Arrogate conqueror Collected and Triple Crown hopeful Dabster are but two of the stakes stalwarts from Bob Baffert's star-studded stable set to compete at Santa Anita on its traditional Winter Meet opening day program next Tuesday, Dec. 26.
Collected, a four-year-old son of City Zip owned by Speedway Stable, LLC, led throughout the 1 ¼-mile Pacific Classic on Aug. 19, holding off Arrogate by a half-length.
With jockey Drayden Van Dyke aboard this morning, Collected, who will be ridden by Mike Smith on opening day, worked seven furlongs early Tuesday morning in 1:25.60.
“Very, very nice,” is how Van Dyke assessed the breeze. “He goes at such a high cruising speed, at the top of the lane it's like he re-breaks again and he's just starting to work. He's doing very well.”
Added Baffert: “He worked great. We're ready for opening day.”
Collected, second to likely Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 4, is one of four Baffert horses nominated to the Grade II, $300,000 San Antonio, which will be run for the first time in its 80-year history on opening day, and as such will serve as a key prep for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27.
Baffert also has Cat Burglar, Hoppertunity and Irish Freedom nominated to the San Antonio, a mile and 1 1/16 test for three-year-olds and up, which Baffert won in 2016 with Hoppertunity; twice with Game On Dude in 2012 and 2013; with Richard's Kid in 2010; and Congaree in 2003.
Hoppertunity also is expected to run under Flavien Prat, who rode the venerable six-year-old son of Any Given Saturday to victory in the 2016 edition, defeating stablemate Mor Spirit by a length under 125 pounds.
Baffert has Dabster set to make his stakes debut in the Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for three-year-olds at seven furlongs on opening day. A $1 million chestnut son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, Dabster crossed the wire first in all three of his starts but was disqualified from first and placed fourth in his debut race almost a year ago here, Dec. 26, 2016. Prat has the Malibu call on Dabster.
The Malibu and the La Brea–also on opening day–are two of the three remaining Grade I races on the 2017 calendar. The other is the American Oaks at Santa Anita Dec. 31.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report.