Speedway Stables' Collected sprinted to the lead out of the gate and repelled fellow shipper Gettysburg to win the $415,000 Sunland Festival of Racing Stakes by two lengths on Sunday. The race was carded for sophomores as a replacement for the Sunland Park Derby, though no Kentucky Derby points were offered this year. The City Zip colt covered the 1 1/8 miles over the fast main track in 1:48.90 for trainer Bob Baffert.
Striking out for the lead in the 11-horse field, Martin Garcia and Collected broke near the center of the gate so had to be very quick to clear the field. Gettysburg, the Todd Pletcher trainee, broke from the far outside post but managed to make his way into a clear second before the first turn. Javier Castellano tucked Gettysburg in behind Collected to stalk the early pace of :23.55 and :47.66. Meanwhile, local horse Concord Fast made a middle move up into third as the leading triumvirate skipped away from the rest of the field by nearly five lengths.
Entering the final turn, Gettysburg was hard-ridden to move into position to challenge Collected on the outside, but was unable to pass the colt. Garcia flicked the reins at Collected and he galloped strongly to the wire, winning by two lengths. Gettysburg hung on for second, and it was another seven lengths back to Concord Fast in third.
Bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm and Peter Callahan, Collected was initially a $150,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and was pinhooked by SGV Thoroughbreds through the Ocala Breeders' Sales 2-Year-Old in Training Sale, where he hammered for $17,000. The dual graded stakes winner hold 10 points on the Kentucky Derby trail from his victory in the Sham Stakes in January, but was unable to do better than fourth in the Southwest Stakes (earning another point). The colt's record now stands at three wins from five starts, with earnings of over $385,000.
A post-race interview with Collected's owner Peter Fluor indicated that the team would wait to see how the colt exited the race before deciding on any further Triple Crown prep races. Flour did suggest that the classic distance might not be best suited to his colt, but that he would discuss the matter with trainer Baffert before pressing farther.
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