Collected Beats Stablemate Arrogate in Pacific Classic

Collected leads the field in the early stages of the Pacific Classic.

Collected — who is undefeated this year — racked up another victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, besting his highly regarded stablemate, Arrogate, by a half-length.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who conditions the two 4-year-old colts, said he “knew turning for home (that) … I was going to run 1,2.”

“He (Arrogate) was trying to get there and it looked like he was almost going to get there,” Baffert said.

Collected was sent off as the bettors’ 3-1 second choice behind Arrogate, who was the 3-5 favorite.

Collected paid $8 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, and completed the 1 1/4 mile, $1 million race on dirt in 2:00:70.

“You hate to run them against each other, but that’s why they send them to me so if you’re doing well you have to enter them,” Baffert said.

It was Collected’s fourth win in 2017, with his other victories in the Grade 3 Precisionist, Grade 2 Californian and Santana Mile, all at Santa Anita Park between April and June.

“He’s been training really well. He loves this place,” Baffert said of the son of City Zip. “And I knew down the backside I thought, ‘Well, he’s the winner the way he’s going on this track here so, you know, they have to like this track.'”

The race also marked Arrogate’s second loss in a row at Del Mar, which will host the Breeders’ Cup Nov. 3 and 4.

Arrogate — last year’s 3-year-old Eclipse Award champion 3-year-old colt — won the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Dubai World Cup early in the year, then finished a disappointing fourth July 22 in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap to Accelerate, who beat him by more than 15 lengths.

In their latest match-up, Arrogate ran past Accelerate in the stretch and finished nearly four lengths ahead of his rival who had to settle for third. Arrogate paid $2.60 to place and $2.10 to show while Accelerate paid $2.20 to show.

Baffert said he saw Arrogate “struggling at the half-mile pole” and thought Arrogate might wind up finishing fourth or fifth, but that “all of a sudden … Arrogate was trying so hard, he was trying to get there, champion that he is.”

Arrogate’s trainer said he thinks he “messed with his psyche a little bit” when he ran the gray son of Unbridled’s Song in the San Diego, but said “this track will be O.K. for him.”

“I don’t think I have a problem running him back in the Breeders’ Cup, but he’s got to be fresh just like Collected came in here fresh,” Baffert said. “I need to prepare him coming here like I prepared him for all of those big races and just come in here fresh and do it.”

He said the two colts could meet up again in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which Arrogate will attempt to repeat his 2016 win.

But Baffert was non-committal about any prep races for either of the two before the Breeders’ Cup, saying he will “play it by ear.”

Horse Notes:

— While Arrogate had to settle for a second-place finish, gray/roan horses won the day’s two other stakes races at Del Mar.

— Dream Dancing, a 3-year-old gray/roan filly out of Tapit, won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on turf by a nose over Beau Recall. It was the first Grade 1 win for the Mark Casse trainee, who shipped out to Del Mar early in the week and is set to travel back to the East Coast on Tuesday.

Dream Dancing’s grand-dam, Beautiful Pleasure, won races including the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Personal Ensign and Matron and was named the Eclipse Award champion for best older female horse in 1999. Dream Dancing’s grand-sire, Monarchos, won the Kentucky Derby in 2001.

— Hunt, a 6-year-old gelding out of the Irish stallion Dark Angel, won his second consecutive race in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap on turf. He won the Grade 2 Eddie Read at Del Mar last month for trainer Philip D’Amato.