EDWIN MALDONADO, DISTINCTIV PASSION, WINNER: “It’s not always easy getting him to relax. Now that he is starting to relax I don’t think stretching out to seven (furlongs) should be any problem. He has gone 1:08 (final time today was 1:08.50) in his last two races so we know he has speed.”

(In response to where he might be pointed next. He is SA Derby-nominated): “I’m not sure. That is up to Jeff (Bonde and connections) to figure out.”


JEFF BONDE, DISTINCTIV PASSION, 4-5 FAVORITE, WINNER: “He tries really hard every time. He never gave a dishonest effort yet. He trains hard and he runs the same way.

“When he got the break (from August to late November), he turned into a more mature horse, and as Edwin (Maldonado) said today, ‘Boy, this horse is really learning how to relax,’ where before, he wanted to just cut and run.

“Even though these fractions are real fast, he’s learning how to not fight the bridle and cut and run. He’s becoming a more patient horse. Our next hope is the San Vicente which is a seven furlong race (Feb. 17). That will be our next chair up the ladder. But he showed no signs of quit. How far he’s going to run right now is interesting to the world, but for us, he’s a lot of fun.”