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ROBERT J. FRANKEL STAKES QUOTES
JULIEN LEPAROUX, QARAABA, WINNER: “Simon (Callaghan) told me to ride her with a lot of confidence and I did. She’s a very handy filly and she relaxed perfectly. As you could see, she won pretty easily and she had a lot left.”
GARRETT GOMEZ, MORE CHOCOLATE, THIRD: “The horse handled everything really well. She was just a little stronger than I was expecting her to be early on. I kept trying to get her to relax and get off the bridle; when she finally did we were traveling well. I thought they were going to have a lot of trouble running by her when we turned for home but a couple of the other fillies just out-sprinted her. She ran a really good race.”
SIMON CALLAGHAN, QARAABA, WINNER: “We thought the world of this filly from Day One. She’s special. She’ll get better as she goes further. You need to take her back and get her to relax, no matter what the pace is. Julien (Leparoux) did a good job.
“We’ll look at the Santa Barbara (Handicap) next (Grade II, $150,000, 1 ¼ miles on turf April 20) and hopefully the Beverly D at Arlington next summer. She’ll probably be better the further she goes. Distance won’t be a problem.”
Asked about winning a race that honored Frankel: “He’s obviously a legendary trainer and someone I heard a lot of from overseas, but I wasn’t around in California to witness his talents. It’s an honor to win a race named after him.”
MARTY JONES, TIZ FLIRTATIOUS, 7-5 FAVORITE, SECOND: “I thought she ran well. She wasn’t able to save much ground. I never had her on soft ground so I don’t know if she really prefers that or not but she tried. The other filly just ran a little better. We’ll see how she takes the race and we’ll figure out where we go from here.”
NOTES: Humberto Ascanio, Frankel’s assistant for more than 30 years before the legendary trainer’s death on Nov. 16, 2009, presented the trophy to the winning connections. The winning owners are Alice Bamford and Michael Tabor.