SANTA LUCIA STAKES QUOTES

            B. WAYNE HUGHES, OWNER, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “She met and exceeded my expectations today. She’s a nice horse and I’m very lucky to own her. We hope we have better luck than we did last year. I could easily be wrong but she’s the best filly in the world.

            HOW DID IT FEEL WHEN GARY WAS SITTING DEAD STILL ON HER AS SHE WAS WIDENING?

“It felt like I was going to win. It was a good experience here today.

“Richard Mandella got it together and you’ve got to give it to him. He’s one of the very few trainers who can get a horse ready for a particular race. Everyone else, the horse tells them where to go. Not Richard, he tells the horse where to go.”

 

RICHARD MANDELLA, TRAINER, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “She’ll go back to barn four now.

“The Vanity on May 9 is next and then the Ogden Phipps on Belmont Day (June 6) and we’re going to get it right this time.

“She couldn’t look better, I don’t think.

“You never know until you run them. Believe me, I’m nervous. I worry all the time. Just because you’re good doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Mr. Hughes has a saying. ‘Stuff happens.’

“It’s a relief to get through this and she’s back, I don’t think she could have looked any better.”

 

GARY STEVENS, JOCKEY, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “She showed up today the same way she did this time last year. I’ll let Mr. Mandella and Mr. Hughes plan out the schedule but I know it’s going to be full of a lot of big ones.

“Some of these races are more pressure because you’re supposed to win but this mare gives me a lot of confidence. I slept pretty well last night.

“I worked her three works back and she worked unbelievable. She worked in 1:10.40 that morning and galloped out strong, in 1:38 and it was by design. I knew she was pretty fit but it’s a long year. I know the Breeders’ Cup is the goal and however he works backwards to get us to that point, I’ll just be along for the ride. Hopefully, we can both stay healthy.

“Winning Colors, Silverbulletday, this mare, they all have a temperament and they’re their own woman. I just try to get along with them. She listens to me and she acts like she enjoys me on her back and I’m darn sure I enjoy being there.

“I popped her on the shoulder right when I hit the wire and chirped to her. I geared her down from the sixteenth pole and did what Richard has me do when he has me work her in the mornings. At the seven-eighths pole he likes me to steady her when I go into the turns so she’s collected underneath me and I slow her down.

“I popped her at the wire the wire and I shut her down pretty quickly today. I didn’t think she needed to go a mile and a n eighth her first time out. He can do the training in the mornings, I don’t need to train her in the afternoon.

“She’s the best filly I’ve ever sat on and I’m not sure she’s not the best horse I’ve ever ridden.

“I got lucky two years ago when I had her on one division and Mucho Macho Man in the other division and won both the races. I know she would have given them all they could handle in the Classic that year, she’s that good.”