Front-running King Robyn and jockey Alex Solis held on desperately in the stretch to defeat Truckle Feature and Eye of the Tiger by a half-length in Saturday's $80,700 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
Sent off at 5-2 in the six-horse field, a Florida-bred bay gelding by Robyn Dancer completed the 6 1/2-furlong San Pedro in 1:15 1/5 on a fast track. Rojo Toro, the 11-10 favorite, finished fifth.
Trainer Jeff Mullins took blinkers off of Robyn Dancer, who set rapid fractions of :21 1/5, :43 2/5 and 1:08 2/5 anyway en route to victory. He was all-out to hold on after taking a two-length lead in the stretch over fading Rojo Toro.
He won for the second time in three starts as a 3-year-old, finishing second to Buddy Gil in the Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the downhill turf course in his last race on Feb. 23.
"I knew this was a good horse and it made him look even better when Buddy Gil won (the March 16 San Felipe)," Solis said. "(King Robyn) ran perfect and finished perfect. It was an easy ride."
Trainer Bob Baffert, who conditioned the runner-up Truckle Feature, fourth-place finisher Indian Express and Rojo Toro, noted, "They all ran good. Rojo Toro ran hard last time. He probably bounced. He ran too hard (winning the San Rafael).
"I wanted to slow him down and I think I succeeded."
Mullins is due to leave for Dubai where he saddles Captain Squire in the Golden Shaheen and Lusty Latin in the Godolphin Mile next Saturday (March 29). Mullins is scheduled to return on March 30. Mullins is 23 for 71 at the Santa Anita meet.
King Robyn picked up $48,420 for his owners, Cornejo Racing Inc., with his fifth victory overall in 11 starts. He increased his earnings to $159,250 with his first stakes triumph.
The winner paid $7, $4 and $4.60. Truckle Feature returned $10.40 and $8.20. Eye of the Tiger's show price was $4.60.