GARY STEVENS, OM, WINNER: “I was actually worried about (Eric) Guillot’s horse, Boone Docks. He worried me because he has won wire-to-wire so I figured they were going to try and lay up close and I didn’t want any unexpected company. The first eighth of a mile I didn’t want to shake him up to make the lead. I took a look over at Corey (Nakatani, on Boone Docks) and he didn’t look like he wanted to get into a dog fight with me. I let (my horse) out a little notch going into the first turn and he was able to get the lead and was going very comfortably underneath me until the head of the stretch where he gave me a tremendous burst.
“When we got to the three eighths pole it was pretty much a replay of the Del Mar Derby. This was probably a little more difficult mile and an eighth than the Del Mar Derby because of the configuration there. You run out there and at barely an eighth of a mile you’ve got a sharp hook to the left, and that forces everybody’s hand a little bit. Here, you’ve got a huge run into the first turn so it doesn’t force riders.”
JAMES GRAHAM, MISTER BRIGHTSIDE, SECOND: “I got a beautiful trip just didn’t have enough but he ran his rear end off.”
DAN HENDRICKS, OM, WINNER: “The race set up just like Del Mar Derby (Sept. 6). It just looked like he did it easier than Del Mar. He seemed to mature a little more and he’s coming into his own at the right time of year. It looks like we’re headed to the Hollywood Derby, a Grade I at Del Mar (Nov. 14, 1 1/8 miles on turf for three-year-olds).”
Owner K.B. Sareen’s son, Taj, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, died Wednesday when his fighter jet crashed in an English countryside.
“What can I say?” Hendricks added. “They lost their son and he’s a hero for real, not pretend, a fighter jet pilot who gave his life for our country.”
NOTES: The winning owner is K.B. Sareen of Las Vegas who races as Sareen Family Trust.