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DON VALPREDO CALIFORNIA CUP SPRINT STAKES QUOTES
GARRETT GOMEZ, MAUI MARK, WINNER: “It wasn’t the smoothest of trips. I squeezed him early just to help him get on his feet and he kind of struggled, so then I just tried to find a rhythm for him and a spot that he was traveling well in. I got to the turn, and he tried to spread the turn a little bit, so I got him back inside. Once I got him lined up and started focusing on making some kind of run, I pointed him where I wanted to go and his confidence started growing because he knew he was getting out from behind the dirt. He made a huge run and finished up well.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, AIN’T NO OTHER, SECOND: “I’m really happy with the horse and the race. When I see the horses from the outside, I knew there was going to be some speed in this race, but my horse had speed too. We tried to get out there from the gate . . . I tried to get him relaxed, get him right behind the speed. It looked like in the stretch, my horse was going to come running, but the winner, he came running too. It was a very good race and I’m happy.”
BOB HESS JR., MAUI MARK, WINNER: “We claimed him (for $20,000 March 15 at Santa Anita), took him East, did pretty well, then he injured himself. He pulled a left stifle in that last race (July 25 at Saratoga), so we brought him home and freshened him up.
“Garrett (Gomez) rode him great. I didn’t really tell him anything, other than when you go, get in the clear, because he’s a little timid inside. He’ll run inside, but when you really need to knuckle on him, you want to be in the clear. That’s all I told Garrett. I said he can be in front or last, it doesn’t really matter. If you look at his form, he’s very versatile.
“I knew he was good enough (to win this race), minus the nine horse (favored Derby Gold) . . . However, my horse still was only about 85 percent weight-wise and coat-wise today, so that was a big concern for me. I was nervous.”
NOTES: Hess said the $75,000 On Trust Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park at 7 ½ furlongs on Nov. 17 would be considered for Maui Mark’s next race. The winning owners are Mike Carter and Charles Galea, both of Lakeside, CA.