FLAVIEN PRAT, ILLUMINANT, WINNER: “Yes, I expected to be that close to the pace. Fanticola was the only speed in the race so I knew I needed to be right there. My filly has speed too, so I knew it would be ok.
“I think she improved off her Jenny Wiley (Grade I, 1 1/16 at Keeneland April 16) third place finish in her last out. The turf is a bit softer here and that’s maybe better for her, especially going a mile and an eighth. And here at Santa Anita I feel it’s better if you’re closer to the lead. At Keeneland, it’s a bigger turf course and when you come from off the pace there, it’s easier.
“We work every day to win a race like this so I’ll really enjoy it and have to thank Michael McCarthy and all the connections.”
JAVIER CASTELLANO, WEKEELA, SECOND: “We had a perfect trip and we were in a good position the whole way. The pace was slow, but we were right behind the winner turning for home and that filly never stopped.”
MICHAEL MCCARTHY, ILLUMINANT, WINNER: “It’s pretty exciting to win a race like this. I thought she would run well today. She’s a very honest filly, tries hard and I thought the mile and an eighth would be right up her alley.
“Fanticola is a very tough mare and I was just kinda hoping we would have enough to get to her. Luckily today, we did.”
“I didn’t give Flavien a whole of instructions before the race. I didn’t think he needed it.”
ARON WELLMAN, ECLIPSE THOROUGHBRED PARTNERS, ILLUMINANT, WINNER: “First of all, all the credit has to go to this man, Michael McCarthy. This filly is high maintenance and he’s done a great job. She ran her heart out last time at Keeneland (when third, behind winner, Tepin and runner-up, Weekela). Winning big races like this at Santa Anita and other tracks around the country is what it’s all about. Without our partners we wouldn’t be able to do this.
“We’re a Todd Pletcher organization, he’s our main man. As a disciple of Todd’s it just made all the sense in the world for us to support Michael when he hung up his shingle to go out on his own and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. He’s got about five or six for us now.
“Gary (Young) and I are a two man team at the two year old sales and we found her at the sale down in Ocala, FL together.”
NOTES: Winning Owners, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and west coast representative, Aron Wellman operate out of Del Mar, CA.