September 26, 2021

Collected, Cupid give Baffert solid pair for Californian

Collected made a major statement in the April 1 Santana Mile off a 10-month layoff (Benoit Photos)

Before Arrogate made a huge impact in the latter half of the season, a couple of trainer Bob Baffert’s more accomplished three-year-olds in 2016 were Collected and Cupid. Those colts comprise one-third of the field in Saturday’s $200,000 Californian (G2), a 1 1/8-mile prep for the Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita.

Hero of the Sham (G3) and Lexington (G3) at three, Collected made a successful return April 1 from a 10-month layoff to take the $83,000 Santana Mile by 3 3/4 lengths. Cupid, however, has not been out since running eighth in a deep renewal of the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) in September. Earlier in the year, the gray son of Tapit racked up lucrative wins in the Rebel (G2), Indiana Derby (G2) and West Virginia Derby (G2).

The small but select group also includes Follow Me Crev, third in the Santa Anita H. (G1) behind Shaman Ghost and Midnight Storm last time; Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) winner Texas Ryano, who makes his debut on dirt here; Prospect Park, who is multiple graded-placed on dirt but is a recent turf allowance winner; and Prime Attraction, who makes his stakes debut after back-to-back allowance scores, one on dirt and the other on grass.

The supporting feature is the historic $100,000 San Juan Capistrano (G3) at about 1 3/4 miles on the turf. Recent San Luis Rey (G2) runner-up Syntax faces Power Foot, Inordinate, and Papacoolpapacool.