GARRETT GOMEZ, GOT EVEN, WINNER: “I didn’t really expect him to show that much speed but he was doing it well, with his ears up. I knew he was shortening up and I really didn’t know what to expect, but he was able to clear ‘em and stretch ‘em out pretty good. The way it worked out, he took most of the run out of ‘em. When we turned for home, I went ahead and asked him for what he had. When we passed the eighth pole, he kind of flattened out a little bit, but he had enough left.”

WHEN ASKED WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HAVE SUCH A BIG OPENING DAY CROWD: “It means the world to me and to all of us to see this many people out here. Thoroughbred racing has been going through some tough times with the recession and it’s been tough for people to come out. We (fellow jockeys) were talking and it looks like there are more people out here today than for the Santa Anita Handicap. I just rode a race off the hill and it’s unbelievable to see all those cars in the back (infield) lot. This place is jammed and it’s great to see all these people having fun.”

RAFAEL BEJARANO, MOTOWN MEN, 5-2 SECOND CHOICE, SEVENTH: “He was a completely different horse today. He was really nervous and was freezing in the gate. I didn’t have any choice but to let him break. I was hoping he would break good, but he broke really bad. He should have run way better today because he has run with tough horses before. After the stumble I just tried to stay behind the speed and make one big run. He made a little move after the three-eighth’s pole but it was too late.”


PETER MILLER, GOT EVEN, WINNER: “He likes this race track and he’s gotten better and better since we gelded him at the Del Mar meet, and that’s the only thing I can really point to that turned him around. I was watching the race and I kept saying, ‘When’s he going to stop?’ and he never did. I don’t know where this race came from. He really ran a big race when he won the starter race (Nov. 13) at Hollywood, and I thought if he could duplicate that race he’d have a big shot, but he surpassed that . . . He just flew around there.
“I told Garrett (Gomez) if he breaks sharp, they might not respect us and they might let him go. I don’t know that that was the case. I just think he might have outrun them. He was smokin’, 22, 44 and I was saying, ‘This isn’t going to last.’ And then I kept seeing no one was coming, so I left it up to Garrett. Garrett’s such a great rider. I just said, ‘If you break sharp and they leave you alone, fine. If they send hard, sit second or third.”
Next race? “We’re just going to enjoy this right now and move on from there.”

NOTES: The winning owners are Bruce Chandler of Incline Village, NV; Jeff Fink of San Diego; and Marc Umeda of San Diego.