VICTOR ESPINOZA, CALIFORNIA CHROME, WINNER: “He knows what’s going on (when he goes to the gate). He’s calm and focused, but for some reason, we missed the break a tiny bit, but I put him in the race right away. I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic. It worked out well.”
GARY STEVENS, CANDY BOY, THIRD: “Candy Boy ran a super race. He was just third-best today. I know Victor (Espinoza) got banged around at the start and we did, too. We settled down and we were comfortable, but I could see that Victor was very confident, while giving his horse a little breather. I could tell Victor was going very easy when he began to move. He moved out on the turn and the horse took off. I think my horse will continue to improve.”
ART SHERMAN, CALIFORNIA CHROME, WINNER: “It was awesome. That’s all I can say. I got a little spooked leaving the gate. He got banged around pretty good, but I really think he’s a better horse stalking . . . when he won the San Felipe, he was on the lead all the way which is something new to me, but I really prefer this type of race where he’s right off the lead.
“I know that the horse likes to have to have company (when asked his thoughts early in the race). I’ve seen all his races; he’s pretty competitive. He doesn’t mind being hooked. Right now, he’s kind of freaky and I’m enjoying it. I can’t believe the races I’ve been seeing. A length or two might have been all right with me.”
Asked about comparing him to Swaps: “He’s my Swaps, let’s put it that way. If all goes well, we’ll ship to Kentucky probably a week before the Derby (May 3).
“I loved it when Trevor (Denman) said, ‘They’d need to sprout wings’ to beat him. I love that saying.”
BOB BAFFERT, HOPPERTUNITY, SECOND: “He’s a really good horse (California Chrome). I was really happy with my race. I’m glad I ran my horse. He got $200,000 for finishing second. I got beat today but I’m really happy with my horse. Oh, yeah: he’s going (to the Kentucky Derby on May 3).”
JOHN SADLER, CANDY BOY, THIRD: “We’d like to race on. We’ll see where the points fall and if 30 points gets us to move on, we’ll move on. We think our horse likes distance. The speed today has been staying.”
NOTES: Winning owners/breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin are from Wellington, NV and Yuba City, CA, respectively.