RAFAEL BEJARANO, MIDNIGHT STORM, WINNER: “The track has been playing fast since earlier today. I knew I had to put my horse on the lead. I needed a good start and when I put him on the lead I felt the pressure right away. Dalmore was right next to me, chasing me the whole way. I kept him on the lead but tried to give him a breather at the half-mile pole. At the three-eighths I knew he would keep running. He loves to be on the lead and he always gives me something else.”
TYLER BAZE, ACCELERATE, SECOND: “He’s going to be a super horse, I really mean that. I think John’s going to try blinkers next time and we’ll try to get him into the race a little sooner. He’s going to be a special horse.”
PHIL D’AMATO, MIDNIGHT STORM, WINNER: “I thought he would love the surface. They were going fast. I saw forty-five and 1:08 and change but he dug in there gamely and held them off today.
“We were going to the lead, whether Arrogate was in or not. Rafael followed the game plan. We thought Accelerate would be the one pressing us, not Dalmore, but it still worked out and he maintained through some grueling fractions and he showed his class in the stretch.
“Obviously, Arrogate scratching improved our chances of winning today. In my eyes, that horse is the Horse of the Year. At the same time, there’s a bit of you that wants to test your horse against the best and see where you stand but I’m very happy with my horse’s performance.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Alex Venneri of La Canada, CA, who races as Venneri Racing, Inc. and Little Red Feather Racing.