Santa Anita News
LAS VIRGENES STAKES QUOTES
MARTIN GARCIA, EDEN’S MOON, WINNER: “She’s a really good filly. Even though they put pressure on her right out of the gate, she relaxed for me. The seven (Reneesgotzip, with Corey Nakatani) pressed me real hard going to the far turn and she bumped my filly’s hind end which turned her a little sideways and she switched leads.”
COREY NAKATANI, RENEESGOTZIP, 6-5 FAVORITE, SECOND: “These two-year-olds, they get hit in the face, and you can see she shakes her head twice when he hit her. So hopefully the steward sees that. That was the difference between winning and losing. At that point, it was a two-horse race.
“You can see where she shifts out and Martin hits my horse across the face with the whip twice. My filly just popped her head up. When a horse gets hit in the face . . . the tape shows that, and you can see it. As far as I know, the rules state that you’re supposed to take the horse down when that happens.
“I was going two to his one at that point, and Martin shifted out, and we bushed a little bit, and when he hit his filly, he hit my horse twice in the face with the whip.”
MARTIN PEDROZA, WILLA B AWESOME, FOURTH: “I had (Rafael) Bejarano in front of me and I couldn’t go anywhere. I was stuck on the rail near the quarter pole and by the time I got out, the race was over because the two frontrunners opened up. I’m not sure if I would have won if I got through but I know my horse would have fought. It was just one of those days.”
BOB BAFFERT, EDEN’S MOON, WINNER: “I was hoping we’d be on the lead, get her out there and get her into a groove. I felt we could handle the distance. When Reneesgotzip went wide on the (first) turn, she eased off of us, so that was good.
“She’s getting better and better at a distance. Distance is not a problem for her. I don’t know if it (Grade I, $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on March 31) will be next. We’ll see how she comes out of this and keep her happy. We want to take her to the Kentucky Oaks (May 4), so that’s what we’re pointing for.”
PETER MILLER, RENEESGOTZIP, SECOND: “She got hit with the whip in the face.”
On the decision: “It’s typical, typical, just look at the Santa Anita Handicap last year. Same story.
“We’ll point her toward the Santa Anita Oaks. I don’t see any reason why not. She got hit. It was obvious she got hit over the nose with the whip.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Kaleem Shah of San Diego. This was his first Grade I win.