MIKE SMITH, AWESOME BABY, WINNER: “Off her first out, it looked like she would have run better her next two starts. Maybe she just bounced off that first race, or tailed off for some odd reason, I don’t know. Today though, she ran dynamite. She broke really well, was well in hand until I needed to ask her and I just showed her the whip and she kept running. It was a great race out of her today.”

RAFAEL BEJARANO, TASTE LIKE CANDY, SECOND: “The post position killed us today. I wish I could have an outside post. She broke really well but we got pressured right away by the three horse (Mike Smith aboard winner Awesome Baby) and I could tell my horse was scared and couldn’t run freely. I couldn’t get outside so I had to wait. She started to move (once she got clear) but by that time it was already done.”

MARTIN GARCIA, CRUSHED VELVET, 4-5 FAVORITE, THIRD: “She’s a very good filly. She did break a little bit slow, but I don’t think it would have made a difference. It wasn’t her day today. She’s better than that. She really didn’t run that much. She should be OK.”


BOB BAFFERT, AWESOME BABY, WINNER, AND CRUSHED VELVET, THIRD: “I was a little disappointed in her (fifth by 23 lengths in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes Sept. 28). I thought she’d hold on. I was getting a little bit discouraged with her because she just wasn’t finishing. She’d been working well, but she was always working well before and she’d fall apart, but today, she got out there, and I could tell about the three-eighths pole this filly was running like she did her maiden race. Her maiden race at Del Mar was really impressive. That’s why she was the favorite (11-10) in the (Del Mar) Debutante.

“You have to realize she (Crushed Velvet) ran really fast first time out. I went easy on her and sometimes they just run like that second time out. But they were going pretty fast and she was like four or five lengths back and then she closed. She probably would have been better sitting back a little further, but she closed on a 21 and four, so she probably went in 21 and just got tired . . . I think she’s a really good filly. Sometimes when they run that fast early it knocks them out a little bit, but she’ll be fine.

“”Awesome Baby will stay one turn. I think the other filly (Crushed Velvet) is going to stretch out.”

NOTES: Winning owner Kaleem Shah is from San Diego.