(California Angel — with trainer George Leonard III and rider Rafael Bejarano — after winning the G2 Jessamine at Keeneland on Wednesday / All Photos by Coady Photography)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

George Leonard III (winning trainer of California Angel)

“I thought I had a special filly from the beginning, but I never dreamed of being here (in the trophy presentation on the Keeneland turf course) and winning this. After she won (her Sept. 8 debut at Kentucky Downs), I heard all this talk and we decided to try this. It’s just been a dream come true. Everything’s worked well, got an excellent rider in (Rafael Bejarano). He gets along with her good. She made a perfect run. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

On whether he knew he had this kind of filly

“Yes I did. I thought she could win with a little luck, honestly. We’re looking forward to California (and the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1 on Nov. 5 at Del Mar.)”

Rafael Bejarano (winning jockey)

“She had a good turn of foot today. I just wanted to keep her out of trouble. (Down the stretch) I could have gone inside, but when I saw it was kind of tight I wanted to get her clear and let her run. I know she was going to come running at the end. She did. She proved it today.”

Mike Smith (rider of runner-up Diamond Wow)

“The winner came from the two (post) and I came from the 13 post, and it hurt us distance-wise because I’d have to say I lost at least 2 lengths. Both turns I couldn’t really get in, but she ran dynamite. I saw her (California Angel) coming, but there wasn’t really a whole lot I could do about it.”

 

Andie Biancone (assistant to her father, Patrick Biancone, trainer of Diamond Wow)

 

“Probably if she was an inch taller she might have won. The 13 post position definitely impacted her performance today, but we are absolutely thrilled. She ran her heart out.

“She is a pleasure to work with every day. To be with her since she was a foal and to have her come here and finish second is amazing. I can’t even wrap my head around it.”

On going to the Breeders’ Cup

“We’ll see how she comes out of this race. We know she is up to par with this caliber.”