RAFAEL BEJARANO, CLENOR, 7-10 FAVORITE, WINNER: “The speed was holding all day, so I didn’t want to be too far back. I tried to stay closer to the speed and get her comfortable. She didn’t show me the big kick that she normally does but she still ran well. I think from here on it will only be better for me because there will be more speed and more competition (in the races to come).”
DOUG O’NEILL, CLENOR, WINNER: “She’s such a nice filly. Raffy (Bejarano) said he sensed speed was holding on well, so he didn’t want to give her too much to do. He had her a little bit closer up today and she responded well. We’re real excited about her.”
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies next? “Breeders’ Cup here we come, as long as she stays injury-free, that’s the goal.”
LEANDRO MORA, ASSISTANT TO O’NEILL: “She really hasn’t hit her stride yet. Bejarano has just been hand-riding her so far, so that makes us feel much, much better and full of confidence. I think she still has a lot in the tank.”
VANN BELVOIR, NESSO, SECOND: “We didn’t really know what to expect today. Last time she was on the lead so we were hoping that the speed horses would run away (from the gate) and she would be able to fold in. It worked out perfectly. I like how at the half-mile pole Martin punched her. I was almost worried he went a little early but he had to make a decision to get her over and get around them. He gave her a breather at the head of the lane and she tried to fight them off, so it was a big run. The Breeders’ Cup is definitely a consideration. The owner says he wants to go so we’ll talk.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Scott Kaplan of San Diego (Great Friends Stable), Robert Csepio of Chardon, Ohio, and Steve Keh of Glendale.