FLAVIEN PRAT, AVENGE, WINNER: “Three Grade I’s, that’s the first time for me. My filly was nice and relaxed. When Nakatani (Corey, aboard favored Goodyearforroses)) came to me at the three eighths, my filly grabbed the bit, but she stayed relaxed. I was a little surprised the other filly stopped like she did, but it worked out good for us. My filly kept running.”
MIKE SMITH, GOLDY ESPONY, SECOND: “You know, early on in her career she was certainly capable of beating these kinds of horses. She hadn’t shown this kind of run in a while. She was off almost two years prior to her last race and ran well but got very tired. I just didn’t know what to expect with this field so I feel like I won. I’m very, very pleasantly surprised that we got second in a group race.”
COREY NAKATANI, GOODYEARFORROSES, EIGHTH (FAVORITE): “We were traveling really well and then we engaged with the winner. That horse of Mandella’s was really running. I saw Mandella’s horse came home in 58 and that’s moving for a mile and quarter. My horse was a little too keen today. We clipped heels a couple of times and I had to turn her off. She’ll be fine.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, AVENGE, WINNER: “This feels very good. This is what we do this for. I was impressed that she settled off the leader and that she had such a good finish.
“I felt better about it at the quarter pole. When she exploded away from there, you could tell it was working. But she’s run so well on the lead, I wasn’t looking to change it, but Baffert’s horse took the place we were thinking of.
“It’s been frustrating because we couldn’t quite get her back to herself until now but, I think we do have her now and we hope we’re in as good of shape as we did last year.”
NOTES: Winning owner Ramona Bass of Fort Worth, TX.