MARTIN GARCIA, HOPPERTUNITY, WINNER: “I rode him with a lot of confidence; I knew I had the best horse. I just let him break, I saved ground on the rail and I knew they were going fast up front so I just had to wait. I expected that and more.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA, APPEALING TALE, SECOND: “He got caught a little wide. The (nine) horse (Blue Tone) in front of me drifted out a little, but I was already there so there wasn’t much I could do; I just had to go with it. He ran great though. Coming off the layoff, he’s better then before. To be able to run like this just the second time off that layoff is a good race for him to have; he’s going forward. I think any little bit helps, so if he didn’t get carried wide maybe . . . ”
BOB BAFFERT, HOPPERTUNITY, WINNER: “He was training well but I worry about him on this track because (Martin Garcia) has to ride the horse, let him just pick it up and build it up and he’ll come running late.
“He saved ground with him, he didn’t panic. He rode a really smart race today; it was good. I haven’t been able to run a lot of horses, and finally, I ran a couple live horses and we won, so it’s good to get back in the Winner’s Circle.
“We had this race in mind. We know every race is going to be different, so we’ll just let him space his races out. He could show up anywhere; I don’t know yet.”
Asked if the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7 could be a consideration: “It could be. Anything’s a consideration. He’ll be nominated everywhere and we know he ships well.”
MIKE PEGRAM, PART-OWNER, HOPPERTUNITY, WINNER: “He’s a damn good horse. Martin had to use him to get a position and when he pushed the button, he went. This horse has proven he can ship, so we know he can travel and he likes it here. It’s nice to have options.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman of Tucson.