MIKE SMITH, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “She felt great, really good. We were worried about her getting a little tired. We were hoping we could get a bit tired but still win in hand but I had to ride her a little. The second-place mare, Tiz Midnight, is a race-fit mare. She’s run twice down at Del Mar and ran impressively so she was the kind of mare that would probably push us today. She made us do a little more than we thought we were going to have to. It could be a blessing in disguise as well because we certainly needed a good race like that.
“The track is a bit slower today. You’re going to get tired on it if you’re not 100 percent fit and that’s a good thing.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA, TIZ MIDNIGHT, SECOND: “She ran a good race. She took off a bit quick on me and when that horse (Beholder) came up on us, it took us a while to get back to speed and we just ran out of track. She’s a big horse and it takes her a lot of time to get going again. It took us from the eighth pole to the end to get back up to speed again. But she’s a very good horse and she ran a good race.”
JOE TALAMO, IOTAPA, THIRD FOLLOWING A BAD BREAK FROM THE GATE: “She’s always pretty tight (anxious) in there, but today she was way too tight. When they sprang it, she just broke real slow.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, BEHOLDER, WINNER: Asked if she had to work a bit near the end: “I’ve got to watch the rerun. I think she was getting a little tired. You guys read that in her big work at Del Mar before the end of the meet she split that injury open. We had to put five stitches in it again to try and heal it a second time. She missed a week’s training and was just able to get ready in time for this race. Most horses could not have gotten ready.”
Noted she was wide into the first turn: “He (Mike Smith) was just being safe. He was on a heavy favorite, why take a chance of locking her up? I couldn’t be happier than to have her back like this, and this race ought to put her ready to go for the ($2 million) Breeders’ Cup (Distaff at 1 1/8 miles on Oct. 31). Smith kept her out of trouble and did the right thing. He’s known for that.”
On her original injury: “She got hurt in the race at Belmont (Ogden Phipps on June 7). She got a big cut on her left hind pastern, and we had just healed it up and we were working at Del Mar, when playing around, she hit it and knocked the injury open enough that we had to put five stitches in it.”
B. WAYNE HUGHES, OWNER OF BEHOLDER, WINNER: “She did it again. I was just watching. I wasn’t thinking clearly. There’s a lot of pressure when everyone is expecting you to win. She’s been a nice mare for us, we like her very much. I’ve never had a horse like this before; she’s something very special.”
BOB BAFFERT, TIZ MIDNIGHT, SECOND: “She ran good, but we weren’t gonna get by that other mare (Beholder). They could’ve gone around again and we’re not going to beat her.’
NOTES: Owner B. Wayne Hughes, who races as Spendthrift Farm, is from Lexington, Ky.