AARON GRYDER, BLINGO, WINNER: “I’m very happy with this race and how (Blingo) positioned himself. I’ve ridden (second-place finisher) Imperative before and he ran one hell of a race today but my horse just kept digging.
“I was hoping for a hot pace today and I was real happy with first eighth of a mile. By the time we had gone three-sixteenths I could tell we had established a fast pace and I just wanted my horse to settle. I didn’t care if that made us third, or second, or gave us the win. I just knew the only chance we would have would be if he settled. When we got to the five-eighths pole I knew he was running his race, he was traveling so well. I was just hoping they (the leaders) would come back to us a little bit, but he went after them.
“It’s horses like this that bring riders to the top and give you opportunities. I appreciate that and these opportunities put you in the winner’s circle.”
KENT DESORMEAUX, IMPERATIVE, SECOND: “I’ll tell you, this horse made an incredible effort. I made the lead, the winner passed me, I passed him again but I just couldn’t hold him off. The winner was too good today. I’m very proud of this horse…and George! What a training job!”
MIKE SMITH, GAME ON DUDE, 3-10 FAVORITE, FIFTH: “The pace was fast. It was (too fast) based on where we finished. When you go that fast, you pay for it, and we both paid for it. No, I didn’t that. You learn not to expect anything in this game. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. If I were to take it back, maybe I would have just let (Blueskiesnrainbows) go, I don’t know. Maybe I don’t win either way. We just went too quick, that’s all I know.”
JERRY MOSS, CO-OWNER, BLINGO, WINNER: “That was great (the way the pace set up), watching those two guys go after each other. It seems like this horse is still growing, but we’re real happy with the way he’s developed. John Shirreffs has just done an amazing job with this horse. The time he’s put into him is really amazing. He got the horse right, dealing with all his idiosyncrasies.
Asked about Aaron Gryder riding the horse for the first time: “It was his first time on, but it’s his horse from now on. He rode him great; it was a perfectly-timed ride. He left a little something at the end and we managed to get through.”
Asked if the Santa Anita Handicap would be next: “Yeah, sure. That’s what we’re hoping.”
GEORGE PAPARODROMOU, IMPERATIVE, SECOND: “I told Kent (Desormeaux) to make one run. I thought Game On Dude and Blueskiesnrainbows were going to knock each other out. He just ran great.”
Asked about running in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 8: “The way he raced, why not? Like I said, I was hoping the two favorites would go out there and run with each other and we would make one run and hopefully we would run third or fourth. But he ran great.”
JIM BARNES (ASSISTANT TO BOB BAFFERT), GAME ON DUDE, FAVORITE: “I was a little disappointed in the ride. You have to have some confidence in your horse. I’m watching this 22 and 46 going a mile and an eighth – I don’t know what else to say. We went too fast. Depending on how far you let (Blueskiesnrainbows) go … you don’t do what you did. You knew the other horse was going. You’re on the outside – just sit within a couple lengths of him.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss of Beverly Hills.