NORBERTO ARROYO, JR., STORMY LIBERAL, WINNER: “We had a great start and I was only concerned about Mike Smith on Ambitious Brew. He ran good last time, went straight to the lead, or just off of it and ran second to us. With him being the only speed in the race today I was afraid they’d get the jump on me.
“It worked out well and my horse put himself right into the race. I had them from the get go and I knew I had more horse than him the whole time.
“They might have given me more trouble if we were running another sixteenth of a mile. I felt him (Ambitious Brew) coming back a little but I realized it was my horse slowing down, waiting. I could feel it. I saw the wire and knew he wouldn’t have enough time to get to us.
“I’m just happy to be here with my family. My kids are here and I’m just ecstatic.”
MIKE SMITH, AMBITIOUS BREW, SECOND: “I didn’t want to be (on the lead), but I absolutely expected to be. I tried to let the other horse take the lead, but going 23 (seconds) down the hill, that ain’t going to happen. If you do that, I have to go to the lead. It is what it is. He ran great. He really ran a great race, and that’s a good horse that beat us.”
GARY HARTUNIAN, ROCKINGHAM RANCH, WINNING OWNER: “David Lanzman suggested we claim this horse (for $40,000 six starts back on Oct. 16) and we’ve just been rolling on the good times ever since. He’s found his niche coming down the hill, that’s for sure. Norberto had a good hold of him; he’s gonna give me a heart attack making it that close! It’s a great day and Santa Anita is the greatest place in the world.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Gary Hartunian who races as Rockingham Ranch.