01/05/2018 1:16PM

2017 Eclipse Awards: Collected


There were 33 different 3-year-olds who ran in the three jewels of the 2016 Triple Crown. Collected was one of them, but the memory hardly lingered. He beat only one horse on a sloppy track in the Preakness at Pimlico, then went to the sidelines as a work in progress, hopefully to be reborn as a mature Thoroughbred ready to take on the toughest possible challenges.

Collected was up to the task.

The ability of a trainer like Bob Baffert to handle more than one good horse at a time is nothing new. Still, the Baffert stable of 2017 was so rich with top-class older runners that listing the races they won is the best way to convey their depth of talent.

They won, in no particular order, the Dubai World Cup, Pegasus World Cup, San Antonio Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Gold Cup at Santa Anita, Pacific Classic, Californian Stakes, San Carlos Stakes, Forego Stakes, and the Awesome Again.

Collected contributed more than his fair share to the haul. The chestnut son of City Zip emerged from his layoff on April Fool’s Day and took his task seriously enough to win the Santana Mile by nearly four lengths.

From there, Collected became the work horse of the spring. Three weeks after his return he landed the historic Californian at 1 1/8 miles. In June he geared back to 1 1/16 miles to take the Precisionist Stakes by a breathtaking 14 lengths. The performance earned Collected both a brief break and a growing reputation as an older colt who had come of age among the big names, including the biggest of them all.

The Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 19 had Baffert tied in emotional knots. He was hoping Arrogate, the odds-on favorite, could bounce back from his poor showing in the San Diego Handicap. He knew that Collected, held at 3-1, was in the best form of his life. Only the 1 1/4-mile distance was in question, but Collected’s easy, galloping speed seemed perfectly suited to the job.

As it turned out, Baffert had both questions answered. Collected beat an improved Arrogate by a half-length in the Pacific Classic, effectively putting both colts on course for the Breeders’ Cup Classic over the same ground and distance in early November. But when the Classic unfolded, it was Collected who saved the barn’s bacon with a solid second to Gun Runner, while Arrogate only went through the motions in the final race of his career.

Collected wrapped up the year by finishing third in the San Antonio on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita and is scheduled to stay in training in 2018 as a 5-year-old.

Bred by Runnymede Farm and Peter J. Callahan, Collected was bought by the Speedway Stable of Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March 2-year-old sale in 2015 for $170,000.