MIKE SMITH, VALE DORI, WINNER: “She got a little excited in the gate today. I’m not really sure what happened in the gate, something spooked her. She just reacted to it and almost went all the way over. It might have hurt us a little bit. She was aggravated for a good eighth of a mile before I talked her out of it. After that, she was well within herself.
“She tends to look around a little bit down the lane. I stay really busy on her.
“The horses sounded like they were right behind me but no one was! I was there, riding her harder than I probably have to. I swear it sounded like they were right behind me.
“She’s just gotten good. There’s not a Songbird or Stellar Wind in there, so that certainly helps. But she’s climbing the ladder. At some point she’s going to deserve a chance at them.
“If anyone had hooked up with her today, she would have sat off of them no doubt, just no speed today.”
TYLER BAZE, SHOW STEALER, SECOND: “I keep thinking that someone will hook up with Vale Dori and I’ll get the dream trip, but no one hooks up with her.
“I let (Show Stealer) sneak up there a bit on Vale Dori down the backside. I didn’t want to leave her a whole lot to do, knowing how slow we were going. She ran a great race once again, though. One of these days, she can outrun the rest of them so . . . ”
BOB BAFFERT, VALE DORI, WINNER: Asked if she is getting better: “She keeps beating the same group, so that’s good. She’s just steady and she’s right there. The gate thing, I think she’s very funny about her head. I think the gate guy might have touched her near her ear, and she will do that. You’ve got to be real careful with her.
“I don’t know (if she backed out). She jumped up and tried to flip or something. I don’t know what it was. Something got her, but she will do that. She was a little fresh today. I missed some time with her during the rains, so she was coming in here a little bit fresher. We missed a lot of days when it was raining so we just took it easy with her. These races have been keeping her fit so I don’t have to do too much in between.
“We’re definitely looking at the Santa Margarita (next, Grade I, $400,000, 1 1/8 miles on March 18). That’s the plan. Those South American horses, they love mud, they like wet tracks. It’s good to know, but she’s been a joy to train . . . She’s making money, we enjoy watching her run and she tries hard every time.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum.