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MALIBU STAKES QUOTES
GARRETT GOMEZ, JIMMY CREED, WINNER: “With these kind of races you never know what is going to happen. I knew on paper what the race might look like and which horses might show speed. When I left the gate my horse broke really well and stuck me in a place where I was very comfortable and he was traveling really comfortable. I thought I was in a fairly good spot and it was just a matter of which horse was going to kick on, so I had to make a decision on which horse to follow.
“I was trying to follow John (Velazquez on The Lumber Guy) because I thought his horse would be a bit wider than Martin’s (Pedroza) horse (Private Zone). When we started to turn for home John’s horse started to stop and I just slid in behind Martin and slid out. It was just a beautiful trip. It was a good learning experience for this horse and he just keeps getting better. I have a lot of confidence in him and hopefully he just continues to keep doing what he’s doing.”
MARTIN PEDROZA, PRIVATE ZONE, SECOND: “My horse was running and gave me everything he had. I really would have liked to hit him on the last turn, but I don’t know if he was getting tired because he was drifting out a little bit and I didn’t want to get a disqualification. He ran good and gave me everything I asked for. I think a little bit shorter of a distance would be perfect for him.”
“I had a beautiful trip. Right where I wanted him. I dictated the pace. I wish the race was a little bit shorter, but that’s OK. We’ll get him in Dubai for more money. You can take that to the bank.”
JOHN VELAZQUEZ, THE LUMBER GUY, 4-5 FAVORITE, SEVENTH: He just didn’t come up with any running at all. Probably the first time I rode him on a wet track, a muddy track. He was going so well the first part of the race. I was very confident in what he was doing. I gave him his head but he didn’t go anywhere.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, JIMMY CREED, WINNER: “Garrett (Gomez) gave him a great ride, kept him out of the dirt as best he could. He’s a good horse. He’s been training great on the track all along. He just had a bad day in the Breeders’ Cup, that’s all. Gary (son Gary Mandella, who saddled Silentio to win the Grade III Sir Beaufort Stakes earlier) and I have both won stakes races on the same day before, but not as good as this.
“The horse doesn’t like dirt in his face and that’s basically what bothered him in the Breeders’ Cup. We trained him behind horses and schooled him as much as we could, so I just told Garrett it was up to him to do what he thinks best. He got him out of the two hole and just close enough to where he didn’t get that big stream of mud in his face.”
Future races? “We’ll probably look at the Strub and the Santa Anita Handicap, all that kind of stuff.”
STEVE ASMUSSEN, UNBRIDLED’S NOTE, THIRD: “I was hoping a couple would win; they both ran third, that’s all (speaking of My Miss Aurelia in the La Brea and Unbridled’s Note).”
DOUG O’NEILL, PRIVATE ZONE, SECOND: “He ran dynamite and it looks like he came back good. Rene Douglas manages this horse and is so involved with him. I almost did something really stupid and sent him out of town, and Rene said, ‘Doug, I’m 100 percent behind you but please, keep him for the Malibu and let’s have the Dubai sprint (Golden Shaheen on March 30) as our goal. So far, so good.”
NEIL DRYSDALE, THE LUMBER GUY: “We just found that he couldn’t handle the race track.”
NOTES: The winning owner is B. Wayne Hughes of Lexington, Ky., who races as Spendthirft Farm, LLC.