Zenyatta extended her unbeaten streak to 18 as she beat Rinterval by a head in the Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar.
MIKE SMITH (Zenyatta) — “Oh, she was looking good today. This was Zenyatta. I wanted everyone to see her and she showed up. I think I hit the front too soon with her. She started looking around. She does that sometimes in her works. She'll make the front and then start to shut down a little bit. That mare that hooked her today (Rinterval) was game. Good for her. But we got it done. She was Zenyatta. She's something to believe in.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Rinterval) — “I didn't want to be in front. But she was comfortable. She was going OK. I tried to wait, but she (Zenyatta) came up outside me and I had to go. If I could have waited a little more, maybe it would have been different. But the winner deserved it. She was good.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA (Princess Taylor) — “No problems for me. Well, just one. That big one.”
PATRICK VALENZUELA (Spring Style) — “I followed Zenyatta all the way around there. I moved with her on the turn and she left me. Game over. But my filly ran hard and ran good.”
DAVID FLORES (Dance to My Tune) — “Good trip. Good try.”
OMAR BERRIO (Made for Magic) — “She broke bad on me and then I was in trouble. I could't get to the front and that's where I wanted to be.”
JOHN SHIRREFFS (Zenyatta) — “I'm glad it turned out well. I've seen her run 18 times and I've seen her make that same kind of big kick.”
ERIC REED (Rinterval) — “It was a great day for me and my horse and a great day for the champ.”
PATRICK GALLAGHER (Princess Taylor) — “It was good to see Zenyatta win and we're thrilled to be third.”
The stakes win was the first of the meet for Mike Smith, but his third straight in the Clement L. Hirsch and his fifth overall in the stakes. He now has 29 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for John Shirreffs, but his third straight in the Clement L. Hirsch and his fourth overall in the stakes. He now has 13 stakes wins at Del Mar.
Zenyatta becomes the first horse to win the Grade I Hirsch three times. She also joins a handful of other horses — specifically, Native Diver, Flawlessly and Track Gal — to win a single stakes at Del Mar three times.
(MORE QUOTES- FROM POST-RACE NEWS CONFERENCE)
Jockey Mike Smith — “She broke good. I thought she might want to go to the front.”
“She got in her rhythm and she was going good. At the half-mile pole I knew she'd run her race.”
“I got after her a little bit late. When the other mare (Rinterval) came to us, my mare got back to work.”
“She'll run on all surfaces. She runs on dirt. She runs on the synthetics. She ran really well on the one at Santa Anita. She changes leads all on her own. Her mechanics are so good, she can run on anything. I think you could put her on grass and she'd run great.”
“If we can pull two more (wins) off, to me she might go down as the greatest horse of all time.”
Trainer John Shirreffs — “She came out of the gate well, got good position and fired the last part. I always like to see her settle into her stride. Then as she gets into that rhythm you know things are working right.”
About playing after making the lead: “She always does that. When she passes the last horse she thinks it's over. I was surprised that the pace was so slow.”
About concerns about the track the morning of the race: “I talked to Joe [Harper] and [director of racing] Tom Robbins in the racing office in the morning and they told me it was going to be taken care of. After the renovation, the track was fine.”
Owner Jerome Moss — “There was a lot of pressure this week, but she's a great horse and we're grateful for that. We want her to keep winning. She's just a miracle.”
How gratifying is it to see the fans come out to see her? “She's a great star. She's brilliant and she has a great bunch of fans that recognize that. She hasn't let them down yet.
“Zenyatta represents the best there is in racing. She's a great leader to follow.”
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