02/20/2012 8:37PM

Oaklawn: Baffert, Bejarano sweep Southwest

Email
Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park
Castaway, with Rafael Bejarano riding, takes the first division of the Southwest.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Rafael Bejarano swept the two divisions of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Monday, after Secret Circle dug in for a half-length win in the second division. One race earlier, Castaway opened up the first division, rolling home by 3 3/4 lengths. Both races were Grade 3 stakes, and each was worth $250,000.

"I was just so [thankful] to Oaklawn they split the race," Baffert said. "That was nice. If I can just get them to split the Rebel, now that would be great!"

Secret Circle ($3.20), the winner of the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint in November, won at two turns for the first time in his career in the Southwest. He broke razor sharp from the 9 hole, and sat about a length off Scatman through an opening quarter in 23.21seconds and an opening half-mile in 46.81.

Secret Circle engaged the leader soon afterward, and the pair raced together through six furlongs in 1:11.25. In the stretch, Secret Circle dug in to get past Scatman, getting the one-mile distance on a fast track in 1:37.08. The race ended at the sixteenth pole, as with all one-mile races at Oaklawn.

"I was riding real hard the last 100 yards," said Karl Watson, who co-owns Secret Circle.

"It seems like every time he runs his heart out," said another co-owner, Paul Weitman.

Mike Pegram also co-owns Secret Circle, who flew in Tuesday from Southern California. Baffert said both Secret Circle and Castaway will now return back home, with their next starts to be determined. Secret Circle has made one other start at two turns, finishing second in the Grade 3 Sham at Santa Anita. 

Scatman held second, finishing 5 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Adirondack King.

Castaway made his stakes debut in the first division of the Southwest, and powered home by three and three-quarter lengths over Jake Mo. It was another half-length back in third to Reckless Jerry.

Castaway ($15.20) broke well and settled just off Majestic Stride, who led through an opening quarter in 23.56 seconds and a half-mile in 48.08. Castaway engaged the leader soon afterwards, moved past him approaching the quarter pole, then drew clear in the stretch, covering the mile in 1:38.09.

"I was right where I wanted to be, especially at the end," said Bejarano. "I thought he won pretty easy."

Castaway, who came into the race off a maiden win at Santa Anita, is owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.

Both Castaway and Secret Circle earned $150,000 for their wins Monday.

Baffert won a total of four stakes over the holiday weekend, with Drill taking the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita for the same partnership that races Secert Circle, and Ellafitz accounting for the Grade 2 Santa Maria, also at Santa Anita.

* The special daily double linking the two divisions of the Southwest paid $26. The winning numbers were 11-9.

* Attendance ontrack was 29,313

* Handle on Oaklawn's 10-race card from all sources Monday was $5,061,705.