MIKE SMITH, CHEEKABOO, WINNER: “Wasn’t that awesome? I don’t know what it looked like, but it was fun as hell to ride. I kind of feel like, ‘ok, now people can see I can ride a little bit. I can do more than just hang on to Songbird.’
“I knew I got up past the wire, but I was worried about at the wire. I was so busy, down riding but I knew I was in front when I stood up. I just didn’t know if I got it right on the wire.
“I followed Pete’s instructions, almost to a ‘T.’ I saved all the ground that I could and I cut every corner and he told me to ‘go for broke’ and to see if we could get lucky, get through, or in between. He said I should ride it that way, so I did. I have to give him the credit.
“I thought I had a shot to run well. At the sixteenth pole I thought, ‘if I can squeeze in between these two, I think I can get it.’ Then I wasn’t sure if I got it until I saw ol’ Gilligan (Quick Official for Stewards) over on the backside. He’s an eagle eye and he tells you right away. He told me I got it and I was excited.”
FLAVIEN PRAT, BE MINE, SECOND: “It’s tough to get beat by a head, but I couldn’t change anything. When she changed leads, she really took off and finished great.”
ALEX SOLIS, STAYS IN VEGAS, THIRD: “She ran hard, I can’t complain. She gave her best to the end. Just didn’t get the win today.”
PETER EURTON, CHEEKABOO, WINNER: “It was Joe’s push to run her in here. I have to give a lot of credit to Larry Zap for finding her. This distance was to her advantage because she seems to run all day.”
JOE CIAGLIA, PART OWNER, CHEEKABOO, WINNER: “Watching the race, it looked like we could be third, then second and then we had a chance to win! This is the last race on this turf course and I said ‘If she wins, I’m gonna go out there and take a piece of grass off the course and plant it in my backyard. This is just a great Father’s Day gift, it’s really special.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Joe Ciaglia, who races as Ciaglia Racing, LLC of Upland, CA, Sharon Alesia of Carlsbad, CA and Mike Burns of Rancho Mirage, CA.