(Express Train / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
VICTOR ESPINOZA, EXPRESS TRAIN, WINNER: “I didn’t want to force him too hard to go outside because I didn’t want him to lose his stride. The way he has been playing, I didn’t want to discourage him during the race. It was really tight and I think I got out just in time. I was able to follow and move with Hot Rod Charlie. This horse takes a little bit of time at the turn, so I had to start pedaling to start following the other horses. Turning for home and squeezing for the lead is when he really accelerated. At that point I knew my only shot was to calculate him to win right at the wire. Sometimes things go the way we calculate turning for home, and sometimes they don’t. Today it worked out and we got it right at the wire.”
FLAVIEN PRAT, HOT ROD CHARLIE, SECOND: “It was a good race. I had to keep him in the race because he wasn’t traveling super well. He wasn’t traveling the way he usually does. I was really pleased with my position, and he made a good move around the quarter pole, but he just couldn’t get there in the end.”
DOUG O’NEILL, HOT ROD CHARLIE, SECOND: “We got beat a bob. He ran great. He’s fine. We are very optimistic about the next year with him. I’m proud of him and the connections. He ran a great race.”
LEE AND SUSAN SEARING (C R K STABLES), EXPRESS TRAIN, WINNER: “I kind of thought that he won, but the big move was Victor did a great job of getting him out at exactly the right time. He was ready for Hot Rod Charlie to go a little quicker, but he got him out one second at the right time. The horse was going to finish in a great race, this was a great race.
“His last two races he did not break well, Victor did a great job because everyone wanted to get in there early and he was just down on the inside. It showed he could eat some dirt today. He’s a really good horse when he is a stalker and gets to the outside. Today finally he got it at the end there. This is a nice horse, a really nice horse.”
NOTES: Express Train is trained by John Shirreffs. The winning owner is C R K Stable LLC.