GARY STEVENS, GO WEST MARIE, WINNER: “It wasn’t really a Hall of Fame ride.
“She’s so athletic; she’s having as much fun out there as I am.
“Not really what I want to add to my Hall of Fame tape reel. I was so loaded coming down the hill with so much horse. Talamo’s filly (Demonica) was lugging out prior to crossing the dirt. I thought, ‘I’m going to get a run here, it’s just a question of when I want to push the button.’
“I could have come out but Mike (on Velvet Mesquite) was getting out a bit and I chose to stay inside. It was really the wrong decision; I got stopped cold inside the eighth pole and in these hill races you don’t want to get stopped there. Her turn of foot is brilliant and I had enough spread that I was able to get out without interfering with the horses behind me. It was an ugly race on my part but a great result.
“The first time I rode her (one mile turf allowance race, Dec. 28), she was up close. But every horse in the Form that day looked like they had speed. I asked Eddie (Truman, trainer) if I could take my time with her and he got a big smile on his face and said, ‘That’s why you’re riding her.’ The result was great and last time, in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint, I asked Eddie what he wanted to do and he said, ‘She’s yours.’ I told him I didn’t think there was any reason to change tactics. It worked again today.”
MIKE SMITH, VELVET MESQUITE, THIRD: “The trip was good but she’s just not performing like she was; she’s not kicking on at all. I just feel that for whatever reason, she’s not giving me what she has before. She still ran well, she always runs well, but when she’s on top of her game she’s tough to beat. It just wasn’t so today.”
EDDIE TRUMAN, GO WEST MARIE, WINNER: “I didn’t think she’d overcome that traffic that late in the race. No shot. Gary was just waiting (to find an opening). Any time, right, he was going to go. And then when they closed the hole coming across the dirt, what’s he going to do? He tried out, he tried in again, and then, zoom. That’s a race horse. What a heart. She is something. That’s what makes a race horse.
“I’ve never won a big race like this (by overcoming such an incident in the stretch). To have a horse that is that much better than everybody else . . . Gary loved the horse, and Kent (Desormeaux), too. Everybody who gets on this filly just loves her. She’s so kind, you can do so much with her, and like you see, she just lays the body down. I think she’s better going two turns, I really do.”
Asked if he had a spot picked out (for her next race): “Right now we’ve got a stall that’s all banked way up on the sides with a fan blowing on it. That’s her spot right now (in this heat).”
NOTES: The winning owner is Peter Redekop of Vancouver, British Columbia.