Opening Day at Santa Anita on Monday Features the Malibu Stakes

Rob Gregorka

Las Vegas, NV -- The 75th season at Santa Anita begins on Monday, Dec. 26th with a full card of racing. The 79-day meet runs through April 22. Opening day features four stakes races with the highlight being the Grade 1 $300,000 Malibu Stakes, which is the last race on a nine-race card with a post time of approximately 4:23 pm Pacific.

Trainer Bob Baffert will try to win the Malibu for the first time as he sends four horses (The Factor, Hoorayforhollywood, Smash and Racing Aptitude). Baffert has had 20 previous starters including Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm but has never won the Malibu.

Bet the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park with OffTrackBetting.com

The Factor is a lukewarm 7-2 favorite at OffTrackBetting.com. He is the only horse in the field to have won a graded stakes but he has continually frustrated his owners even though he has four wins in eight starts. The horse would have been the favorite in the Kentucky Derby but health issues derailed his chances. He started a downward slide this fall as he lost as a big favorite in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes and then he was totally out of contention in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

"I was disappointed in his last two races," Baffert said, "but he's training well." Baffert also has high hopes for Racing Aptitude who is 8-1 in horse betting odds. The horse got a 105 Beyer speed rating last time out and could be a threat on Monday. "He wants to get out there and go, we found that out last time," Baffert said.

The co-second choice on the morning line at 9-2 is Smash for Kaleem Shah. The horse has three wins and two seconds in five starts. Also at 9-2 is Rothko for trainer Steve Asmussen. He has won his last three starts by a combined 15 lengths and gets Corey Nakatani in the irons.

"Rothko won his conditions extremely convincing, like there are stakes in his future," Asmussen said.

Eight of the 11 horses in the field have single-digit odds on the morning line, so it figures to be a great betting race -- and you can be sure to get the highest rebates at OffTrackBetting.com. Keep in mind that no favorite has won the Malibu since Afternoon Deelites in 1995.

The field for the $300,000 Malibu Stakes (G1), Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

Post

Horse

Jockey

ML Odds

1

El Pocho

Kevin Krigger

50-1

2

Centralintelligence

Joel Rosario

8-1

3

Luckarack

Hector Berrios

30-1

4

Rothko

Corey Nakatani

9-2

5

Racing Aptitude

Mike Smith

8-1

6

Hoorayforhollywood

Garrett Gomez

8-1

7

Light Up the Score

Victor Espinoza

12-1

8

Smash

Rafael Bejarano

9-2

9

Associate

Ramon Dominguez

6-1

10

Wine Police

Joe Talamo

8-1

11

The Factor

Martin Garcia

7-2

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