RAFAEL BEJARANO, SILENTIO, WINNER: “He really liked the turf today. In his last race he broke from post one and he was kind of waiting a little bit. He still ran a good race, but the way he ran today he was clear from the outside and it was much better for him. He was more relaxed in the race so that’s why he gave me a good turn of foot in the stretch.”

MIKE SMITH, BATTLE FORCE, 3-1 FAVORITE, SECOND: “He ran too good to lose. I really have to applaud the winner because he beat me today, but they both ran winning races. I think it will be to our advantage as soon as we get to go a little further.”


GARY MANDELLA, SILENTIO, WINNER: “I don’t know if I’ve ever won five stakes in the same year. That’s five. We’re pretty proud of that and I’m very proud of my staff. To have a barn of 16 horses and win five stakes races on the year is a very nice feeling here at the end of the year.

“There’s no secret. He’s a good horse. The secret is to have a good horse and that’s what this is. The only thing I’ll take credit for is we gave him a lot of time for his injury as a 2-year-old. He won last year here and came out of a race with activity in his tibia that would have turned into fractures. But the bigger thing was he had some cysts in his hocks. (They were) dug out surgically and we gave him a lot of time to get over it.

“When you look at him, it’s impressive he won as a 2-year-old because he’s a 17-hands horse--which he was last year. Last year, he weighed probably 1,100 pounds and this year, he weighs 1,200 pounds. The time allowed him to grow into himself and become a good horse and I hope for even better things to come if I get lucky.”

JOHN SHIRREFFS, BATTLE FORCE, SECOND: “I thought it was a very nice finish. We always thought he was a high caliber horse and he proved it again.”

NOTES: Winning owners/breeders Wertheimer and Frere are from New York City.