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AWESOME AGAIN STAKES QUOTES
RAFAEL BEJARANO, GAME ON DUDE, WINNER: “I knew the number two horse (Winning Machine) was going to send. My horse broke so fast from the gate that I let the other horse send a little bit to make sure I could hold my horse and put him in better position. After that the race was done because he was much the best horse in the race.”
MARTIN PEDROZA, NONIOS, SECOND: “He ran excellent. He did everything right today. He responded well, he broke well and he ran a great race. He did everything we asked; we just ran against one of the best horses you’ll see. But we are very pleased with the way he ran and very happy with the result.”
BOB BAFFERT, GAME ON DUDE, WINNER: “I was hoping for this kind of outcome. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. They were all coming into their races really well. I’m glad that Power Broker really showed his stuff today. We still have a ways to go, and as long as they all stay healthy and keep moving forward, that’s the main goal.”
(On Rafael Bejarano’s ride in the Awesome Again): “The break was really important for him. Sometimes he wants to get a little edgy in the gate, but he broke really well. Plan A was if he breaks well, don’t move on him. We knew the 2 horse was going to want to go to the lead. He found a seam right away and got him to the outside. They slowed it down, so he just sat there and waited, then asked him to run in the stretch. It was the prep that you want for a horse like this.”
“(Rafael) works really hard and knows these horses better than anyone. Him and Martin Garcia know the horse really well. This horse is just getting better and better, and when he gets on dirt, he’s a different horse. (Rafael) rides a lot of favorites, and sometimes it’s not going to work, but he handles the pressure really well. When you’re 1 to 5, he knows just keep him out of trouble and let them run their race. If they win, they win. If they get beat, give them a chance.”
JERRY HOFFENDORFER, NONIOS, SECOND: “He ran pretty good. He finished second. I thought he stalked the pace pretty well. We really don’t have any excuse.”
LEANDRO MORA, ASSISTANT TO DOUG O’NEILL, RICHARD’S KID, THIRD: “The race was perfect for us. All day long we knew that the horses have been finishing one, two, and three. Nobody has come from off the pace. Our horse was last the whole way and then made up ground to finish third. It looks like we’re going to be fine when the big races come over because we’re going to change the horses to train here. They were training at Hollywood Park before this. I was very pleased with the performance, though. I know the winner, Game On Dude, is a game horse who likes to go wire to wire. If somebody doesn’t fight him on top of it, he’s a champion.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Diamond Pride Racing, LLC (of baseball great Joe Torre of Harrison, NY); Lanni Family Trust (Deborah Lanni of Pasadena); and Bernie Schiappa of Las Vegas.
Today’s on-track attendance of 17,565 is the highest total of a Santa Anita Autumn Meet, which is in its second season.
Awesome Again, for whom the race is named, is the sire of Game On Dude.