COREY NAKATANI, UNUSUAL SUSPECT, Winner: “He broke really well and I was in a pretty good position. They were going slow, so I just let him do his own thing. What more can I say? Barry’s (trainer Abrams) team put him together and put him in the right spot for me and made me look good. At the top of the stretch I tried to separate myself a little bit. The horse just inside me (Temple City) was keeping my horse interested. I didn’t want to blow by him but wanted him to stay there to keep my momentum carried. At the very end when I called on him, he kind of gave me that surge that I thought he would and we were able to get there.”
JOE TALAMO, TEMPLE CITY, Second: “He really ran his race, he just got outsprinted to the wire. He’s kind of an even-paced horse, stays :12 and change all the way. I even tried kicking away but he just stays in that big, long gallop. He got right to the lead and relaxed. I talked to (trainer) Carla (Gaines) this morning and she kind of left it up to me. I was sure Marlang would be in front, but it’s just one of those things. I outbroke him and just went on with it. He kept right on to the end, but it was just a bad beat.”
PAT VALENZUELA, TREAT GENTLY, Fourth: “She had every opportunity to run by them in the stretch. I was third around the turn and she just flattened out more than anything. I followed the winner the whole way and I thought if she had anything in the stretch she would blow by them.”
BARRY ABRAMS, UNUSUAL SUSPECT, Winner: “We’ll give him some time off and see how he comes out of the race, then think about sending him to Australia in a couple of months. This horse deserves to be a stallion. He’s a great horse. He’s the only horse in California to have won at every major track. He won the 6-furlong Turf Express, the Cal Cup Mile, the Cougar II going a mile and a half on synthetic, he’s beaten Richard’s Kid twice and now he’s won a Grade 1 race. He’s got a fabulous family and he deserves to be a stallion. But in this country, distance horses aren’t popular stallions. So my thinking, if I send him to Australia, I can race him there a year and then retire him to stud. Plus he’s out of a good New Zealand mare and a good New Zealand family. He’s the only dirt horse in captivity that ran on the dirt track at Del Mar.”
Notes: Unusual Suspect’s win put him over $1 million in career earnings. His bankroll is $1,035,171…The 6-year-old is the second California bred to win the Turf Cup, joining Prince Spellbound, who won the second division of the race in 1982…The victory was the third in the Turf Cup for Nakatani. He had won previously with Itsallgreektome (1990) and Lazy Lode (1998).
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