KENT DESORMEAUX, WHAT A VIEW, WINNER: “He made hard work of it; I had a firm hold. I was surprised to see him accelerate again at the quarter pole. Kenny told me in the paddock that it’s not hot air; he’s never had this horse doing so well. He’s had some issues but the issues are no longer and he sure ran like it. I was surprised. They’re not supposed to have anything left when they pull like that.”
KENNY BLACK, WHAT A VIEW, WINNER: “This horse is real quirky. I’ve always thought he’s a better horse when he has something to run at. When he’s sitting second like that, he’s better than when he’s in front because he ducks and dives and jumps. He’s way better on this grass course than Del Mar.
“It has nothing to do with the footing. It’s the inanimate objects at Del Mar: tire marks, the totalisator board, the patches on the turf course going into the first turn; he jumps everything, stops, ducks and that’s how he got beat the one time they accused Kent of standing up too soon. He was looking at the tote board, made a right-hand turn down the lane and hit the brakes. Here, he doesn’t have all that, plus, he’s more mature . . . This was only his 10th out.
“Buddy (the late Bud Johnston) has had his horses here in the same stalls since 1953. They’ve been in the same barn at Del Mar since it was built (1937). This is a tradition with Old English (Rancho). Mr. Johnston was so good to me, so be able to win a stake like this is the start of a new era. Me and the family are moving on, so this was cool to win our first stake together.
“This is my biggest win, for sure. I think the biggest I ever won riding was 250 (thousand), so this would tie that, but this means a lot more. They all mean a lot, but they mean a lot more when you’re training,. When I was riding, we definitely took it for granted because it happened a lot more regularly. But when you’re training, you just appreciate it a lot more.”
(Before the race, Black said: “Kent knows what’s he’s doing, he’s won a few more of these than I have. He knows this horse. I always thought he was better when he has one to run at.”
MARY HILVERS (daughter of Bud and Judy Johnston), WHAT A VIEW, WINNER: “I grew up with this. It’s amazing. Obviously, when we lost dad so unexpectedly and suddenly, there were questions on whether we’d be able to keep it going. My son, Johnny, has done such a fabulous job. It’s a family thing: my husband, my daughter, it’s a family thing and we really want to carry on my dad’s legacy and my grandmother’s.
“Mom is at my house in Sanger. I drove down this morning and it was a little too long for her. I have to go back up tonight. She can’t do that eight-hour turnaround trip, but she’s watching. I guarantee it. She’s excited right now. It means a lot and I’m looking forward to an outstanding 2016. We’ve got a lot of good, young horses coming up. I’m excited for my mom. I wish I would have made her come with me today. I tried to get her to come.”
JOHN HILVERS, WHAT A VIEW, WINNER: “It means a lot. We won this race with one of our homebreds several years ago, Norvsky, and that was very exciting then and this is very exciting now.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Sal Berumen, Robert Riggio and the Elwood Johnston Trust, et al.