The 2016 Preakness Stakes field is comprised of 11 runners, three of whom are multiple graded stakes winners in North America. Handicappers can quickly guess that Nyquist and Exaggerator are two of three. But the third? That's the Bob Baffert-trained Collected.
The City Zip colt captured the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita back on January 9 (with fellow Preakness contender Laoban in third) and the April 16 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. Sandwiched in between are a fourth place run as the favorite in the Southwest Stakes (G3) and an easy wire-to-wire victory in the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes.
In the Lexington (watch below), Collected broke from post 10 and pressed the pace set by 40-1 shot One More Round. The colt settled nicely under Javier Castellano and that's something he's improved on in all of his races. He's a developed into a speed horse who can be rated.
“The Preakness has been the plan since the Lexington,” said Baffert. “He’s a fast little horse with a lot of speed, and we figure he deserves a shot, especially with the shorter (than the Derby) distance. We’ll have fun. We have a nice, fast horse who tries hard.”
Bob Baffert has won the Preakness on six occasions, all with runners who had started in the Kentucky Derby. His best finish with a 'fresh horse' was with the fifth-place Senor Swinger in 2003.
Collected's sire City Zip has emerged as one of the more consistent stallions in North America. He's actually the top sire of Breeders' Cup winners over the past two years with three champions - Catch a Glimpse (2015 Juvenile Fillies Turf), Work All Week (2014 Sprint), Dayatthespa (2014 F&M Turf). However, the 10-furlong winner Dayatthespa is an outlier for City Zip, not surprising for a son of Carson City who was the last colt to capture all three of the juvenile sprint stakes at Saratoga.
Collected certainly has the speed and class to be a factor at Old Hilltop and bettors can expect the colt to part of the picture for at least the first mile. And should the favorites stub their toes, Collected could well find himself in a perfect spot to collect a whole bunch of black-eyed susans.