- Associated Press - Sunday, February 2, 2014

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Wild Dude rallied late to beat 1-2 favorite Secret Circle by a neck in the $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Wild Dude ran six furlongs in 1:08.09 and paid $19.20, $5 and $3.20 at 8-1 odds.

Secret Circle, favored for the ninth time in his 10-race career, returned $2.10 and $2.10. Moonshine Bay was another length back in third and paid $3.60 to show at 16-1 odds.

“I saved ground around the turn and waited for the stretch,” Bejarano said. “I just had to wait for the right moment. My horse loves coming from behind so the only change was I didn’t want to leave too much for him to do at the end, so I kept him a little closer.”

Wild Dude was one of three horses in the field trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer. He also saddled Moonshine Bay and Sahara Sky, who was last in the field of five. Hollendorfer co-owns Wild Dude.

Secret Circle was making his first start for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert since winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 2. Secret Circle opened up a half-length lead with 100 yards to go only to be overtaken in the shadow of the finish line by Wild Dude.

“He (Secret Circle) was down on the inside after he passed Moonshine Bay, and I don’t think Martin (Garcia) ever saw the winner coming once he put that other horse away,” Baffert said. “He thought he had it won. He ran well off the layoff, he just got beat.”

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Wild Dude’s career earnings to $265,220, with four wins in eight starts. It was his first stakes race.

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