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ARCADIA, CA — Bob Baffert provided more irrefutable evidence that his stable is perhaps deeper and stronger than ever when his rapidly-improving 4-year-old Collected took command 1/4 mile from home en route to a scintillating 14-length romp in Santa Anita’s Grade 3, $100,000 Precisionist Stakes.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, he’s now unbeaten in three starts this year, going 1 1/16 miles under a hand ride in 1:41.52.
“We were going to run him in the Gold Cup, but he just wasn’t working as well as I would have wanted for that,” said Baffert, whose stable ranked second in 2017 North American earnings coming into the weekend with $12.5 million, compared to Todd Pletcher’s $13.1 million. “This middle distance is more his thing, and I can see he reacts better. As long as I keep him like this, he’s going to be really tough to beat.”
Owned by Speedway Stable, LLC, the Kentucky-bred chestnut colt by City Zip was fresh off a 3 3/4 length win here in the Grade 2 Californian at 1 1/8 mile. Collected, who sat second prior to pouncing on pacesetter Donworth approaching the 1/4 pole, registered his fourth graded stakes win and is now 10-7-1-0 overall. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he now has earnings of $660,500.
“He’s very special,” said Garcia, who has ridden Collected in eight out of his 10 starts, including six of his seven wins. “He can be on the lead or off of it. I let him be where he wanted to be today. I think the older he gets, the calmer he is. He doesn’t have to be on the lead, I can take him back.
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“I think he can go a mile and a 1/4, but I don’t think that guy (motioning to Baffert) wants me to because he might beat Arrogate!”
Baffert’s Cat Burglar, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano, rallied three furlongs from home and completed the exacta. Another 1 3/4 lengths back, Accelerate beat Donworth by a neck for the show. Kane completed the order of finish.
Collected returned $3.20, $2.60, and $2.10. Cat Burglar brought back $4.80 and $2.40, while Accelerate paid $2.10 to show.
Jockey Martin Garcia, Collected: “You can see that I was pretty comfortable and he just kicked on. I knew Accelerate would be closing, so I looked back to see if he was there, but only the last 1/16. I was just waiting. I had a lot of horse at the end.”
Trainer Bob Baffert, Collected: “I’ve always thought that when I get him to Del Mar I might try him on the turf. He was bred for it. We’ll get him down there and work him and see.”
“This middle distance is his thing. I tried to do a little bit more with him this year, and with some horses, you can just tell the difference in them. We ran him in the Preakness last year, I thought he’d run well there, but I think he’s just matured since then. That time off we gave him really helped. Just like with Mor Spirit. You give them time off and you get all that Derby nonsense out of the way. You back off them and start all over, and you have a nice horse. That’s why I have these nice older horses.”
Santa Anita Park
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