DENNIS CARR, AMARANTH, WINNER: “With her (Amaranth) it’s pretty straight forward, literally. She’s so fast out of the gate that the hardest thing with her is getting her to relax the first part. I almost did about half way down the backside until Mike Smith’s filly kind of ran up inside of me. I had no other choice but to let her out a bit. I had to let her out to make her relaxed, if that makes sense, to get away from the other filly. She kind of opened up a little and then come back to me. She (Amaranth) felt the number four horse (Velvet Mesquite) come up on her before I did because she jumped a bit, and then I saw the horse’s head pop up inside of us. I’m not going to make it easy on Mike (Smith, jockey), but I’m not going to put him in jeopardy either. I kind of held my ground and then when I got a shot I let her out.
“Around the turn she almost dropped the bit on me. She did that same thing with me at Pleasanton and when I got that from her again today I knew exactly what she was doing. The biggest thing with her (Amaranth) is to get her to relax in the first part of the race. I’ve ridden her enough, so I know her tendencies pretty well.”
MIKE SMITH, VELVET MESQUITE, SECOND: “The post hurt me. If I was on the outside I could have sat outside the speed and then made one run. I’m not fast enough to make the lead though, so instead I had to use her to make our way to the outside. If I hadn’t done that and just taken back, I would have been stuck. So using her, that hurt us. She ran very well.
“The track is going to be great later. It’s going to be wonderful.”
O.J. JAUREGUI, AMARANTH, WINNER: “The whole key was the break. I wanted her to break easy and hopefully get a little breather, and she did that. Down the lane, she kicked on. I’m from Los Angeles and been training 10 years, but this is my first win at Santa Anita.”
BLAKE HEAP, VELVET MESQUITE, SECOND: “The post. We broke on the inside, and the horse got to tripping. He (Mike Smith) said he had to rush up in there to keep coming. You can’t really take back and let everybody in front of you. Had he been on the outside, he could have sat and made one run and the outcome would have been different.”
LINDSAY LAROCHE, AMARANTH (OWNER/HIGHLAND YARD LLC), WINNER: “We’re just absolutely thrilled. It’s our first graded stakes winner and we just love our trainer, O.J. Jauregui, who does such a great job. He doesn’t get a lot of fanfare; he just gets his horses ready and they perform. We love this horse; we picked him out with Dominic Brennan down in Florida. She was too fast as a 2-year-old and matured. O.J. said put her out over the winter. The last race, in the Rancho Bernardo, two of the three horses that beat her were Judy the Beauty and Reneesgotzip. We thought we fit here, we did fit here and it probably benefited us that the race came off the turf and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
“We thought she was special when we paid $150,000 for her. Then we thought she wasn’t special when she did nothing as a 2-year-old. After the long winter, she came back and O.J. got her to be calm and settle down and she’s got four wins this year. It’s such a great atmosphere here at Santa Anita. We’ve got people here from Canada, we’ve got people here from California looking out at the track and enjoying the day and it’s fantastic.”