By Dick Downey
Castaway won division 1 of the Grade III Southwest Stakes under Rafael Bejarano.
After breaking well from the far outside post 11, Castaway took up residence just behind the pacesetting Majestic Stride, who was sent off at 19-1 odds. The pair took the field through fractions of :23.56, :48.08 and 1:12.60.
As they turned for home, Castaway got the best of Majestic Stride, and just like that, he was gone, winning the one-mile race in a running time of 1:38.09. He prevailed by 3 3/4 lengths.
Majestic Stride was unable to stay on. Jake Mo surged to get up for second after being placed sixth, then seventh, then eighth in the first six furlongs. Reckless Jerry, who had a much better trip than he did in the Smarty Jones Stakes, was a half-length further back in third, and longshot Ring It Up was fourth, another neck back.
After Majestic Stride, who finished fifth, three horses dead-heated for sixth. They were Longview Drive, Junebugred and No Spin. Unbridled's Note, Laurie's Rocket and Red Jack completed the order of finish.
At 3-1, the post time favorites at 3-1 were Unbridled's Note and Longview Drive. Unbridled's Note, ridden by Julien Leparoux, broke slowly and found himself last of 11 in the first turn and too far back to have a chance in this one-mile race. Longview Drive, ninth in the early going, never contended. Smarty Jones winner Junebugred was eighth early and also failed to impact the race after being sent off at 4-1 odds.
Castaway returned $15.40, $9.40 and $7.20 at 6-1.
The winner is trained by Bob Baffert, who went on to sweep both divisions of the Southwest Stakes with Secret Circle in the nightcap.
It was the seventh start for Castaway. He broke his maiden in his sixth start, a Jan. 21 maiden special weight at Santa Anita. He'd finished third in the race preceding that one, also at a mile, after showing little promise in his first four outings at shorter distances.
Castaway is a $435,000 Keeneland September 2010 purchase owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. He's by Street Sense, out of Priceless Storm by Storm Cat. Hertrich/McCarthy Livestock LLC bred him in Kentucky.
The Southwest, even though it was run in two divisions, retained its $250,000 purse for each race. Castaway's portion was $150,000, his first graded earnings. Jake Mo earned $50,000 and Reckless Jerry took home $25,000.
Winning assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, Castaway – “Everyone said we drew bad when we got the 11, but I wasn’t that bothered by it. You put them in from the rail out, so they’re not in the gate that long. Rafael did a good job getting him out of the gate and getting over to the rail. I knew we brought two good horses, and this one had been getting over the track great all week.”
Winning jockey, Rafael Bejarano – “I thought he won pretty easy. I was right where I wanted to be, especially at the end.”
Second-place trainer, Allen Milligan Jake Mo – “We had sort of a bad trip, got shuffled to the back. Cliff did everything we could ask him to do. We will see him in the Rebel.”
Second-place jockey, Cliff Berry, Jake Mo - “He went great. Every time I wanted to put him somewhere, he went right in there. He ran game. I was really pleased with the effort. He ran better today than in the Smarty Jones.”
Third-place jockey, Shane Laviolette, Reckless Jerry – “We broke good, settled in behind the speed. I don’t know how much he likes being on the inside. When we went around the turn the winner got away from us. I’m happy though, he rode good.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux, Unbridled’s Note – “When we left the gate, he slipped from behind, so we were way far back and we didn’t want to be there. It’s always tough to come back from that because they didn’t go that fast up front.”
Trainer Steve Hobby Junebugred, dead-heat for sixth – “It was not what I was expecting to see. He kind of got shuffled back a little farther than we expected and maybe he got a little discouraged from being back there. The jock just said he just didn’t have much kick when he asked him. So it wasn’t what we had hoped.”
Jockey Martin Garcia, Longview Drive, dead-heat for sixth – “He broke slow. He tried to make his run, but he just stayed even. He needed a quicker pace.”