mean, why not? He was more focused. I mean, he never bobbled today. He ran his race. He just got outrun. That happens in this sport. He’s not tired. He’ll come out of this race . . . He ran such a huge race last time (winning the San Felipe on March 10), he couldn’t improve on that race too much. I mean, how far can you go? He ran a zero Thoroughgraph in the last race, so how much further can you go?

“This will set him up (for the Kentucky Derby). He ran hard. It didn’t hurt him. He’s still got a lot left in him. Maybe the other horse (I’ll Have Another) had to run too hard to beat him. We won’t know for four weeks.”

DENNIS O’NEILL: “I was thinking of the biggest wins in your life and I always thought Stevie Wonderboy (2005 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner for the late Merv Griffin) was it, but this tops it. It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s great for (owner) Paul Reddam. This is why you’re in the game.”

NOTES: The winning owner is J. Paul Reddam of Anaheim.