Collected Wins Lexington, Preakness Stakes Next

The field turns for home in the 2016 Lexington Stakes.

The field turns for home in the 2016 Lexington Stakes.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Lexington Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland held some serious Kentucky Derby (GI) implications. Before Churchill Downs implemented its current rule awarding points to the top finishers of the major Kentucky Derby preps, connections with good horses sitting on the bubble and looking for graded stakes earnings would run their horses in the last major Kentucky Derby prep. After all, former claimer and eventual dual classic winner Charismatic threw his Hail Mary pass in the Lexington before going on to wear the garland of roses.

This year, though, with just 10 points to the winner on the line, no such last-minute crunch play was possible for any of the runners entered for the Lexington, so a talented field of ten sophomores with no Derby hopes whatsoever lined up and faced the starter to race the 1 1/16 miles.

With Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano aboard for the first time, Speedway Stable’s Collected broke smartly from the outermost post position, established a comfortable position stalking just behind the early pace of :23.57, :47.47 and 1:11.73 set by longshot One More Round, was swung wide to pass his tiring rivals as he rounded the final bend, took command at the top of the stretch and held sway under a brisk ride from his pilot to win by four lengths. After setting the one-mile split in 1:36.82, Collected stopped the clock in 1:43.33 over a fast Keeneland main track.

As the public’s 2-1 second choice, the Bob Baffert-trained Collected paid $6.40, $4 and $3. One More Round held on strongly for second at odds of 40-1 and was worth $28.40 and $13.80 when he crossed the wire a half-length in front of 8-1 chance Synchrony, who paid $5 to show. The exacta was worth $164.80 and the trifecta paid $ $1,193.40.

Lexington Stakes Start

The horses leave the gate in the 2016 Lexington Stakes.

Direct Message, Yo Carm, favored Swipe, Lomcevak, Riker, Call the Colonel and Big Squeeze completed the order of finish.

“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.”

Collected is a chestnut son of City Zip and the Johannesburg mare Helena Bay. He was bred in Kentucky by the partnership of Runnymede Farm and Peter J. Callahan. He was purchased by his current owners for $170,000 as an Ocala Breeders’ Sales two-year-old in training just over a year ago.

According to Speedway Stables partner Peter Fluor, the next step for Collected will likely be the second jewel in the Triple Crown, the May 21 Preakness Stakes (GI) at Pimlico.

Lexington Stakes Finish

“I was very impressed,” Fluor said. “Bob [Baffert] did a very good job getting him ready; lot of good horses in the race. [The Preakness] would be the most logical step, given the distance. We’ll see how he comes out, but that would be a thrill for us.”

Collected picked up a $90,000 check for the Lexington win to bring his career earnings to $433,700 and his career record now stands at 6-4-1-0. He won the Sham Stakes (GIII) at Santa Anita earlier this year before capturing the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes last time out.

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters, Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager. She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several race horse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull as her favorite horse of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, three Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.