GARY STEVENS, TARIS, WINNER: “It was a perfect trip. It set up, the fractions were realistic and when Mike came up on the outside of me going into the far turn the pressure really picked up.
“Simon has done such a good job settling her down, the question was if she could go long and she proved it today. She’d only tried going long one time but she’s always felt, to me, that she could go long.
“She reminds me of Beholder. She has the same tendencies, the same high cruising speed and they’re both very intelligent. She deserved this today.”
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE, BIRDATTHEWIRE, SECOND: “I was completely taken out by Santiago (Gonzalez, on Oscar Party, whose rein broke going into the first turn). I didn’t know what was happening at first. He came flying by me, which made my horse get really rank. Poor Santiago though, it wasn’t his fault but I got stuck outside of him and he was way out there.
“If that hadn’t happened I would have been sitting perfect, right in behind the four that were up front; I would have been cruising. I would love another shot at riding her; it’s a shame that today turned out like it did because I think she would have run much closer to Taris.
“I think the only difficult part about riding Birdatthewire is down the lane. She likes being out in the middle of the track but you’ve just got to let her do her thing.”
SIMON CALLAGHAN, TARIS, WINNER: “Definitely (it was a new dimension in not going to the lead). It was nice for her to do it. I was a little anxious down the backside when she just took hold of the bridle a little bit. She’s such a smart filly, she just dropped it and relaxed. I kind of knew there were no worries about the distance. I think the one time she ran this distance (sixth in the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park March 8, 2014), she got hurt after that race. It wasn’t a true reflection.
“Todd Beattie who trained her before told me she would stretch out. She’s kind of an adaptable mare and like I said, she’s just a good, classy filly. Gary knows this filly, not quite as good as me, but almost. I left it to him. It was one of those races with five runners where I didn’t know where the pace would be. I thought someone might try to take us on, so we just left it to Gary to see how the race unfolded.
“I think we’ll wait for the Santa Margarita in March (Grade I, $500,000, 1 1/8 miles on March 19).”
NOTES: The winning owners are John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor.