GARRETT GOMEZ, TAPIZAR, WINNER: “I thought I would be laying second. He was little bit fresher than I had anticipated him to be. He went ahead and settled down as soon as I let him make the lead. He put his ears up and kind of cruised around there. I felt like I was loaded. When I started to turn for home, the gate was parked on the outside and there was a lot of stuff going on. When I asked him to pick it up, I couldn’t quite get his focus going, but nothing ever got close enough to make him pay attention, either. Hopefully, he has many more gears. He traveled beautiful, and he’s a beautiful mover. It was a pleasure to be on him today.”

PATRICK VALENZUELA, CLUBHOUSE RIDE, SECOND: “We ran a good race. The track is favoring speed and that horse (Tapizar) went out there pretty fast and kept running. I was very happy with the way Clubhouse Ride ran. He’s (Tapizar) the speed favorite on the race track and for him (Clubhouse Ride) to close that much ground and almost get to the leader at the top of the lane . . . the leader just kept rolling.”


STEVE ASMUSSEN, TAPIZAR, WINNER: Asked if he was concerned about a pace duel between Tapizar and Uncle Sam early on: “I was very concerned when they put up the (fractional) times, but honestly, if I wouldn’t have looked up at the board, I wouldn’t have been. I thought he was away from the gate very kindly. I watched the break; he broke on his feet but he wasn’t being extremely aggressive. I think the race track’s just yielding extremely fast times. His work the other morning (Jan. 13, :47 1/5 for a half-mile) indicated how sharp he was right now, that :47 and change. We want him to be handy, and I think now, keeping him healthy, if he can go far enough, and keep improving with the distances, are the questions we have.”

Asked if the colt would remain at Santa Anita: “Absolutely. With the races that he ran at the end of Churchill, I thought he was ideal for the (3-year-old) series that’s here. He had two-turn races in him and he could just stay at two turns and just try to continue on . . . The horse gives us a lot of confidence in that he can do more. He’s talented, but there’s a lot of kid to him, a lot of playfulness in him.”

NOTES: The winning owners and breeders are Ron and Joann Winchell of Las Vegas, who race as the Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC.