02/20/2012 7:37PM

Oaklawn: Baffert, Bejarano sweep Southwest

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.

David Robinson More than 1 year ago
this is getting crazy. i remember back in the day when lukas owned the filly and mare divisions at 2 and 3 years of age, before he would break them all down. great p.r. man and judge of horseflesh but a horrible trainer and ruined more great horses then any trainer ever. but baffert is more dominant at this point then lukas ever was. and i like bob, always have. hes a real down to earth guy. like lukas he came from the quarters, but lukas was always smug and condescending. baffert is different. but reguardless, baffert is so loaded this year its scary. i mean he just swept two quarter million dollar races with his bench warmers. wait till fed biz runs again. and even bodemeister. or the one that just broke his mdn. this weekend atr sant anita first time out, paynter or the two fillies, princess arrabella and mama kimbo! hell even the one that flopped recently, liason, isnt an absolute line out yet. forget the props on which horse or what his first letter will be to win the derby in futures. if i could find anyone wanting to give me say 4-1 or higher righrt now on BAFFERT winning the derby, i wouild give them all the action tghey wanted. other then a couple single horses for opposition, like alpha, algorhythms, and union rags, baffert holds all the aces. i like my futures at this point though i have 200 on fed biz at 40-1 and 75 on out of bouinds at 30-1. i even have a saver on i'll have another at 50-1 for 25. i have been steadfast against west coast runners for the last 5 or 6 years now, but now that anita has the dirt track again, i think the west coast runners will shine this year. and ba\ffert will be leading the way.
James More than 1 year ago
Your drunk on Baffert. Now try spell check and tell us how you really feel. And remember the (2) that went through Oaklawn last year didn't pan out. It is more than anything, that Baffert knows where to place his horse's to win.
Harry More than 1 year ago
you are right on money. That makes 7 horses with high early speed. I will give Baffert horses credit both ran like banshees. Hopefully Union Rags will return sharp at least he closes. Way to much early speed in this year Preps so far regardless how good they might look in winning.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
btw, am i still drunk on baffert genius? hes now won 12 straight races, but i guess that has nothing to do with being loaded with top notch horses. idiot.
TurfChatter More than 1 year ago
Game win by Secret Circle, basically on the engine the entire mile. Lots of heart. Castaway is getting better. Scatman was game all the way around as well.