Collected much the best in Lexington

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April 16th, 2016

Collected dismissed pacesetter One More Round in upper stretch of Saturday’s $150,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, drawing away to score by four lengths and setting himself up for a probable Preakness (G1) bid at Pimlico on May 21. The Bob Baffert-trained colt earned 10 points for winning the Kentucky Derby qualifier, but Collected is well outside the current bubble with a total of 21 points.

“I was very impressed with (the effort),” said Peter Fluor, a partner in owner Speedway Stables. “Bob (Baffert) did a very good job getting him ready. Lot of good horses in the race.”

Javier Castellano picked up his third victory of the day aboard the son of City Zip, who overcame the far outside post in a 10-horse Lexington field.

Collected showed speed from the starting gate but was caught a little wide entering the first turn as 40-1 outsider One More Round sped forward from his rail post to show the way, establishing opening splits in :23.57 and :47.47 on about a half-length advantage. One More Round was traveling well off the rail and led by a length over Collected after three-quarters in 1:11.73.

Castellano asked his mount on the latter part of the far turn and Collected advanced to reel in the pacesetter after turning for home, drawing clear by a length with a sixteenth of a mile remaining. The winner cruised to the finish line in authoritative fashion, finishing up the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.33.

“What an impressive horse,” Castellano said. “I really liked the way he did it. He broke well out of the gate, and he wanted to dictate the pace today. I tried to sit a little bit behind the pacemaker. Turning for home, I really like the way he accelerated. When I asked, he really responded. I was really satisfied today.”

One More Round withstood the late charge of Synchrony by a half-length, and it was three-quarters of a length back to Direct Message in fourth. Yo Carm wound up another 5 ¾ lengths back in fifth.

Swipe, unraced since a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up and second to probable Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist in his last four starts, returned to the races with a disappointing sixth, about 12 lengths back of Collected. The 2-1 favorite showed more speed than expected from the starting gate, advancing to third on the backstretch, but Swipe had nothing left for the latter stages.

Lomcevak, Riker, Call the Colonel and Big Squeeze came next under the wire.

Collected made his first two starts on turf, capturing his debut at Santa Anita before a second in the Cecil DeMille (G3) at Del Mar in late November. The chestnut switched surfaces and opened his sophomore campaign with a 1 ¼-length victory in the one-mile Sham (G3) at Santa January 9, but Collected weakened to fourth as the 5-2 favorite in the February 15 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park next time out.

He rebounded in the March 20 Sunland Festival of Racing, registering a career-best 102 BRIS Speed rating for the sharp two-length score in a non-points race, and carried his form forward at Keeneland. With the $90,000 payday, Collected has now earned $433,700 from a 6-4-1-0 record.

Flour was asked about proceeding to the Preakness.

“I think that would be the most logical step, given the distance. We’ll see how he comes out (of this race), but that would be a thrill for us.”

Castellano was asked whether Collected can handle more ground.

“I think so,” the reigning three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey said. “The way he galloped out past the wire, I was very impressed.”

Collected photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography