Bob Baffert trains Collected, as well as second-place finisher Let's Meet in Rio, who rallied from last in the eight-horse field. Laoban finished third and Found Money, a two-time stakes winner, came in fourth in the one-mile Sham.
Collected, by City Zip out of the Johannesburg mare Helena Bay, was purchased for $170,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training. In his career debut Oct. 12, Collected won a maiden special weight event on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita, and followed up with a solid second in the Nov. 29 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (gr. IIIT) won by Dressed in Hermes, who was scratched from the Sham.
"The way he was working in the morning, we thought we'd try him on dirt," Baffert said. "I wasn't convinced he was a turf horse. He had to dig down in this race and show some guts. Now that we know he is a dirt horse and can go two turns, there are different spots out there (for his next race)."
Collected, off as the 3-2 favorite, engaged in a four-way speed competition widest of all entering the first turn, but was settled into fourth by jockey Martin Garcia in the backstretch as 24-1 longshot Semper Fortis pulled ahead to set fractions of :23.29 and :47.18 through a half-mile, with I'malreadythere and Found Money tracking.
The leader was swallowed up before the field passed six furlongs in 1:11.92, and it was Collected who emerged with the lead from the outside and gradually pulled away in the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:38 on a fast track.
Let's Meet in Rio, who passed all but one runner late, had to survive a stewards' inquiry under Kent Desormeaux for possible interference entering the stretch, but no change was made. Baffert said he was impressed with the effort by the Flatter colt, who broke his maiden going one mile at Los Alamitos Race Course in his third start.
Collected, bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm, paid $5, $3.60, and $3 across the board.