Updated on 09/17/2011 11:01AM

San Rafael: Rojo Toro stretches out

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Rojo Toro ($6.20) wins the one-mile San Rafael Stakes by a length at Santa Anita on Saturday.

When Bob Baffert decides he does not want to train anymore, he can play quarterback, because he knows how to call an audible. When Baffert on Thursday morning found out that the speedy Omega Code would not run in Saturday's $200,000 , he decided to enter the equally speedy Rojo Toro.

Baffert's last-second decision paid dividends, because Rojo Toro successfully stretched out around two turns and captured the one-mile San Rafael, a prep for next month's Santa Anita Derby.

Few, if any, of the horses in the San Rafael are considered serious Kentucky Derby contenders. Even though Rojo Toro went fast early, he still was able to safely hold off his Baffert-trained stablemate, Spensive, and win by one length.

Crowned Dancer, forced to race wide throughout, was third, another 2 1/2 lengths back. Our Bobby V., who dueled early with Rojo Toro, faded to fourth, and was followed, in order, by Sum Trick, Just Wonder, and Iron Lad.

Peace Rules, as expected, was scratched in favor of running in next Sunday's Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. Indian Express also was withdrawn.

Rojo Toro, starting from post 6 in the seven-horse field, was third after a quarter-mile in 22.54 seconds, but then dragged jockey Jerry Bailey to the lead before reaching the half-mile mark in 45.33 seconds.

"Bob told me not to fight him if he got headstrong," Bailey said. "He was going so fast into the first turn he forgot to turn left, but sometimes they do that when they go two turns for the first time."

Rojo Toro,who is owned by Hal Earnhardt, put away Our Bobby V. after six furlongs in 1:09.45, drew off by 1 1/2 lengths at midstretch, and was never seriously threatened.

As the 2-1 favorite, Rojo Toro paid $6.20 to win. He is now unbeaten in three starts, having won a pair of sprints in Kentucky as a 2-year-old.