OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Malibu Stakes comes our way from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California on Friday, December 26. Some of the best three year olds in the land will take to Santa Anita's dirt track and go seven furlongs looking for the winner's share of the $300,000 purse.
A field of 10 will take to the track in the Malibu - race 8 on Santa Anita's opening day Friday card. Post time is 3:30 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all 10 entries for this Grade 1 stakes - the feature race as Santa Anita kicks off its 2014-2015 winter/spring meet.
Shared Belief - Jerry Hollendorfer trained, Jim Rome owned colt will look to rebound from a controversial fourth as favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic - his only career loss in eight starts. The reigning Eclipse award winner for two year old colts won the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes on this track September 27 which followed a terrific 2 3/4 length win in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 24, another nice 4 1/4 length win in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby July 5, an Allowance score at Golden Gate May 26 and six months away due to a nagging foot injury. Before his layoff he had three starts and three wins - the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity by 5 3/4 lengths, the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes and a MSW at first asking. Shared Belief had seven convincing wins by a combined 40 lengths before last time out. Translation - he's darn good! Mike Smith will ride the morning line favorite and 123 pound top weight from gate 8 as Shared Belief looks to start another impressive streak and cuts back in distance to accomplish that goal.
Chitu - Bob Baffert trained colt was perfect in his first two career starts and finished a good second behind Candy Boy in his first step into stakes company - the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita February 8. He returned to the winner's circle in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby March 23 and went on to a ninth in the Kentucky Derby. Chitu has only been seen once since that race - a good 2 1/2 length win in the minor Damascus Stakes on this track October 31 after nearly six months away. He has four wins and a second in six career starts - competitive virtually every time out. He's looked terrific in recent works - Joel Rosario gets the call Friday from post 2.
Midnight Hawk - won the Grade 3 Sham Stakes here in January for trainer Bob Baffert during a string of five straight graded stakes placings. Other results included a third in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes in February and three straight runner-up finishes - the Grade 2 San Felipe here in March, the Grade 3 Sunland Derby two weeks later and the Grade 3 Illinois Derby in April. He has just two starts since that streak - an eleventh in the minor Damascus Stakes here in October after six months away and a third as 6-5 favorite last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Del Mar November 30. He looks for his first win in nearly a year and hopes to get back to his early-2014 form with Victor Espinoza guiding him from gate 6. Midnight Hawk take the blinkers off for this one.
Indianapolis - Bob Baffert trained colt has four career starts and three wins. His only blemish came last time out in his only graded stakes race to date - a tenth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He won an Allowance Optional Claiming here September 26 after a win in the minor San Pedro Stakes in January and a maiden score at first asking last November. Gary Stevens has been tabbed to ride and to get Indianapolis back on the winning track from gate 3.
Tamarando - had a terrific 2013 campaign that included wins in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and minor Real Quiet Stakes to go along with thirds in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity, the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes and the minor Golden State Juvenile Stakes and has been OK in 2014. He started his year very well - a second in the minor California Cup here and a win in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby in February but has been up and down since. He enters off a seventh in the Grade 3 native Diver Stakes at Del Mar November 29 after a second in the minor California Flag Handicap, a fourth in the minor Snow Chief Stakes in April and an eighth in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes in March. Julien Leparoux has been tabbed with getting Tamarando back on track from post 7.
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Pimpernel - Bob Baffert trained colt makes his graded stakes debut Friday off an Allowance Optional Claiming score here October 29 which followed a sixth in a similar race at Del Mar in August and a ninth in his only stakes action to date - the minor Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park in April. He has three wins and two third place finishes in eight career starts and looks to break through in stakes company with Martin Garcia aboard from gate 5.
Rprettyboyfloyd - has eight career starts - all this year with a win, four seconds and a third place finish. His win was a maiden score in May in his seventh career start while the seconds all came in MSW races on this track. His third place finish came in the Grade 2 San Vicente here February 16. However, Rprettyboyfloyd has finished sixth in two of his last three starts - last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming here October 31 and three back in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. He starts from post 4 with Tyler Baze in the saddle.
Diamond Bachelor - Patrick Biancoe pupil started his career with two straight wins but hasn't tasted victory since. He raced to a ninth in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and followed that with a fourth in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes in February and has placed in two of seven starts since that race. Last time out was an eighth in an Allowance Optional Claiming here October 29 after a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming in September and a sixth the minor El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar in August. Diamond Bachelor looks for his first win in 15 months but is likely in over his head in this one. Flavien Prat has the call from post 9.
Conquest Two Step - Mark Casse trained colt will make his graded stakes debut Friday off an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track October 25, a second in an Allowance here September 27, a third in the minor El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar in August and a pair of seconds in Allowance Optional Claiming races. He has placed in his last five starts overall but steps up in competition Friday. Joe Talamo gets the call from the rail.
Frensham - Doug O'Neill trained colt has two wins, a second and three third place finishes in 12 career starts but races in graded stakes company for the second time - the first being a sixth in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes here in June. He enters off a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Del Mar November 9 after a win in a similar race on this track in October. He has yet to place in stakes action - not a whole lot is expected Friday. Mario Gutierrez has the mount from the outside post.
Race 8 on Santa Anita Park's Friday card with a Post Time of 3:52 PM.
|1||Conquest Two Step||J. Talamo||M. Casse|
|2||Chitu||J. Rosario||B. Baffert|
|3||Indianapolis||G. Stevens||B. Baffert|
|4||Rprettyboyfloyd||T. Baze||D. Breuer|
|5||Pimpernel||M. Garcia||B. Baffert|
|6||Midnight Hawk||V. Espinoza||B. Baffert|
|7||Tamarando||J. Leparoux||J. Hollendorfer|
|8||Shared Belief||M. Smith||J. Hollendorfer|
|9||Diamond Bachelor||F. Prat||P. Biancone|
|10||Frensham||M. Gutierrez||D. O'Neill|