DAVID FLORES, SHAKIN IT UP, WINNER: “I was a expecting a good pace. The main thing was to get a good start and to place myself where he could relax and just wait for the turn, when I could get after him. And we timed it just right. We closed the year with a good horse.
“The track is coming back at you, but when it hits the horse it breaks up, not like before when it was clumped up. It’s a big improvement. We have decided to move to Singapore (to ride) for six months. It makes sense and it’s the best thing for us right now. We leave at 10:45 tonight. We’ll go for six months and then see where we’re at. I start riding on New Year’s Day, opening day.”
JOE TALAMO, CENTRAL BANKER, SECOND: “I hate losing like that. But I’ll tell you what. My horse, he couldn’t have run a better race. He was total class. He made my job pretty easy. I just had to point him in the right direction.
“He ran his heart out. He handled the kick well. This was his first time running here and he really tried hard. We just got outrun, I guess.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, ZEEWAT, THIRD: “No excuses. It was a good trip but it was fast, too. He’s a sturdy horse; I think he would do better with two turns. Last out, it was a smaller field. Today, he had to deal with a lot more traffic. I had a good trip. We came running at the end and he’s getting better. No excuses.”
BOB BAFFERT, SHAKIN IT UP, WINNER: “He was training great. The way he was training . . . he had the back class to win it, but with the layoff (since March 24) and being in the two hole, and we put David (Flores) on . . . I knew Zee Bros had a chance to win it if they didn’t go too fast, but they went too fast. I knew he could win it from way off. I thought Flashback would be more in the middle of it, and he ended up falling way back, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. It’s a great way to end the day, with that horse winning, Midnight Lute has showed what a terrific sire he is.”
MIKE PEGRAM, SHAKIN IT UP, WINNER: “It’s a great feeling. This is one we’ve never won before, and the Malibu has always been my Christmas present. We finally delivered.
“I was seeing how far back he was, and then I saw him start moving, and at the 3/16 pole, I picked him up and said, ‘We’re going to win this S.O.B.'”
DENNIS CARDOZA, SHAKIN IT UP, WINNER: “I am overjoyed. Mike Pegram is so good for horse racing. He is a champion of a man and one of the best friends I’ve ever had in life. To do it with him is so special that I can’t even put it into words. People don’t know what he does for racing. I sat with him on the T.O.C. (Thoroughbred Owners of California) Board for the last three years, and I will tell you that his whole heart is for the game. We’ve been through so much, so it was great to do this with him today. I want to thank Bob Baffert–he is a wonderful, wonderful trainer. I’m very emotional about it all. I thought he was going to win. I couldn’t believe they gave him no respect (with 15-1 morning-line odds). I was very proud of him. The horse is great, the connections are great, and I’m just so proud to have him win today.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Dennis Cardoza, a former U.S. Congressional Representative from California’s Central Valley, who now resides in Lothian, Md., and Mike Pegram of Phoenix.
On-track attendance was 30,540.