VICTOR ESPINOZA, STELLAR WIND, WINNER: “I wanted to let them go but they slowed down pretty good into the first turn. I thought ‘we can’t do that.’ I didn’t want to send her too much, but I didn’t want to just sit with her. The other two broke in front of me so I thought I could follow them. Mike took a hold of his horse going into the first turn so I wanted to find an opening and just let her run. I let her go and just put her right next to Vale Dori.
“I wasn’t worried. I had confidence in her. She’s always like that in the stretch. She won’t do much on her own. She’s amazing, she’s an incredible mare, but I have to do my job. She always wins by enough. I have to encourage her to go forward. She’s been like that from the first day I rode her.
“I was mostly focused on my own horse, making sure she was doing it nice and easy.
“She has so much power that it’s hard for any other horse to beat her when it comes to head and head down the lane.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, VALE DORI, SECOND: “I’m very happy with her race. We got beat by a great horse. My horse finished strong. When Victor moved like he did…It put the pressure on us.”
JOHN SADLER, STELLAR WIND, WINNER: “She’s been training great. She’s even stronger than she was last year at this point in the year so we’re really excited. We were ready to go.
“We knew Victor would be aware…was he was right on top of them and how fast were they going. It was his call.
“We respect everybody in here. This is a very good group. This is a really high-quality group.
“She’s so tough. She doesn’t lose photos. This was closer than I thought it was going to be but that other mare (Vale Dori) is really a top mare now. We’re thrilled.
“Victor said Mike (Smith, aboard Finest City) out-broke him a little bit and he didn’t want Vale Dori to get away with an easy lead.
“This might be a little short for her, a mile, now that she’s an older mare. She might be more comfortable at 1 1/16 miles, and is very comfortable at 1 1/8 miles. This was a little bit short but she ran great.
“We’ll probably look at the Clement Hirsch (Grade I, 1 1/16 miles on July 30) next at Del Mar, just like last year.”
KOSTA HRONIS, CO-OWNER, STELLAR WIND, WINNER: “She’s so game, that’s why she wins these races. She’s back. Our whole deal with bringing her back this year was if she was healthy and training well. Victor’s early move here was the key to the race. This reminded me of running against Beholder.
“She just ran lights out. We’re really proud of her.
“John has managed her great.”
NOTES: Winning owners Kosta and Peter Hronis reside in Delano, CA.