02/20/2017 9:26PM

Conquest Farenheit uses speed to win Baffle Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Conquest Farenheit and Norberto Arroyo Jr. after winning the Baffle Stakes on Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Forget dirt racing or the Triple Crown. Conquest Farenheit’s future is on the turf.

The speedy 3-year-old got his first stakes win in Monday’s $81,890 Baffle Stakes for 3-year-olds on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita.

The Baffle Stakes was Conquest Farenheit’s second start for Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch, Chad Littlefield, and trainer Peter Miller. Conquest Farenheit was a well-beaten second at 2-5 in an optional claimer at a mile on dirt on Feb. 2 in his first start for them.

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In the Baffle Stakes, Conquest Farenheit ($4.80) dueled with Rockin Rudy and won by 1 3/4 lengths as the favorite.

“He handled the turf well,” Miller said. “We tried on the dirt and he’s better on the grass.”

Conquest Farenheit ran the about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.83. Ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr., Conquest Farenheit fought with Rockin Rudy through a quick pace of 21.02 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 43.67 for a half-mile. With a furlong remaining, Conquest Farenheit led by a half-length.

Miller said the fractions “scared me.”

But he was encouraged with the way Conquest Farenheit continued past the wire.

“The way he galloped out today, I think he could be a miler,” Miller said.

Rockin Rudy, the 2-1 second choice, finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of Elwood J, an 8-1 shot who was third. Tipo Duro was fourth, followed by Souter, Anyportinastorm, and Bay Muzik.

The Baffle Stakes was the second start for Rockin Rudy. He won an $80,000 claiming race for maidens at 5 1/2 furlongs by 11 1/2 lengths at Del Mar last August. The Baffle Stakes was Rockin Rudy’s first start for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Conquest Farenheit, by Scat Daddy, has won 2 of 4 starts and earned $110,045. Conquest Farenheit was purchased for $735,000 at the Keeneland November sale last year as part of the Conquest Stable dispersal.

Last summer, Conquest Farenheit beat maidens and was second in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine when trained by Mark Casse. Conquest Farenheit joined Miller’s stable late last fall.

“He’s just now getting fit,” Miller said. “You have to keep an open mind with a horse that has run four times.”