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SANTA ANITA OAKS STAKES QUOTES
GARRETT GOMEZ, BEHOLDER, 3-10 FAVORITE, WINNER: “She ran really well today. She left the gate like a shot. I went ahead and made the decision to clear most of them. I gave them (the field) a jump or two to see what they were going to do, and it looked like no one really wanted to go so I went ahead and crossed over, and was going to dictate it from there.
“I knew she was going to have to work a little harder today, just from the simple fact that Baffert let my horse get an easy lead in the Las Virgenes. I knew his filly (Fiftyshadesofhay) would be up on top of me somewhere along the way today, which she was, early. She kind of tried to keep up with me today so I think that probably cost her from running on.
“Beholder set some decent fractions and stayed on well today. She gives me a 110 percent when we go out there and she’s just a pleasure to be on all the time. The mile and an eighth (in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks) will be another question but we’ll see what happens.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, FIFTYSHADESOFHAY, THIRD: “The winner (Beholder) was much the best today. I tried to keep my position but I just couldn’t catch the winner. My horse came running at the end but it wasn’t enough.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, BEHOLDER, WINNER, AND SPELLBOUND, FOURTH: “You expect it (as result like this), but with horse racing, you don’t want to expect it too much. It’ll break your heart. She just did everything right, handled herself well; she’s a very good filly.”
Asked if he was pleased when he saw the fractions: “I didn’t even notice them. I was very happy with everything. The Kentucky Oaks (May 3) is what we’ll look at (for her next race). She’s right up there (with the champion fillies he’s trained, such as Halfbridled, 2003, and Phone Chatter, 1993). She’s got the heart of a warrior.”
Asked about Beholder having enough points to comfortably qualify for the Kentucky Oaks: “It’s pretty nice to have her, points or no points. Don’t confuse me with math.”
Asked about Spellbound: “I was hoping she would have been a little bit closer in the first part to have a chance to catch them but . . . It looked like mentally she just wasn’t quite up to this situation. We’ll giver her a little more time, and she’ll develop.”
B. WAYNE HUGHES, OWNER OF BEHOLDER: “I thought she ran her usual race. She went to the front. Garrett (Gomez) was smart enough to keep her there and we’re very happy to have her do this. We’re looking forward to the Kentucky Oaks. We can’t go to the Derby. They don’t let us in anymore.”
NOTES: The winning owner is B. Wayne Hughes of Lexington, Ky., who races as Spendthrift Farm LLC.