VICTOR ESPINOZA, BEYOND BRILLIANT, WINNER: “It was a lot of fun and I always look forward to ride these kinds of horses. It was one of those things that I had a good post outside, and I thought that was great for this horse because he can get as little keen, and when he gets aggressive, it’s tough to get him back. You know, to relax. But today, he did what I wanted.
“It’s funny because in the morning he’s a different horse. He doesn’t work fast so he won’t drag you around. But then in the afternoon, he changes. He’s ready to go and he knows that he’s going to run. John and all the connections have done an excellent job getting him ready, from one mile to a mile and a quarter. It is just unbelievable, and it makes my job easy.”
JOHN SHIRREFFS, BEYOND BRILLIANT, WINNER: “He broke a little wide and he crossed over the dirt a little wide but once he got the lead and had a length, a length and a half on them, he just relaxed. Yes, we thought he could get the distance. He ran really well going a mile and one eighth down at Del Mar (winning the Grade I Hollywood Derby by a neck on Nov. 27), so it didn’t seem like a mile and a quarter was asking too much. But, it’s always a case of what the pace is.”
REGARDING EXPRESS TRAIN’S SECOND PLACE FINISH IN THE GRADE II CALIFORNIAN EARLIER: “You know, I really was not that disappointed, I thought Stilleto Boy ran a huge race. I don’t think anybody was going to catch him today. I know Express Train ran his race and tried hard, so I’m not disappointed when a horse does that.”
LEE SEARING, OWNER OF BEYOND BRILLIANT: “Victor just told me he was happy the horse broke out like he did and then when he got the lead, he relaxes and when you come to him, he just gives you a little bit more and a little bit more. He’s a really good handicap horse now and he’s got that natural speed and he’s game.”
NOTES: The winning owner is C R K Stable, LLC.