LESLIE MAWING, BELLE HILL, WINNER: “It’s always good to win. I’ve been up north at Golden Gate and I’ve been watching the races down here all week. It seemed like speed was holding so I didn’t want to be too far out of it. I wanted to keep my horse comfortable but not be pushing on her. This is her first time on the turf but her mom is a turf champion up in Canada so that helped having it in her pedigree. She took to the turf good.
“We had a little bobble running into the first turn but she found her footing really fast and was back into stride again. I was very happy with her performance today and it feels good to get my first stakes winner here at Santa Anita.”
TYLER BAZE, PAULINA’S LOVE, SECOND: “Overall, she was a real sweetheart to ride. She had the blinkers off and it helped her relax a little more. I could really do what I wanted, put her wherever I wanted. She tried so hard and just got beat; she’s just a really nice filly.”
LARRY ROSS, BELLE HILL, WINNER: “She got a great trip and a perfect ride. It looked like a good spot for her (trying turf for the first time) and her family’s done well on it, so we decided to go with it. I didn’t give Leslie (Mawing) any instructions: just ‘confidence.’
“This gives us more options with her, winning on grass, but right now we’re still going to let her have dinner, kind of sleep on it and go from there. We’ll take her back to Golden Gate and see how it goes. She was training so well, I was pretty confident but you never know until you try.”
MATT CHEW, SINGING KITTY, THIRD: “Rafael said that when the gate closed behind the 10-horse (Suva Harbor), my filly got a little startled and that’s when the gate opened. The original plan was sit behind the three (Dreamologist), but when my filly hopped, Rafael wrapped up on her, got her collected and tried to make a run. It’s been tough to make up ground on this course, but she ran well. We’ll give her a little breather now and come back with her at the big meet here at Santa Anita.”
NOTES: The winning owners are James and Mary Perkins of Issaquah, Washington, who race as Aithon Stable, LLC. This is Leslie Mawing’s first Santa Anita stakes winner. Ross won the Grade III Las Flores Handicap at Santa Anita with Ema Bovary on Feb. 22, 2004.