03/22/2015 7:23PM

Callback's DQ gives Sunland Oaks win to stablemate Maybellene

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Maybellene (left), with Victor Espinoza aboard, finishes a neck behind 1-5 favorite Callback, ridden by Martin Garcia, but was promoted to first by the stewards following an inquiry into the stretch run.

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. – Trainer Bob Baffert won the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks on Sunday for the fifth straight time, and seventh overall, but described his victory with Maybellene, via disqualification of his other filly, favored Callback, as “just an awkward, awkward situation.”

 Callback, the odds-on favorite, appeared headed to victory in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies when she suddenly veered to her left when crossing the tracks left by the starting gate, causing Fancy and Flashy, who was beginning to tire, to take up sharply. Callback held off Maybellene by a neck, but Fancy and Flashy dropped back to fourth, losing third to Scat Means Go.

 The stewards lit the inquiry sign as soon as the race was over, and disqualified Callback for interference, giving Maybellene ($9.80) her first stakes win.

 “I wish it hadn’t happened. She’s never done that before,” Baffert said by phone from California, where he watched the race.

 Maybellene is owned by Baffert’s wife, Jill.

 “They both ran really good races,” Baffert said. “I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen that.”

 Victor Espinoza rode Maybellene, who has now won 3 of10 starts. Callback was ridden by Martin Garcia, who was hitting Callback left-handed when she jumped to the left, so he could hardly be held accountable for his filly’s sudden, strange behavior.

 Callback did cross the wire first, so the final time of 1:42.90 belongs to her.

 The Sunland Park Oaks offered 85 points overall, and 50 to the winner, toward the May 1 Kentucky Oaks. Maybellene now has enough to get in. The disqualification of Callback could prove problematic for her. Even though she won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita in January, that race was worth just 10 points, so there’s the very real chance she could end up on the outside looking in unless she tries to shoehorn in another prep.