VICTOR ESPINOZA, HARD NOT TO LIKE, WINNER: “When she broke and crossed the dirt everyone was going a different direction so I dropped her all the way down to the rail. I was going to stay there and if it opened up, it opened.
“In the stretch when I saw the rider in front of me switch his stick to his left hand I knew that normally a horse will drift out a little. I knew it was my chance and that’s how I got through on the inside.
“I called Christophe and he told me to put her in the middle of the pack and to cover her up and move her to the outside if she got rank. Sometimes things can change and when she crossed the dirt and was so forward, she was doing it so easily, and was comfortable, so I left her alone.”
JOE TALAMO, FANTICOLA, SECOND: “Tough beat, a real tough beat. She ran her butt off.”
TYLER BAZE, BLINGISMYTHING, THIRD: “She’s a hard-trying filly. I let her get comfortable. She’s a nice filly and she gives me 100 percent; so happy with the way she ran. I didn’t think I’d be that close to the pace but when there’s only one speed horse in the race I’d hate to get stuck behind a bunch of horses and not have a chance to run.”
LEE VICKERS, ASSISTANT TO CHRISTOPHE CLEMENT, HARD NOT TO LIKE, WINNER: “I thought she always looked the winner, but I thought she was going to be the unluckiest loser of the day. He’s got some pair of (shorthand for male anatomy), Victor Espinoza. That was a brilliant ride, but the man’s on fire and he rode with confidence, that’s all I can say.”
Pre-race instructions? “He was told to get cover, he did exactly that and he rode the race accordingly.”
PETER FLUOR, PART-OWNER HARD NOT TO LIKE, WINNER: “She’s our first winner. We now own two horses but only Hard Not to Like is running right now. It’s just the beginning. We got her last fall in the November sale and it’s Hard Not to Like that decision right now.
“I grew up in Arcadia, went to USC and moved to Texas in 1972. My father and my partner’s (K.C. Weiner) father were horse partners and nine months ago I told K.C., ‘Let’s get some horses.’ My father was Bob Flour, who had El Rancho Murrietta.
“It’s been a homecoming. It was an amazing ride by Victor. K.C. is home watching the race on TV today.
“Our office address in Houston is on Buffalo Speedway Blvd. and we thought Speedway (Stables) would be better than ‘Buffalo’. Those buffalo aren’t as fast.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner, who race as Speedway Stable, LLC.