VICTOR ESPINOZA, LADY PIMPERNEL, WINNER: “It worked out well this time. I wanted to stay up closer today. Last time, she broke a little slow and we had to make up a lot of ground. Today I wanted to stay closer to the pace, I didn’t want to be too far back. She’s a distance filly and she doesn’t really have a strong closing kick, I didn’t want to leave her too much to do.
“I took a shot. I saved ground. There was a bunch of horses that I was in between. I didn’t think about it too much beforehand. It was one of those races that I had to take step-by-step.
“I knew the horse to my outside (Blingismything) was going to get tired and that was going to be my chance to move out and she moved just in time. For a minute, I thought she wasn’t going to get tired, but then just in time, she did.
“For a minute I did think Gary (Stevens, on Diversy Harbor) was going to get me but I knew she could keep going for just a little longer.”
ON CALIFORNIA CHROME’S WORK THIS MORNING
“He was excellent. He worked five eighths in a minute and three fifths and it’s the slowest I can go with him right now. He’s really sharp right now. He’s on his toes. I don’t think he’s ever been this good. The way he’s working but even the way he’s going to the track and after the work. He’s bucking and he’s trying to bite the pony. Any time the horse is trying to bite the pony, especially after the work, you can tell they’re just happy to be there.”
GARY STEVENS, DIVERSY HARBOR, SECOND: “I had a good trip until we came into the lane. I had to swing out extremely wide. I really didn’t want to give up that ground. I was loaded and there was nothing developing in front of me. She ran big.”
TYLER BAZE, THREE HEARTS, THIRD: “I didn’t have a rough trip. I just had nowhere to go. She’s way the best horse and should have won today. She’s a real nice filly; she was tons the best today.”
CARLA GAINES, LADY PIMPERNEL, WINNER: “She had a tough trip at Del Mar (third when steadied in the Red Carpet on Nov. 22). She was bottled up today, but at least he (Victor Espinoza) snuck through. He went a bit wide but they got the job done. I’m so excited.”
HUMBERTO ASCANIO, TROPHY PRESENTER & LONGTIME ASSISTANT TO THE LATE BOBBY FRANKEL: “It’s nice to come out here and see everyone. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I miss all of you guys.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Lincoln Collins of Midway, Ky., who races as Triton Racing, LLC.