Horse Racing

Collected holds off Arrogate in US$1 million Pacific Classic

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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DEL MAR, California (AP) — Bob Baffert was nervous. The Hall of Fame trainer knew Arrogate needed to show some kind of run after the colt's stunning fourth-place finish a month ago at Del Mar.

Watching Arrogate stuck in third most of the way around in the US$1-million Pacific Classic on Saturday, Baffert said, “It looked like it was going to be another flop.”

Not quite.

But the richest thoroughbred in the history of racing still lost his second-straight race.

Collected beat 3-5 favourite Arrogate by a half-length, giving Baffert a 1-2 finish in the Grade 1 race.

“If you asked for a dream trip, it's that Collected wins and Arrogate shows up,” said Peter Fluor, co-owner of Collected. “As I told Bob before the race, 'I hope you run 1-2, but I have a preference.'”

Baffert earned his fifth Pacific Classic victory, one behind the late Bobby Frankel.

He watched the race on the big video board in the paddock rather than in the stands, and stared at the screen with arms folded when Arrogate came up short yet again.

“He ran a good race, but we expect to see something else,” Baffert said. “I feel like my older son got beat by my younger son.”

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Collected ran 1 1/4 miles for the first time in 2:00.70 at the seaside track north of San Diego.

The four-year-old chestnut colt held off the late rush of Arrogate, who was trying to bounce back after losing by 15 1/4 lengths in the San Diego Handicap. That defeat snapped Arrogate's seven-race winning streak.

“It was just a mistake to run him in the San Diego,” Baffert said. “I was so eager, like everybody else, to watch him run again.”

He has seven wins in 10 career starts, and earnings of over US$17 million. He's won at Saratoga, Santa Anita, Gulfstream and in Dubai.

He just hasn't figured out Del Mar.

“It just ain't his favourite right now,” Smith said, “but that doesn't mean we can't make a few changes and see what happens”.

Arrogate's loss brought back memories for Baffert.

“This race was a lot like American Pharoah's Saratoga race,” he said of his Triple Crown champion who was later upset in the 2015 Travers. “He dug in, ran hard, and he just got beat by a nice horse.”

Accelerate, who beat Arrogate by 15 1/4 lengths in the San Diego, was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third.

Collected led all the way, while Accelerate chased him in second and Arrogate stalked them both in the third spot.

In the stretch, Garcia said, “I could feel a big animal coming behind me. It's like when you are in a little car and you feel a big car; the noise is coming.”

In the closing strides, Arrogate rallied with Smith, furiously working his whip on both sides.

“Better than the last one, but it's not good enough,” Smith said. “He's not running his 'A' race. I'm not even sure he's running his 'B' race, to be honest with you. And he's still only getting beat a little bit.”

That gives Baffert hope for the world championships.

“That last eighth of a mile, he was just throwing it down there; he was trying to get there badly,” Baffert said. “I can make some little changes with him. I know what needs to be done as long as he stays healthy.”

Collected earned an automatic berth in the US$6-million Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4, a race Arrogate won last year.

“As long as he's healthy, I have a lot more confidence coming in here for the Breeders' Cup,” Baffert said of Arrogate. “I think he can come back.”

Collected became the first four-year-old to win since Richard's Kid in 2009. The colt is 4-0 this year.

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