(Idol wins the Santa Anita Handicap / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
JOEL ROSARIO, IDOL, WINNER: “My horse loves this distance. I just wanted to keep him away from the rail and he handled it easily. He responded when it came time to run and he had some kick. I appreciate the opportunity Richard Baltas gave me for this ride. I had never been on him. I watched all his races and I could see he tries hard every time. What a strong finish today! He ran really big.”
RICHARD BALTAS, IDOL, WINNER: “I know he was running really hard around the turn, he was wide, he was far back but Joel said he didn’t want any of the kick back in his face, so we took the wide route. He’s got a big lovely long stride so that’s why we were thinking a mile and a quarter for sure. We needed all of Joel Rosario’s power in the stretch to get him home. It was a great win, it’s a race you dream about winning.
“It’s unbelievable, I’ve been coming here since I was 13 years old. Before I even got to be a horse trainer, I saw all the greats run here in the Big ‘Cap and you never think that you’re gonna be here but you keep working hard and God blessed you.
“Calvin (Nguyen) came and claimed a horse from me named Freedom Crest, it was our first horse. I’ve had several different jobs back and forth, Calvin’s always been a loyal guy and he wanted to come back. This was a blessing for both of us. Loyalty means a lot.”
CALVIN NGUYEN, IDOL, WINNER: “It’s been a wild ride. Ritchie’s put together a great team and I’m just very fortunate to be a part of it. He’s just a great guy, I’ve known him for so long. He works hard, he’s a horse lover, he’s here every day.
“You can’t dream about this, we are just very fortunate and you enjoy it while you can.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Calvin Nguyen.