JOCKEY QUOTES

MIKE SMITH, MIZDIRECTION, WINNER: “If anything good came out of it, she rated really well (Referring to a bumping incident at the break). I don’t know if it was because of that or she was just going to rate well. She’s a much more mature horse this year. She’s stronger, she’s bigger, and she’ll definitely get a mile. I thought if a horse was going to come to her she would have dug back in so now at least we have options. There’s not too many six or six and a halves but we can kind of pick our spots. I don’t know how much further we want to go than this, but she can certainly get a mile.”

(When asked if he knew if Gary Stevens, aboard In the Stars, had his hands full, as it seemed his mount was pretty rank with him early on)
“That filly tends to get a little strong at times. But I knew ol’ golden hands would get her to relax. I knew he was loaded behind me but to be honest when we headed for home and my mare got over to her right lead and I asked her to run, she jumped into the bridle. It was like we started out of the gate again. She came home the last quarter in twenty-two and change and not too many do that. It’s great; yesterday I got to ride Royal Delta and win on my Breeders’ Cup horse, and today I got to do the same, so it’s pretty cool.”

GARY STEVENS, IN THE STARS, SECOND: (It looked like you had a ton of horse today) “Yeah, I did. Coming into the stretch I was wanting to get out and the way it turned out it didn’t matter much anyway. Once I found room and got out, she (Mizdirection) just sprinted away from me. I would have liked it better if I could have been parked on the outside and engaged Mizdirection from, like, the three-furlong pole but it turned into a sprint and Mizdirection has a hell of a turn of foot and flew away from me. Another day, another time.”

TRAINER QUOTES

MIKE PUYPE, MIZDIRECTION, WINNER: “I felt OK with her on the lead. She was very good, nice and relaxed and very professional. We’ve got a lot of options right now.”

Asked about Mizdirection grabbing a quarter at the start of the race:
“Mike (Smith) said he kind of got her to settle, and grabbed a pretty good-sized quarter off that foot, too, so we’re going to have to go to work on that after the race. It’s a testament to how tough she is. She was training beautiful going into this race. I thought she was actually as good if not better than (before) the Breeders’ Cup, the way she was training for this.

“She’s just a pleasure to have. She makes me look good. We have a lot of options as to what we’re going to consider at this point. She shows up. How do you not look at her record and see 11 starts on turf, eight wins, three seconds, never missed the board in a start. She’s the ultimate professional. Let me tell you something: the filly chasing her is a good horse. I thought In the Stars was the horse to beat today. She came after her (Mizdirection) like she was going to make it a race, and Mike looked like he had a lot of horse. I’m very pleased.”

RICHARD MANDELLA, IN THE STARS, SECOND: “Very good (race). The other mare (Mizdirection) was just very good. She won a Breeders’ Cup. You can’t complain.”

JIM ROME, PART OWNER, MIZDIRECTION, WINNER: “It’s very exciting, but you never know until she does it. She looked pretty good, and with the fraction of 23 and four, I thought that’s a good place for her to be.

“She likes to play, that’s a great way to put it. She’s so competitive. The way she dug in through the stretch was awesome. She’s amazing.”

BILL STRAUSS, PART OWNER OF MIZDIRECTION: When asked if “the folks” could eat free tonight at his restaurant, The Pamplemousse, in Solana Beach: “Dinner’s on me tonight!! Just tell my brother (Jeffrey, co-owner) to blame it on me.”

NOTES: The winning owners are Jim Rome, who races as Jungle Racing LLC; William Strauss, Daniel Grohs, Kevin Nish, Michael Kramek and Boris Beljak.

Rome will be on HRTV’s “Across the Board” on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 5 p.m. with hosts Peter Lurie and Becky Witzman.