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Santa Super Saturday Stakes Quotes

Race 3 – The $60,000 Esplanade Stakes
Fillies & mares, 3 and up, 5 ½ furlongs, 18th running

Jockey Corey Lanerie (Wildcat Heiress, winner): “I’d hoped I’d get a good, clear break and I did. It was very easy, she was very relaxed, and then I just had to make sure I didn’t fall off.”

Owner Ron McCauley (Wildcat Heiress, winner): “We’d been looking for a good spot for her. She won three of her first four races and we felt it was time to move on up to stakes races. She’s proven herself over Poly, over grass and over synthetic. We actually had her entered at Tampa last weekend in a grass race but she didn’t draw in and our next choice was here. I’m real glad it worked out this way.

“We raced here a few times last year. We’re looking to get stalls here for our horses from Kentucky for the rest of the season. We have about 45 horses total right now, 20 on the track and about 25 on the farm.”

Jockey Robby Albarado (Lady Alexander, fourth as favorite): “That wasn’t what I was expecting based on her past performances. I had never ridden her before. But take nothing away from the winner, that’s a nice filly and I had been on her before.”

Trainer Glenn Delahoussaye (Lady Alexander, fourth as favorite): “I honestly have no earthly idea what just happened. The fractions were not unrealistic for a horse of this caliber. I’m kind of at a loss right now.”

NOTES: Ron McCauley is the father of trainer Tevis McCauley, who was not present today…Delahoussaye said Lady Alexander would be pointed to the $60,000 Dr. A.B. Leggio Memorial Stakes for older females at 5 ½ furlongs on turf on Jan. 22.


Race 6 – The $60,000 Letellier Memorial Stakes
2-year-old fillies, six furlongs, 52nd running

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan (Fastation, winner): “She’s an honest filly. I let her do her thing. She just does what you want.”

Assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, Darren Fleming (Fastation, winner): “She trains fabulous every day. She’s easy. I didn’t give him (Bridgmohan) any directions; he did it all on his own.”

NOTES: Heiligbrodt, Asmussen and Bridgmohan teamed to win this race with Blitzing in 2007…Asmussen also won this race in 2005 (More Moonlight), 2003 (Lady Tak), 2002 (Lake Lady) and 1997 (Little Sister).


Race 8 – The $60,000 Tenacious Handicap
A handicap for 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles, 46th running

Jockey Shane Sellers (Country Flavor, winner): “It was a tough race but it set up good for him. I was able to tuck in and save ground. I thought if we had some running room we would be fine. You always want to be confident. We thought he was capable of running this kind of race.”

Trainer Greg Geier (Country Flavor, winner): “When we got here from Chicago he was sick; that’s why he didn’t work in November. He started training good. He likes this racetrack, so we said, ‘Lets give it a try.’”

Jockey James Graham (Mad Flatter, seventh as favorite): “He felt fine; he just emptied out. He only had the one work over the track. He just needs a confidence builder, I guess.”

NOTE: Shane Sellers won this race last year aboard Good and Lucky.


Race 9 – The $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes
3-year-olds and up, About 5 ½ furlongs on turf, 5th running

Jockey Tony Farina (Due Date, winner): “I know my horse perfectly. There was a lot of pace in the race. I take my time with him and that is what I did and he won.”

Trainer Steve Margolis (Due Date, winner): “Last time he had a bit of unlucky trip. He’s a five-and-a-half-furlong horse. Five-and-a-half to six is a good distance. I was glad to get Tony back. Coming into a 6-year-old, he is getting better. He is really thriving five turning six.”

Trainer Ronny Werner (Central City, fifth as favorite): Did blinkers off affect his performance today? “He was a little less aggressive without them, which is kind of what we were looking for. We thought that would be a plus, not a minus. He didn’t seem to have his usual. Once he fights those horses off he’ll keep fighting them off but today he put that one horse away but the next one came to him and he just didn’t dig as much.

“This is a different course down here. It plays different. Some horses like it and some don’t. It’s definitely a closer’s turf and I said that before. For whatever reason horses that come out of it love this course and that’s not his style so he might not ever run good here whether it’s blinkers, no blinkers, no bridle, put a halter on him…”

Could a hard race in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint have taken something out of him? “He’s had enough time to get over all that. He’s been working good, doing good. Everything’s good there. I think if anything the blinkers might have been a little something but more than that I’m wondering about this course for him, to be honest, if he’s ever going to like it.”

Do you still plan to point to the Feb. 19 Colonel Power Stakes here? “You don’t want to keep running across something you don’t like but the only way we’ll know that is to run him again across it. Then we’ll know for sure.”


Race 10 – The $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes
2-year-olds, six furlongs, 60th running

Jockey Jon Court (Archarcharch, winner): “I’ve been watching the races today and they’ve been coming off of the pace. As it turned out we were able to stay close and pounce. Jinks had him on his game.”

Trainer Jinks Fires (Archarcharch, winner): “I think people probably thought we were a little bit silly bringing a maiden down here to run against winners. But we’ve always been pretty high on this horse. All of his works have been above-average so we thought we had a nice colt. The owner turned down a lot of money for him because we did think so.”

What’s next? “We plan on going in the Smarty Jones (at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 17 for $100,000) first and hopefully if that works out well we’ll continue on.”

How do you feel about his prospects stretching out? “Real well. He’s bred to go that way – long – but he has enough natural speed that we thought sprinting would be good rather than, if we had to, going into the Smarty Jones at a mile.”

So when did you first think this might be a special colt? “First time we worked him.”

NOTE: Fires won this race in 2003 with Wildcat Shoes.

-FG-