MIKE SMITH, VALE DORI, WINNER: “She’s just gotten so good. They’ve done such a good job of getting her to relax. She’s really come around. I got on her when she first got here and she was nothing like this. She was very rank and very aggressive. To see her now, it’s a complete turnaround. She’s so calm, so cool. She went out there with a lot of confidence, a lot of class. She’s doing well right now and climbing the ladder.
“It’s important to have her versatility. I think she’s gotten to the point where she’s not a one dimensional horse and I think she’d even sit off of someone now if they wanted to get crazy. I look for her to do some great things. She’s got a long year ahead of her and hopefully she won’t run into my other big mare and I get to ride them both.”
BOB BAFFERT, VALE DORI, WINNER: “I’m impressed by her because she took on some really nice fillies.
“Wild At Heart is a good mare. She took her on early and didn’t give it to her. When Mike made that move at the three-eighths pole…I saw him make that adios move and was hoping he didn’t move her too early. She had something left at the end. When they’re that heavily favored, you just hope they run to their odds.
“They sent her to me to get a Grade I into her and have some fun with her so I’m just glad that they kept her in training. They were thinking of breeding her so this is good to have. These good fillies are hard to get. She’s improving.
“She’s come a long way. It was tough to get a bridle on her before. She was tough. She’s improving and we see it. I’m just glad she’s doing well. We’ll get her ready for the big guns. I wonder if Mike will stay on her (laughs.)
“Well, eventually she’ll have to run against that caliber of horse (regarding Songbird) but I think she’s improved since she ran against her and we’ll just continue moving forward. If not, we can always put her on a plane and go somewhere else. We have a lot of options with her.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, a United Arab Emirati politician and royalty of Dubai.