GARY STEVENS, HEIR KITTY, WINNER: “Well, I was hoping I could win (a Grade I) today. I’ve got one more chance, too, on Heir of Storm for Pete (Miller in the Grade I Malibu). I mentioned on Twitter the other day that (my) year isn’t over yet. We have two more Grade I’s left out here in Southern California. I just picked up one more so that’s pretty cool.
“I rode this race a bit like a turf race. I was able to sit back in the pocket; this dirt is in unbelievable condition. We aren’t getting near the kick-back we were getting during Breeders’ Cup and the Fall Meet. I was able to tuck in there and I have very little dirt on me now even. She was content and stayed comfortable. It’s easy to ride those turf races that way and very rarely do you get that opportunity on the dirt.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, SWEET LULU, 4-5 FAVORITE, SECOND: “It was a clean break from the gate and I was really comfortable in the lead. I wasn’t expecting to be in the lead and for my horse, I was walking the race . . . The winner, she was the best today. It wasn’t a fast pace. I went a slow fraction. No excuse.”
PETER MILLER, HEIR KITTY, WINNER: “We put her back around one turn and put the blinkers back on her. We gave up the experiment of trying to make her a distance horse, and it’s worked out. She’s very straightforward; she tries real hard. She’s not a big filly. I’m really happy for the owners. The Grade I’s big.
Asked about the major step up to a Grade I race: “Don’t forget, she beat the boys in a two-other-than allowance–older boys–so I felt real confident after she did that, that she could handle the best 3-year-old fillies, and she proved us right today.”
Asked about what race might be next: “I’ll talk to the owners and see, but I’m inclined to keep her sprinting, although the next race ($200,000, Grade II La Canada Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 19) would be tempting. We’ll just kind of enjoy this for now and look at the other race in a week or two.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER, SWEET LULU, SECOND: “She ran second. She didn’t get up. I don’t have any idea (what’s next for her). Everything was good (on the trip)–we don’t have any excuses.”
NOTES: Winning owners David Bernsen and Paul Makin are from San Diego and Australia, respectively.