FLAVIEN PRAT, BELLAFINA, WINNER: “She was good, as always. I thought Mother Mother would show more speed with the blinkers, but it seemed like everybody was waiting and watching me, so I tried to bide my time and wait as long as I could . . . As soon as she saw that filly (runner-up Enaya Alrabb), she re-engaged.”
MIKE SMITH, ENAYA ALRABB, SECOND: “She ran too good to lose. I had a good chance, but those champions, you gotta really run to beat them. I think if we take the blinkers off, she’ll give us what she’s got when we need it. It’s in there.”
SIMON CALLAGHAN, BELLAFINA, WINNER: “I wasn’t surprised to see her on the lead. When you’re 1 to 9, you just do what you’ve got to do. I think the fractions were pretty legit on a slightly sticky track . . . She did what she had to do and it’s great to get the win. I was worried a little that she was in front, but I left it to Flavien (Prat), because horses had been closing today and winning, so we may have won despite the bias. I think maybe that’s why the horse (Enaye Alrabb) was finishing so well at the end.
“We’ll enjoy this and take a deep breath. It’s never easy, but we got the win. I think we’ll definitely go on from here to the (Santa Anita) Oaks (April 6). She did what she had to do today. I think the track’s been favoring horses coming off the pace and it’s a little bit sticky. They went legit (fractions). Mother Mother’s a good filly and she fell away to fourth, so I think it was a good performance.
“When you’re one to nine, maybe people expect you to win by a long distance, but when that other filly came to him, he (Prat) was always confident he was going to hold her off. I left it to Flavien. I actually thought we’d sort of let Mother Mother go and be outside of her . . . but you can’t be critical of a win. We got the job done and that was always the plan, to get two races before the Santa Anita Oaks and we’ll give her a little freshening and look forward to that.”
KALEEM SHAH, OWNER, BELLAFINA: “The track was a little sticky and I don’t think it was the best surface for her, but that last quarter, I think her class pulled her through . . . We know now she can be on the lead.
“My daughter Sophie is here, who just got engaged. Her fiancé, Nick, is here today as well and it’s his first time to Santa Anita so this is a joyous win for all of us.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Kaleem Shah who resides in Vienna, Va.