FLAVIEN PRAT, PARADISE WOODS, WINNER: “I’ve always been high on her. From the first time I worked her, I said, ‘That one is really good.’ She ran well her first time out (second in a six furlong maiden special weight on Jan. 26) but I was expecting so much more that I was almost disappointed. But I think that I was just expecting too much from her.
“The next time out, she won like a good filly. She’s so smart. If you teach her something she remembers it the next day; it sticks. She’s super small, she’s fast and she has stamina. She’s so good.
“I learned she can make the distance, no problem. It’s an honor to rider her, truly.
“Down the backside it was all her, I didn’t do anything. I just let her have her way.”
MIKE SMITH, ABEL TASMAN, SECOND: “You know, Mandella’s horse really just blew the field away. She just broke, they call it ‘speed popin’ the field’ sometimes. She broke and was gone. I made sure we got second. There was no catching the winner. And that was good enough for today. We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board, make a couple of changes, tweak this and tweak that a little and see if we can turn the page in the Kentucky Oaks. Today, it was all Mandella. No one was beating that horse. She’s still learning, maybe a few little things we could do that would certainly make her better. So, we’ve got room to play with. We lost the battle but the big one’s yet to come. She was just gone.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, PARADISE WOODS, WINNER: “She looked like she was just cruising out there. At the half mile pole, she was going easy. She took my breath away. It means a lot to win for (Herman) Sarkowsky. He was an owner with me for 38 years.
“I have always been high on her. I wasn’t that confident, but I fully expected her to run well. I didn’t think she would do this.
“I was thinking of running her short tomorrow in the Santa Paula, but when Unique Bella scratched, I thought we should take a shot. I thought she was as good as these fillies and she showed it today. She is a young filly. She has only had three starts, so we’ll see about the Kentucky Oaks and how things develop. She was really nasty to saddle today, but she ran great.”
BOB BAFFERT, ABEL TASMAN, SECOND: “She was back there, and you have to be up close to the lead. I think Mike Smith got a feel for her today. Now I’ve got a race into her, and I know what I need to do to sharpen her up. She’ll move forward off that – still the Kentucky Oaks.”
NOTES: The winning margin was the largest ever in the Santa Anita Oaks, surpassing Silver Spoon who won by 10 ½ lengths in 1959 under Ray York.
The winning owners are Steven Sarkowsky and Martin Wygod.