ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 30, 2011) – Trainer Bob Baffert’s Quiet Invader returned from 15 ½ months on the sidelines Sunday to run away from his opposition in Santa Anita’s $51,350 Big Bear Purse while speeding six furlongs in 1:07.76

After jockey Martin Garcia sent the 4-year-old Maryland-bred through a front-running half mile in 44.05 and five furlongs in 55.59, he had enough left to hold off the closing rush of Believe in Hope by 2 ¼ lengths.

The Big Bear Purse marked Quiet Invader’s first start since a third-place finish in the Grade III Chic Lang Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on May 15 of last year. Despite the lengthy layoff, a series of swift works influenced 2-1 favoritism on Sunday.

“This colt, he’s just had a lot of things go wrong,” Baffert said afterward. “He had a tie-back surgery for breathing, and unfortunately he’s spent more time on the farm than he has at the racetrack.”

The Hall of Fame trainer’s pre-race instructions to his jockey were uncomplicated. “I’ve been telling Martin too much before races,” noted Baffert. “So I told him, ‘You’re not going to get fired. Just win.’”

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Believe in Hope rallied from last in the field of six to gain the place, 3 ¼ lengths ahead of Sirocco Strike and jockey Victor Espinoza.

The winner paid $6.80, $4.40 and $3.20. The prices on Believe in Hope were $8.60 and $4.40. Sirocco Strike paid $3.60 to show.

The victory was the third in seven career starts for the son of Songandaprayer owned by the Lanni Family Trust and Bernard Schiappa. The winning purse of $30,600 elevated his earnings to $105,880.

Following three dark days, racing will resume on Thursday at Santa Anita with an eight-race program that starts at 1 p.m.