Stakes Quotes

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January 19, 2014


VICTOR ESPINOZA, SPELLBOUND, WINNER: “I knew they were going fast on the front end but I just wanted to focus on my own filly. I wanted her to be happy and I wanted to enjoy the ride. I knew they were going fast so I didn’t want to get too far back (either) but sometimes that’s just the way she runs. I don’t want to forcer her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. She was doing it comfortably so I didn’t do much.

“Turning for home I knew we had a lot of ground to make up . . . and the wire was getting closer and closer.

January 18, 2014


MIKE SMITH, SHAKIN IT UP, WINNER: “I was really impressed. My main concern was the distance today. He had done it once (ran 1 1/16 miles), and didn’t do so good. Of course, he had a lot of time off after that so I don’t know if that had something to do with it (his doing better today.) He certainly has developed into a bigger, stronger colt. He can certainly get a mile and a sixteenth anyway. I think he can get a mile and an eighth and after that it’s no man’s land.

“I was so happy with the way he broke.

January 11, 2014


MIKE SMITH, MIDNIGHT HAWK, WINNER: “It kind of turned into a match race today. Today, more so than winning I wanted to find out if he could go long. If you can’t go long, there’s no use worrying about anything else. He proved he could go long.

“He was much better in the gate today. It was evident the work they have done, he’s improved. There is some other work to be done though. He’s still a bit green down the lane.


MARTIN PEDROZA, BLUESKIESNRAINBOWS, WINNER: “Everybody seems to think that he has to have the lead, but he doesn’t necessarily. He’s not really quick from the gate, so you have to send him to get position. Once you get him going though, he’s OK. The reason we send him is because of that, he’s not aggressive right away, so we send him. It worked out well and I got the lead all to myself today.

January 5, 2014


GARY STEVENS, PONTCHATRAIN, WINNER: “Tyler’s filly (Baze, on Camryn Kate) must have jumped in a little bit the first step because my filly’s right rear went down for two strides. She got right back up underneath me but I thought she might have grabbed a quarter; it was pretty severe. But then, boom, she just took off. I even asked Amy (Dollase, assistant to trainer Tom Proctor) when we came back to check her right hind and she said that the shoe had ‘sprung.’ It almost would have been better if it came off completely.

January 4, 2014


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.


RAFAEL BEJARANO, JERANIMO, WINNER: “This horse loves to sit back and relax. He doesn’t like to be too close to the lead because he gets too excited. He was flying at the end and showed me a huge kick. Nakatani was only four or five lengths in front of me (on pace-setting Slim Shadey) so I knew I just had to wait and I would catch him.

December 29, 2013


MIKE SMITH, CUSTOMER BASE, WINNER: “I knew the two outside horses would have speed so I could work out a good trip from that point unless I got buried, which could have happened. I thought the main horse to follow was Stormy Lucy, or our other horse (Gulsary) who was behind me so I parked in behind Stormy Lucy and didn’t move until I had to.

“I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but it felt like a Zenyatta-like photo finish where everyone thought it was so close, but yet I was confident. She was just hanging there, just waiting.

December 28, 2013


GARY STEVENS, ENTERPRISING, WINNER: “He had no clue what he was doing in the beginning. I told Tom (Proctor) he might be like that, but the light turned on at about the eighth pole and he started sprinting. The transition from his first start to today . . . I’ve never had a horse turn the corner like that. I think something and he just does it. He’s got a great mind. He’s gonna have a good year, knock on wood!

“I knew Eddie (Logan).


COREY NAKATANI, UNBRIDLED’S NOTE, WINNER: “It was pilot error his last race. I thought he was going to be all right since there was no pace in that race but when you come out of the gate at Hollywood, after a sixteenth of a mile or so, it turns. He thought he was supposed to go and like I said I should have let him do his thing that day, instead of trying to stop him . . .Today, we got the trip we wanted to get and it all worked out. As honest as he is and as hard-trying a colt as he is I just have to thank the connections for keeping me on him.