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SANTA BARBARA HANDICAP QUOTES
RAFAEL BEJARANO, LADY OF SHAMROCK, WINNER: “I was a little worried about the pace and the horse on the lead was going really slow so I just tried to save ground on both turns. When I saw the opportunity on the rail in the stretch, and I saw a lot of room I just kept running but unfortunately when Victor used the right hand stick his horse kept coming in and completely crossed my lane and I was completely on her heels so I didn’t have any choice but to hold my horse and stop riding a little, and then letting her go again.
“I don’t think he knew I was there. I tried to come running but I also wasn’t screaming and didn’t let him know. He was surprised, it wasn’t his fault. His filly just kept coming in. I tried to sneak through there, it wasn’t his fault. I always make sure I have plenty of room, but sometimes the horses on the lead come in or change direction. That’s part of the game.”
(in response to being compared to the great Bill Shoemaker)
“Well, I am blessed to have this ability. I never get mad. This is racing, when you have the best horse you can do anything you want. But you learn from your mistakes and there is always going to be another day; you have to keep trying. If I come back and my horse is healthy, I’m always happy. Sometimes we make mistakes but we can’t always be right, you learn.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA, VIVA CARINA, DISQUALIFIED TO SECOND: “I tightened up a little bit but I don’t think that caused any change of place in (Rafael’s) horse. In my opinion, I win the race, there was no way he was going to beat me. The stewards get paid to make these decisions, so I cannot tell them what to do, or predict what they will do.”
JOHN SADLER, LADY OF SHAMROCK, MOVED FROM SECOND TO FIRST VIA DQ: “If you watch the head-on, there’s plenty of room in there, but I think it was the right call. The pace was slow, so you’ve got to close into that, and the course has been a little speed-favoring.
“She’s gotten very relaxed this year, so it’s pretty scary. She wants to sit back and close and she had to give away a lot of weight on top of it, so I’m going to go out and try to find her a rabbit.
“He (Rafael Bejarano) had her rolling and it looked like she had room and he was going to get there, so I thought it was the right call on the stewards’ decision, obviously, so we’re going to take it.”
A.C. AVILA, VIVA CARINA, DISQUALIFIED FROM FIRST TO SECOND: “No comment.,” later adding, “It’s disappointing. We’ll regroup. They’ll see us again.”
KOSTA HRONIS, LADY OF SHAMROCK, WINNER: “It’s tough to lose that way, and it’s tough to win that way (when asked about the inquiry). We look forward to running again, and let the chips fall where they may. We’re very honored to be part of the industry, and proud to be leading owner again, we’re very happy.
“She’s (Lady of Shamrock) got a schedule. We’ll go to Hollywood and Del Mar and hopefully we’ll come back here the first weekend in November and again, let the chips fall where they may . . . without the extra weight!”
NOTES: Sadler said he would look at the Grade I, $250,000 Gamely Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf May 27 for Lady of Shamrock’s next race. The winning owners are Kosta and Pete Hronis of Delano, CA.