JOE TALAMO, AWESOME RETURN, WINNER: “We had a great trip. I really didn’t think I’d be that close, but they were going pretty slow up front. He’s such a handy horse and Mike Puype has done a great job with him. His workouts have been unbelievable. We just had a perfect trip and I found an opening at the quarter pole and he did the rest.
“As far as pace, I thought they would have gone a little bit quicker. So we went to Plan B and stayed a little bit closer. He’s such a nice horse. What makes him so good is he has that big turn of foot and in turf races, you definitely need that to get to certain spots. Like I said, he pretty much did all the work today. I just showed him a few seams and he did the rest.”
FERNANDO PEREZ, PATRIOTS RULE, SECOND: “I’ve tried to keep him on the inside before, but he didn’t fire. Last time out, when he won, I kept him on the outside and he ran well. I was excited to get him to the outside and make a big run today but the other horses were running well. Awesome Return won easy but my horse ran good.”
MIKE PUYPE, AWESOME RETURN, WINNER: “Perfect ride, perfect trip! He ran good and he settled in. I was almost worried when he hit the front because he can play around; he’s done that each time he’s run. He’s a talented colt with a bright future but he still had to put it all together today. I couldn’t be happier with the way he performed today.
“I’ve done a lot of good with the ‘DeCarchy’s’ and all my Cal-breds have been good to me, so I can’t complain. (Owner/breeder) Richard Kritzski is a small breeder, one or two at a time, max. He’s small, so this is very exciting for him. These races give the little guy a chance.
“I’d like to keep him on the turf. There’s a race up at Golden Gate in the Cal-bred series we’ll probably look at. We’ll just go from there.”
ROBERTINO DIODORO, PATRIOTS RULE, SECOND: “Definitely (part of the game plan to finish with a kick). We just tried to get him to relax at the first part of it, then take a big run at it. He ran a big race. We’re very happy. Going into the far turn, we got into a little trouble and had to steady him a little bit. Don’t know if that was enough to cost him the race, but it definitely did cost him.
“For a young horse, the last couple races, he’s matured and learned to relax. Especially the last race, he ran like an old pro. He sat last the whole way and relaxed real nice. Any time you have a horse run a mile or further, you need them to relax, right? As a young horse, he’s really matured of late and learned how to relax.
RICHARD KRITZSKI, AWESOME RETURN, WINNER: “This is my biggest win. We’ve got Mr. Broad Blade standing at Magali (Farms, in Santa Ynez) and this is really exciting.”
NOTES: Winning owner/breeder Richard Kritzski is from Santa Monica.