With heavily favored Dortmund heading a three-horse scramble for the lead, Bob Baffert's Collected sat a perfect trip under Martin Garcia and took command a quarter mile from home en route to a powerful 3 ¾ length victory in Saturday's $75,000 Santana Mile at Santa Anita. Idle since last year's Preakness Stakes on May 21, he got the mile in 1:36.76.
“Martin rode him with a lot of confidence,” said Baffert.“He saw what was happening, with those horses going really fast, and he just took back.That's why I took the blinkers off, because he's been working really well without them and he can get a little strong.
“He ran some really big races last year, so he was taking a big class jump here…The owners are very patient people and we thought this would be a good spot. It turned out well. There were some tough horses in there.”
Off as the 2-1 second choice in a field of six older horses, Collected paid $6.40, $3.40 and $3.00.Owned by Speedway Stable, LLC, he improved his overall record to 8-5-1-0 and with the winner's share of $46,800, he increased his earnings to $480,500.
“He felt really fresh today because he had some time off,” said Garcia. “He came today and won. Bob told me not to fall off.”
Ridden by Flavien Prat, California-bred Avanti Bello rallied for the place, finishing 4 ¾ lengths in front of longshot Clever Royal.Off at 5-1, Avanti Bello paid $4.20 and $3.00.
Off at 34-1 with Corey Nakatani, Clever Royal, who was three wide into the Club House turn while pressing Dortmund to his immediate inside and Magic Mark at the rail, finished third, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Dortmund.Off at 34-1, Clever Royal paid $6.20 to show.
A winner of the 2015 Santa Anita Derby when trained by Baffert and ridden by Garcia, Dortmund, who disappointed in his first start for trainer Art Sherman in the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) on March 11, got back to the main track today, but performed below expectations after stumbling leaving the starting gate at odds of 3-5.
“He felt great going to the gate,” said Espinoza.“When he stumbled, I put him into the race. Going into the first turn, I realized there were three of us going for it, and I thought about taking a hold of him, but he was already there. He never really got his stride today, all the way around there. I know he's better than this.”
Fractions on the race were 22.70, 46.10, 1:11.19 and 1:23.89.
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