ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2016)—Breaking from the far outside going a flat mile in a field of eight 3-year-olds, heavily favored Collected pressed the early pace and took command leaving the furlong pole en route to a length and a quarter win in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes. Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, the Kentucky-bred colt by City Zip got the distance in 1:38 and picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points in the process.
A first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course Oct. 12, Collected came off a close second in the Grade III, one mile turf Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 29 and was thus trying the main track for the first time in the Sham, an important prep to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9.
“I was surprised everyone was gunning early,” said Baffert. “I knew the post was going to be tough on him. He really had to work a little extra hard on the outside like that…but he responded the way you want him to respond. He kept on digging away at it.
“I think this race will do him some good…He’s a very fast horse and there’s something about him in the mornings that really encouraged me that he’s going to be a runner.
Off at 3-2, Collected paid $5.00, $3.60 and $3.00.
“I was full of horse on the backstretch,” said Garcia. “I knew I never wanted to be in behind horses, I just wanted him to flow. Everybody decided to send (from the gate), so I took advantage of that. He was a little wide, but I took him back a little after the first turn and he let me do whatever I wanted. When I asked him, he took off.”
Owned by Peter Fluor’s Speedway Stable, LLC, Collected picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $111,200.
Baffert also saddled the runner-up, Let’s Meet in Rio, who was ridden by Kent Desormeaux and rallied from far back to for the place while surviving a stewards inquiry into a minor bumping incident at the top of the lane. Off at 5-1, he paid $5.00 and $4.00.
“He was just getting his motor running there at the sixteenth pole,” said Desormeaux. “I think he’ll relish more ground, and that’s encouraging.”
Ridden by Tyler Baze, Laoban rallied four-wide around the far turn and finished third, one length in front of Found Money. Off at 10-1, Laoban paid $6.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.29, 47.18, 1:11.92 and 1:24.56.
The second, third and fourth place finishers received four, two and one Kentucky Derby qualifying point(s).
Dressed in Hermes, who was the second choice on the original morning line at 7-2, was scratched earlier today due to a fever.
The Sham, run as Santa Anita’s sixth race, was the first of two graded stakes on a nine-race card. The Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes was slated as the eighth race.
MARTIN GARCIA, COLLECTED, WINNER: “I was full of horse on the backstretch. I knew I never wanted to be in behind horses, I just wanted him to flow. Everybody decided to send, so I took advantage of that. He was a little wide but I took him back a little after the first turn and he let me do whatever I wanted. When I asked him, he took off.”
KENT DESORMEAUX, LET’S MEET IN RIO, SECOND: “He was just getting his motor running there at the sixteenth pole. I think he’ll relish more ground, and that’s encouraging.”
(On the inquiry)
“It was incidental, but it was purely my fault. I think my angle for the pocket was too smart. I should have been further out to hit that hole. Most of the reason for that is I was suspecting something would happen a little further up, and it didn’t develop. I found myself having to make too much of a smart line to the right, and once I did finally find the outside, trying to get back straight, the momentum carried me and tipped the other horse on my outside. I might be in trouble, but I’m pretty sure the results wouldn’t have changed. It didn’t cause any loss of placing by any of the runners.”
BOB BAFFERT, COLLECTED, WINNER, AND LET’S MEET IN RIO, SECOND: “He really impressed me with his last couple works, so I was sort of excited to see what he could do, but you never know until they do it. I was hoping for a little easier trip, hoping to lone speed, but that didn’t work out. Everybody had the same instructions, but Martin did a great job. He stayed patient with him and still had something left at the end after all that, so that was pretty impressive.
“Let’s Meet in Rio looks like he’ll go longer. He was really coming late. It’s the time of year when you want to see something like that, so it’s exciting. He really had to work a little extra hard on the outside like that . . . but he responded the way you want him to respond. He kept on digging away at it.”
“I think this race will do him some good. I could tell in the paddock he looked a little heavy. He’s a very fast horse and there’s something about him in the mornings that really encouraged me that he’s going to be a runner.”
PETER FLUOR, COLLECTED, WINNER: “This is the first time I’ve been able to see him run, it was a special treat.
“I liked his conformation. I liked him, we went to look at him two times and then that was it; it’s not always that quick. So far, so good.
“He was on the outside all the way around and Martin moved him at the perfect time. This is his first race on dirt and he works beautifully over it (in the mornings.) His dad, City Zip was a terrific dirt horse so I was optimistic, optimistic with caution.
“Bob thought he might do better on grass. Bob called me after his first race, which was down the hillside turf and said ‘that’s the first time in all my years that I’ve won that race!’ I said, ‘I’m glad we could both break our maiden.’
“I’ll visit with Bob, we’ll talk over the next couple of weeks. I just wanted to win a race! So we’ll see.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Peter Fluor of Houston who races as Speedway Stable, LLC.
Source: Santa Anita Park