03/20/2016 8:15PM

Collected caps big weekend for Garcia, Baffert in Sunland Festival of Racing

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Martin Garcia guides even-money favorite Collected to victory in the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes.

Collected gave his trainer, Bob Baffert, and his rider, Martin Garcia, a sweep of the two richest  races for 3-year-olds run over the weekend when he captured the $415,000 Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes on Sunday. The win came on the heels of Cupid’s victory in the Grade 2, $900,000 Rebel Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

The Festival of Racing Stakes replaced the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby this year after the track’s stable area was put under quarantine due to an outbreak of equine herpesvirus. The quarantine was lifted March 9. There were no Kentucky Derby eligibility points attached to the Festival of Racing Stakes.

But that might not be an issue for Collected.

“A mile and a quarter might be a big step,” at this time, said Peter Fluor of Speedway Stable, who added plans would be discussed with Baffert.

Collected ($4.20) took the initiative from the start Sunday, setting fractions of 23.20 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 47.60 for the half-mile, and 1:11.27 for six furlongs. He withstood a challenge from a determined Gettysburg and pulled clear to cover 1 1/8 miles on a track rated fast in 1:48.90.

“I used a little bit of horse at the start, but once we got the lead he was cruising,” Garcia said. “When I asked him to go, he responded nicely. I think we even saved something for his next race.”

Collected was a $170,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s auction of 2-year-olds in training last May.

“We saw this horse at the sale and said, ‘That’s a horse for Bob Baffert,’ ” said Fluor. “He’s big, strong, a lot of muscle.”

Gettysburg broke from post 12, and ran a valiant race, said jockey Javier Castellano.

“I was forced to ask for speed early because of the wide post position,” Castellano said. “He still ran huge and never quit. He ran a great race and was running well at the end.”

Collected earned $207,500 for his win in the Festival of Racing Stakes. It was his second career stakes victory behind the Grade 3 Sham at his base of Santa Anita. Collected has now won 3 of 5 starts and $343,700. He is a son of City Zip and was bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm and Peter Callahan.

Rebel winner Cupid races for a partnership that includes Michael Tabor, whose Thrilled won the $200,000 Plum Pretty on the undercard. Thrilled is trained by Todd Pletcher.

Sunland put on a total of seven stakes worth $1.1 million, for the most significant program of the meet. The track handled $1,245,462 on its nine-race card from all sources, according to Sunland officials. The attendance ontrack was 10,135.