Bob Baffert's multiple graded stakes winner Collected made his first start since last year's Preakness S. (G1) in Saturday's $83,000 Santana Mile S. at Santa Anita Park and came away a 3 3/4-length winner over a solid field that included former stablemate and two-time Grade 1 winner Dortmund.
Winner of the Sham S. (G3) and Lexington S. (G3) last year, Collected had been working regularly since late January for his return to the races and was racing for the first time without blinkers. When Dortmund and another pair of foes went for the lead, Martin Garcia took Collected off the speed duel to sit in fourth. Midway on the far turn, Collected accelerated swiftly and swooped four wide around the leaders to go to the front with a quarter-mile to run.
The only thing left to determine from that point was the winning margin and final time – 1:36.76 for the mile. His 100 Beyer Speed Figure was his first triple-digit number in his career.
“He ran some really big races last year. So he was taking a big class jump here but he’s been training really well and he’s fresh,” said Baffert. “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.
“I give a lot of credit to my team, to Martin. My riders make me look good.”
Collected is now 5-1-0 in eight starts and has earned $480,500 for Peter Flour’s Speedway Stable LLC.