TRIPLE BEND S. PURSE: $300,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | GRADE 1 | 7 FURLONGS
Kaleem Shah Inc.'s Declassify raced in tandem with Cyclometer for much of Saturday's Grade 1, $300,250 Triple Bend at Santa Anita, was passed by that rival in the lane, but fought back on the rail to post a nose victory in his stakes debut.
Trained by Bob Baffert, the Orientate four-year-old was making just his fifth career start in the seven-furlong contest and paid $6.60 for stopping the clock in 1:22 on the fast dirt.
Declassify and Cyclometer kept each other company through splits of :22 3/5, :45 2/5 and 1:09 1/5 while Indexical and Wine Police ran in behind. Cyclometer gained a slight advantage circling the turn and managed to get a half-length in front during the stretch run, but Declassify refused to yield. With jockey Martin Garcia urging him on, the dark bay colt rallied to just nose out his rival on the line.
"I thought I was beat at the top of the stretch," Garcia admitted. "My horse was trying everything, every step of the way. He never gave up. Cyclometer moved into me a little bit in the stretch and my horse was intimidated. He responded again though, he's such a good horse."
Indexical finished 1 3/4 lengths adrift of Cyclometer, while Drill filled out the top four another 3 3/4 lengths behind. Wine Police just missed fourth by a nose and was followed under the wire by even-money favorite and Grade 1-winning millionaire Sahara Sky. Gladding was withdrawn.
Declassify is now 3-1-0 from five career starts and has banked $261,240 lifetime. The dark bay began his career with a pair of romping wins last year, taking his maiden debut by 11 lengths at Santa Anita in April and returning two months later for a 7 1/2-length triumph in a Hollywood Park allowance. Declassify didn't reappear until October, when he faded to fourth in a Santa Anita allowance to close out his sophomore campaign.
Bred by Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds in Kentucky, Declassify showed up for his four-year-old bow at the Arcadia, California, venue on May 16. He filled the runner-up spot on that occasion but got back to his winning ways just in time for this initial stakes outing.
Declassify is the second registered foal, and now first stakes winner, out of the unraced Tale of the Cat mare Mir Cat. His third dam is the Northern Dancer mare Northern Meteor, from whom is descended champion Pleasant Stage as well as Grade 1 winners A Phenomenon, Marsh Side and Seattle Meteor. Others of note in this female family include successful Grade 1-scoring sire Roanoke and Grade 1 conquerors Pillaster, Classy Play and Reenact.