FLAVIEN PRAT, NEVERADOUBT, WINNER: “(Mike) Puype was pretty confident before the race. I didn’t know this horse but the pace helped him a lot and the track was a little bit soft and that helped as well. The pace was pretty fast so that’s good when you’re behind.
“He doesn’t look like he’s got a turn of foot but he’s got one pace. I didn’t think I would win but I thought we would be close, third, second.
“There wasn’t any bumping (in response to Rafael Bejarano’s claim of foul) It was pretty tough but he was never tired. He won pretty easy today.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA, ZINVOR, FIFTH: “He broke too sharp. There were fast fractions and I was trying to relax him but he was a little bit too keen. The outside horse was pushing me and that’s when he got a little aggressive. I wanted him to break clean and be comfortable either on the lead or behind but be relaxed but that never happened. On the first turn he was working too much, too hard and it was just too much for him.”
MIKE PUYPE, NEVERADOUBT, WINNER: “Flavien rode a great race and saved a lot of ground. Tom Hudson, who manages the horses, wanted to go in the race. Tom said, ‘He should go the distance. He’s doing good.’ But Flavien Prat rode the race and it was a great ride. We just took a shot he could cover the distance.
“It was a good ride and patient handling and he did a great job with the horse. He had a big abscess in his foot (right hind) a few weeks ago and it took time to get it taken care of. The shoer did a good job, he put a bar shoe on him and got him to where we could get him back to the track to train and it was wonderful.
(On running this kind of race in only his fourth start): “He broke his maiden the first time and what a great ride today. We couldn’t be happier with the event.
“The second race on the dirt, he was rank, threw his head and didn’t like the dirt. Third race was an open allowance race; it wasn’t a Cal-Bred race. It was a sprint and it wasn’t that bad of a race. Realistically, handicapping the race, I didn’t think any of these horses were that great at a mile-and-an-eighth. We were just hoping the distance would be the equalizer to allow us to have a chance. Remember this, if you look at the history of the Snow Chief and look at the stats, plenty of longshots and maiden winners have won this. You better believe it. It’s because of the distance. There are a lot of good horses bred in California that are fast but a lot that can’t run the full distance and the distance really helped this horse today.
(On the inquiry) “There was nothing there. That was a joke of an inquiry.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Donald Patrick of San Luis Obispo (SLO Racing); Tom Hudson; and Tony and Suzie Narducci.