(Midcourt is all alone at the end of the San Pasqual Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
VICTOR ESPINOZA, MIDCOURT, WINNER: “With him you never know how he is gonna perform coming out of the gate. He could go either way. Today he wanted to run,he broke not very quick, but when I encouraged him to go he wanted to do his own thing. I wasn’t going to take him out of his race so I just let him run and cruise around.
“When I took the lead and was able to open up one or two lengths that was the key for him. We were in a good spot and in great shape all the way around, to be able to control the race that was enough for him. I started celebrating but I didn’t want to be too excited so early because its horse racing anything can happen but we got the job done. He’s a really talented horse in his own way. I have confidence in him because John Shirreffs has done an amazing job with him and it makes my job much easier to know that John is going to have him ready to go into the race.”
JOHN SHIRREFFS, MIDCOURT, WINNER: “Victor wasn’t sure if he was going to go to the lead or sit off the pace, but the horse put himself in the race and if he wanted to run that way, he didn’t want to take him out of it. Yes, it is gratifying to see him make the lead, relax and finish like he did. He’s been a project, but a good project. We’ll stay home and run in the Santa Anita Handicap (Grade I, 1 ¼ miles on March 7).”
LEE SEARING, OWNER, MIDCOURT, WINNER: “We bought this horse and you don’t anticipate that he’s not gonna want to train. Yes, we gelded him but at the same time, John, Victor and the grooms have done a marvelous job. If you can go back to the barn and you see what exactly John has done and how he has treated him. The little quirks and things that make him different it is no wonder the horses continue to improve.
“He’s got that big stride and he may run with his head up and you would like it down a little further, but it doesn’t matter with this horse. This horse really wants to run, he wants to fool around at the barn, I mean he’s a real goofball, but he just wants to run now. This horse can turn out to be a star.”
(On the Santa Anita Handicap): “I’ve only started one horse in my life in the Santa Anita Handicap and the horse was a long shot. Whether the one time we ran in the Kentucky Derby or the times we ran in the Breeder’s Cup, Santa Anita Handicap would be really fun. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s fun to buy these horses and see, you know some of them don’t come along, but this one looks like we are moving right along.”
NOTES: The winning owner is C R K Stable LC.