Seemingly beaten with a furlong to go, Declassify battled back along the rail for a well-deserved win in the $300,000 Triple Bend S. (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita Park. The winner gave Bob Baffert his fourth win in the seven furlong race that was contested at Hollywood Park for its first 62 runnings.
The Triple Bend wound up being a back and forth battle between Declassify and Cyclometer. That pair went head-to-head the entire trip, with Declassify along the inside. Declassify had a narrow lead at the top of the lane, but Cyclometer came on to go up a half-length with a furlong to go. With Martin Garcia urging his mount on in deep stretch, Declassify dug in once again to outgame his foe on the wire, winning by a nose in 1:22.03 (VIDEO
“I thought I was beat at the top of the stretch, “said Garcia. “My horse was trying everything, every step of the way. He never gave up. (Cyclometer) moved into me a little bit in the stretch and my horse was intimidated. He responded again though. He’s such a good horse.”
Baffert praised the 4-year-old's effort as well. "We've been very high on this horse from day one, but we've had to bring him along slowly. I really like the way he dug in today."
The victory, worth $180,000 improved Declassify's earnings to $261,240. The Triple Bend marked Declassify's first stakes start, though he has shown that talent in nearly all of his previous races, earning triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in three of his first four outings.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, Declassify, by Orientate out of Mir Cat, comes from the same family as champion Pleasant Stage, as well as Grade 1 winners A Phenomenon and Seattle Meteor. Declassify was purchased by Hill 'n' Dale Bloodstock for $450,000 at the 2012 Ocala Breeders' Sales April 2-year-olds in training sale.