He wasn't alone in his excitement. The victory gave jockey Victor Espinoza his first Breeders' victory since American Pharoah's Breeders' Cup Classic win in 2015. And for trainer Michael McCarthy her win punctuated a memorable 2021 that included a Preakness Stakes victory from Rombauer.
Flanked by Espinoza and McCarthy in a post-race press conference, Hirsch showered them with praise.
"This guy over here," turning to 49-year-old Espinoza, "is like a fine wine. He just improves with age," Hirsch said. "And I love him. He's the best.
"And this guy over here," he added, turning to McCarthy, "(has) done such a wonderful job with Ce Ce getting her to just continue to improve, and he knows when to lay her up for a period of time and when to come back, and he just did a remarkable job. And if you can find a trainer out there that works harder than he does, I promise that person is on a day that's longer than 24 hours."
As for Ce Ce, the chestnut mare shined Saturday in her 16th start, just as she on so many other occasions, such as when she won two Grade 1 races in 2020. Fourth or five early, she swooped in action late on the turn, reeling in the leaders before midstretch and motoring away for a 2 ½-length victory.
Ce Ce, the third betting choice at 6.20-1 odds, stopped the clock with a final time of 1:21 for seven furlongs.
Gamine, the reigning champion female sprinter finished three-quarters of a length behind Edgeway and lost a one-turn race for the first time in nine such starts. She was hampered by pace pressure, jockey John Velazquez said.
"When you go that fast early, it's hard to keep up the whole way around when you are pressed all the time," he said. "At the quarter pole, I thought she was going to have it, but as soon as I moved my hands and she didn't respond the way I thought, I knew I was in trouble."