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SANTA ANITA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP QUOTES
MIKE SMITH, POINTS OFFTHEBENCH, WINNER: “I thought he could win today. Thinking it and doing it are two different things, but I did think it. All we had left was to do it. He’s very talented. Maldonado (on Distinctiv Passion) looked like he was getting away from us and I wanted to try and time it with this horse because if you hit the front too soon, he pulls up a little. Then I looked up and he was going a whole lot easier than he was supposed to be. He has some turn of foot, and I hit the front too soon, but he still held on. He pulled up nice and happy, well within himself. He’s a very talented horse.”
JOSE VALDIVIA JR., TRINNIBERG, 7-2 SECOND CHOICE, SEVENTH AND LAST: “What can you say? His first jump was good; after that, the race was over. I’m baffled.”
TIM YAKTEEN, POINTS OFFTHEBENCH, WINNER: “It did (set up well pace-wise) . . . The horse is quirky. I don’t want him to hit the lead too soon, because he’ll wait on horses. I think Rafael (Bejarano, who rode Goldencents) is very well aware of that and he came wide with Goldencents, who was coming late, but we had inherited the lead.
“Yes (we’re going on to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint). This is my first Grade I win at Santa Anita and only the second in my career (first was the Bing Crosby at Del Mar July 28). They’re not too hard to count. The horse is a push-button (type). Horses like that, they make you look good.
“I would say, yeah, this is the biggest win of my career. This was a tough, tough race. This is special.”
LEANDRO MORA, ASSISTANT TO DOUG O’NEILL, GOLDENCENTS, 7-5 FAVORITE, SECOND: “We were very pleased with what he did today. It looks like, according to our owners, that we aren’t going to stay sprinting. We thought we could sprint but the talk is that we are going to keep him at a mile. It doesn’t seem like he is a sprinter. We tried, but he is trying to tell us that he is not. He can run everywhere we put him, but he’s not a sprinter. Even Rafael (Bejarano) said, ‘please, let’s go longer.’ He’s got a great kick. The Breeders’ Cup Mile is next, definitely.”
NOTES: This is a “Win and You’re In” race. The winner receives a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Nov. 1 & 2. The winning owners are Don Crevier of Laguna Beach and Charles Martin of Studio City.