Bob Baffert's takeaway after watching the final works from his contenders for the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) was succinct.
"Now we wait," the Hall of Fame trainer said Jan. 21 at Santa Anita Park, where Collected and West Coast put in their last timed drills in preparation for the $16 million race at Gulftstream Park Jan. 27.
Gary and Mary West's West Coast got the ball rolling during the 7:45 a.m. workout session at Santa Anita. The 4-year-old Flatter colt broke off about a length behind allowance winner Coils Gold, and quickly moved alongside his workmate. The pair stayed fairly even through much of the work, but West Coast pulled away from the sixteenth pole to the wire and hit the line about a length in front. West Coast continued to work a furlong past the wire and was timed in 1:00 flat for five furlongs under jockey Drayden Van Dyke. Coils Gold was given :47 4/5 for a half-mile.
"That was a good work for him," Baffert said of the two-time grade 1 winner, who finished third in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) last time out, behind Pegasus favorite Gun Runner and Collected. "He can get a little lazy, but that was good today. Look at him. He's a happy dude. His best work in a while."
Speedway Stable's Collected came out early in the 9 a.m. training session, and also worked in company outside of maiden stablemate Power Cat. The winner of last year's $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1), who also had Van Dyke in the irons, broke off about three or four lengths behind his workmate, and still had plenty of ground to make up at the top of the stretch, but easily breezed by in the final sixteenth to finish about two lengths ahead.
Collected was timed in :46 1/5 for a half-mile by the Santa Anita clockers, which was the fastest of 87 works at the distance Sunday. Power Cat was clocked in :47 1/5.
"Now I go to London (for the Longines World's Best Racehorse ceremony) and don't have to worry about anything until Thursday," Baffert said of his Pegasus contenders, who will ship to South Florida Jan. 24.
Also on the work tab—and also with Van Dyke in the saddle—was Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman's undefeated McKinzie. Right after he got off the track with Collected, Van Dyke hopped on the last-out Sham Stakes (G3) winner and early-season Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) prospect, and guided the Street Sense colt through an easy, half-mile breeze. Working in company with stablemate Downtowner, McKinzie covered a half-mile in :49 flat.