RICARDO GONZALEZ, ACCLIMATE, WINNER: “Just get him in front, nice and comfortable is where he likes to be. Just keep the other horses away from him and he’s as happy as he could be. I was really happy. We barely got beat last time (May 29, Charles Whittingham Stakes), it was just the head bob, but after the wire he was in front again, so I knew the distance wasn’t going to be a problem for him. Today I’m just relived that he got it done so easy.”
PHIL D’ AMATO, ACCLIMATE, WINNER: “I’m elated really. This horse, he’s been through the highs and lows and he’s bounced back. He’s just an old warrior and he gave it his all today. It’s just a beautiful thing to watch.
“It means everything, it’s a credit to all my staff, exercise riders, my assistants and definitely the owners and especially Ricky.
“Ricky did a masterful job of maintaining the distance and setting those comfortable fractions to have enough horse left. It’s a credit to him and the horse. To dial those fractions in the way he did, Ricky rode like a seasoned veteran at this distance.
“The San Juan Capistrano was my favorite race growing up. When I was a kid coming to the races, this is the race I always came to see.
“I thought this was an ‘A’ performance for him today, and this is a horse that I would target for the Del Mar Handicap. He has been lightly raced. We gave him a short break and he has come back better than ever.”
JUDY JOHNSTON, PART-OWNER/ BREEDER, ACCLIMATE, WINNER: “He still has it! He took a little time off at the ranch, he liked his vacation but he likes to run better. This horse is very special because we race him and we raced his dad. His dad ran just like he does they like to get in front and try to dare somebody to catch them, and nobody caught him today.”
NOTES: The winning owner is The Ellwood Johnston Trust, Timmy Time Racing and Ken Tevelde.