Conveyance, sent off as the 3-10 choice in a field of five, turned back a bid from Cardiff Giant in upper stretch and went on to post a 1 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) Jan. 16 at Santa Anita Park.
Purchased privately by Zabeel Racing International earlier in the week, Conveyance is one of a several talented 3-year-olds in the barn of Bob Baffert. The son of Indian Charlie, out of the Holy Bull mare Emptythetill, entered the San Rafael undefeated in two starts. He won an allowance contest at Hollywood Park by seven lengths in November to close out his 2-year-old season. This was his first time racing beyond six furlongs.
A wire-to-wire winner in his first two starts, Conveyance flashed that same early speed in the one-mile San Rafael, breaking from post 3 and firing out to a lead under Garrett Gomez. The gray/roan colt reached the first quarter mile in :24.45, with Via Verde second and Cardiff Giant in third.
Conveyance still had a clear lead after a half-mile in :48.56, but Cardiff Giant came up to challenge him as they approached the quarter-pole. They were noses apart turning for home, but Conveyance was asked for more by Gomez in upper stretch and began to inch away. Though a bit green while lugging out inside the sixteenth-pole, Conveyance was much the best under strong handling.
The final time on the Pro-Ride surface was 1:36.45. Cardiff Giant held on for second under Victor Espinoza, three quarters of a length in front of Domonation.
"Speed really hasn’t been doing too well on this track, so I was hoping I didn’t get too much pressure early," Gomez said. "I came off the fence going down the backside, and I decided to leave it open going to the far turn because I didn’t want my horse to be down on top of the fence with another horse pressing me. He got a little tired the last sixteenth, and he switched back to his left lead. This race was a good learning curve for him.”
Bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms, Conveyance was a $240,000 auction yearling. He raced in his first two starts for Thoroughbred Legends Racing.
The winner paid $2.60, $2.20, and $2.10. The exacta (3-1) returned $7.10 for $1, and the trifecta (3-1-2) was $16.
"They went slow today and this horse wants to roll up front," Baffert said. "The track was a concern for Garrett and me. Later in the day, it’s much faster. He did get a little tired today, but I didn’t get a chance to work him a mile. I thought he was good enough to win this without working him too far and he was. It was a nice effort, and he wasn’t blowing that hard when he came back.”