VICTOR ESPINOZA, STAR BILLING, Winner: “She runs pretty well at any track…except Keeneland. When I rode her last time there she didn’t handle the track at all. I knew you could just forget about that race. She was really unbelievable today. On the first turn, everybody started moving out, so I cut the corner without having to jerk her around or do too much with her. By the three-eighths pole I was following Summer Soiree. The jockey on Summer Soiree switched the whip to his left hand and I thought he might drift out, and that was my chance. When I got alongside the other horse, my filly got a little intimidated, but I hit her left-handed one time and she just took off. It worked out perfectly.”
GABRIEL SAEZ, SUMMER SOIREE, Second: “I got her to settle real well. The last eighth of a mile (Star Billing) kind of snuck through. I tried to open up a little bit on the turn, but these are good horses. She was trying to come back on. She galloped out very strongly.”
JOHN SHIRREFFS, STAR BILLING, Winner: “She’s run really well on this course. The track was a little soft, a little loose for her at Keeneland (when she finished sixth in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Oct. 15). She didn’t handle it very well. She hasn’t had things go her way a few times, but she’s obviously a really nice filly. I’ll have to talk to (owner) George (Krikorian) about where she’ll go next.”
H. GRAHAM MOTION, SUMMER SOIREE (2ND), UNBRIDLED HOPE (4TH), GYPSY’S WARNING (5TH): “The winner was the same filly who almost got us (Summer Soiree) in the Del Mar Oaks. But she ran a huge race. Actually all three ran their race. Gypsy’s Warning just came a little too late and Unbridled Humor was right where (jockey) Ramon (Dominguez) wanted to be. I think a mile might be Summer Soiree’s best distance because you don’t have to finesse her as much. They are all going to leave Sunday with (Hollywood Turf Cup winner) Sanagas. Summer Soiree will get a little break now. Unbridled Humor could run back in the Florida Millions (in January at Gulfstream Park) and Gypsy’s Warning more than likely will be bred.”
Notes: The win was the first in the Matriarch for Espinoza, Krikorian and Shirreffs….Star Billing is the sixth 3-year-old to win the race, joining Price Tag (2006), Dress to Thrill (2002), Ryafan (1997), Flawlessly (1991) and Castilla (1982-second division)…The Grade I was the first at Hollywood Park for Espinoza since he won the 2009 Hollywood Derby with The Usual Q.T.
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