TYLER BAZE, ALERT BAY, WINNER: “I’m really confident in this horse; the horse is just amazing. I started with him last January. I missed out on riding him at Del Mar when my baby was born, but for the owners to stick with me is just real special. I had so much confidence in him, he’s proven everybody wrong.
“The horse never gets the respect he deserves; he’s a really talented horse. A couple times when we ran second or third we had a bit of a rough trip, but today I was happy when the horse inside me broke slow. I’m really going to ride him with confidence because he’s a push-button horse who really gives it his all. He always gives 150 percent.”
JOE TALAMO, HOME RUN KITTEN, SECOND: “We had a perfect trip. I was able to save ground around the first turn and in the final turn, I had a lot of horse. I swung him out and he ran a winning race. When I got to him, he really dug in. He’s got a tremendous turn of foot. I thought I had it, but that other horse (Alert Bay) just hung on at the end.
“He ran a pretty good race at the Breeders’ Cup and got beat only four lengths by the best horses in the world. I thought that was a pretty good effort. I think he ran a winning race today, but it was just unfortunate we couldn’t get the win.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, HEART TO HEART, FOURTH: “We sat second the whole way, he kicked on nicely for me at the quarter mile pole but he just didn’t have anything for me at the end. No excuses really.
He came out of it just fine.”
BLAINE D. WRIGHT, ALERT BAY, WINNER: “He’s done so well for us. Merry Christmas to us, what a great present. The horse runs on any surface. He went back to Canada because his owner lives there and races there and I was fortunate enough that he sent the horse back to me at Golden Gate Fields.
“We found out that he’s a good shipper. We’re based at Golden Gate so when there’s a good race, we’ve got to go. We’ve tried to space his races out a month or more and he puts up with the training and shipping.
“I’ve had him from the beginning but his owner, Mr. Redekop lives in Canada so we sent him up there for a bit. Mr. Redekop is very big at Hastings Park and he was going for his third win in the BC Derby this year and they needed Alert Bay up there so graciously, I let him go for a little while. It was tough, but I had to. You’ve got to work as a team.
“I was worried when Tyler had to ease him back a bit (on the far turn) but he looked like he was still going easy and he’s well proven over this turf course here. It could have gone either way today, but we held him off. If this horse is doing well I would love to come back for the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (in March)”
NOTES: The winning owner is Peter Redekop of Richmond, British Columbia. Today’s on-track attendance was 40,810.