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STRUB STAKES QUOTES
MARTIN PEDROZA, ULTIMATE EAGLE, FIRST: “My plan was to take the lead. When I didn’t see Corey on the lead I figured he might have broke a step slow. I was in front and he took the lead easily and Corey came and then Rosario and then my horse took off. After that it was like a three-horse race. I wanted to let Corey go but my horse was pulling so hard I didn’t want to choke him down. After that he did the rest. Without a doubt this is the best horse. He’s like a freak. Believe me this horse is just learning how to run.”
COREY NAKATANI, TAPIZAR, 4-5 FAVORITE, FOURTH: “We were trying something different with him. I knew Martin had speed and I was just going to settle and see where he was at. He puts his heart out there. He ran so hard last race that I think this race coming back so soon took a little more starch out of him then we believe. He’s bucking, squealing, knocking down the barn. He probably needs a little more time to recover between starts.”
MIKE PENDER, ULTIMATE EAGLE, WINNER: “It (my confidence in the horse) was unwavering and he just went out there and proved what I thought he could do all along. We did take the heart right out of Tapizar, which I thought he (Ultimate Eagle) would.”
When (Martin) Pedroza (on Ultimate Eagle) let out a notch and opened up going to the half-mile pole: “I looked at the guy next to me, my groom, and I said, ‘It’s over.’ We were standing together. I said the race is over. He took it to him at the half-mile pole, there was no catching him.
“This is a special horse and people have to start realizing it. Just because he wins on the turf, it doesn’t mean that he can’t do it anywhere else.”
Asked about the Santa Anita Handicap (March 3): “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but we’re just so pleased with the horse. It took so much to get to this point, with the near-death experience (colic in his 3-year-old year). It’s just an unbelievable miracle that we’re here today.”
BOB BAFFERT, JAYCITO SECOND AND PRAYER FOR RELIEF, THIRD: “Jaycito ran a great race and the other horse, he’s rounding back to form. He ran a lot better.”
NOTES: The winning owner is B.J. Wright of Pasadena.