DRAYDEN VAN DYKE, LA FORCE, WINNER: “Mike and Paradise Woods stumbling at the start really didn’t change anything for me. I had a great outside post and she tends to like being in the clear, my horse. It did help a little, her stumbling, obviously because it made the trip more difficult for him and only helped us.
“She’s just an honest trying filly, she’s very, very classy.
“Paddy put the cheaters on her today, not blinkers but the firs, just a little on the side to change a little something, change it up and I think it helped. Like I said, she really brings it every time.
“It’s very rewarding getting this win with her. She ran second to Unique Bella so many times so I really believe she deserves this.”
MIKE SMITH, PARADISE WOODS, SECOND: “She stumbled really bad, which she’s done in the past. I still thought I could win it at the quarter pole, but by the time I got out, the winner kicked away from us and we couldn’t get ’em.”
PATRICK GALLAGHER, LA FORCE, WINNER: “The filly was in a good spot. The favorite stumbled at the start. I have to watch the replay, but we thought she (Paradise Woods) would be on the lead but it didn’t turn out that way, La Force put it together and we were very happy. Chuck gave instructions to the jockey when we were in the Paddock and that was it.
“We finally got the win today after knocking on the door so many times. We’re just glad to get there and win. Winning a graded race is a big help for a broodmare prospect so now, she’s done that. We’re really, really happy with her performance.
“Yes, anything can happen in racing and something just happened. The favorite (Paradise Woods) was one-to-five and she didn’t probably have her best shot today. La Force has been running in these spots for quite a while now and she’s been close and then…sometimes you get disappointed and you really shouldn’t. If you’re running second or third in a graded stakes with a filly, you should always be very happy.”
CHARLES WINNER, LA FORCE, WINNER: “It is very rewarding, thank you to Paddy who did a great job, thank you to Drayden who always rides her beautifully. She tries hard every single time. Paddy’s done a great job with her and it all worked out today. Drayden told me she’d win!
“I’m so happy for my partners Ro and Ward. It was a terrific race, and to beat Paradise Woods was really special because she is a special horse. We’re dreaming!”
ROBERTA WILLIFORD, LA FORCE, WINNER: “We’re happy, anytime you win your happy. I’m proud of the filly, I’m proud of Paddy, I love my co-owner and my husband.“
WARD WILLIFORD, LA FORCE, WINNER: I’m smiling this is a thrill, winning a graded stakes at Santa Anita is as good as it gets. I’m sure there’s a few things we can maybe do more of, but this was absolutely fabulous”
NOTES: The winning owners are Roberta Williford, Ward Williford, and Charles Winner.